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Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 27: Expelled from Spain
Author: Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6b--EXPELLED FROM SPAIN



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



EXPELLED FROM SPAIN



CHAPTER VII

I Make a Mistake and Manucci Becomes My Mortal Foe--His Vengeance--I
Leave Madrid--Saragossa--Valentia--Nina--I Arrive at Barcelona

If these Memoirs, only written to console me in the dreadful weariness
which is slowly killing me in Bohemia--and which, perhaps, would kill me
anywhere, since, though my body is old, my spirit and my desires are as
young as ever--if these Memoirs are ever read, I repeat, they will only
be read when I am gone, and all censure will be lost on me.

Nevertheless, seeing that men are divided into two sections, the one and
by far the greater composed of the ignorant and superficial, and the
other of the learned and reflective, I beg to state that it is to the
latter I would appeal. Their judgment, I believe, will be in favour of my
veracity, and, indeed, why should I not be veracious? A man can have no
object in deceiving himself, and it is for myself that I chiefly write.

Hitherto I have spoken nothing but the truth, without considering whether
the truth is in my favour or no. My book is not a work of dogmatic
theology, but I do not think it will do harm to anyone; while I fancy
that those who know how to imitate the bee and to get honey from every
flower will be able to extract some good from the catalogue of my vices
and virtues.

After this digression (it may be too long, but that is my business and
none other's), I must confess that never have I had so unpleasant a truth
to set down as that which I am going to relate. I committed a fatal act
of indiscretion--an act which after all these years still gives my heart
a pang as I think of it.

The day after my conquest I dined with the Venetian ambassador, and I had
the pleasure of hearing that all the ministers and grandees with whom I
had associated had the highest possible opinion of me. In three or four
days the king, the royal family, and the ministers would return to town,
and I expected to have daily conferences with the latter respecting the
colony in the Sierra Morena, where I should most probably be going.
Manucci, who continued to treat me as a valued friend, proposed to
accompany me on my journey, and would bring with him an adventuress, who
called herself Porto-Carrero, pretending to be the daughter or niece of
the late cardinal of that name, and thus obtained a good deal of
consideration; though in reality she was only the mistress of the French
consul at Madrid, the Abbe Bigliardi.

Such was the promising state of my prospects when my evil genius brought
to Madrid a native of Liege, Baron de Fraiture, chief huntsman of the
principality, and a profligate, a gamester, and a cheat, like all those
who proclaim their belief in his honesty nowadays.

I had unfortunately met him at Spa, and told him I was was going to
Portugal. He had come after me, hoping to use me as a means of getting
into good society, and of filling his pocket with the money of the dupes
he aspired to make.

Gamesters have never had any proof of my belonging to their infernal
clique, but they have always persisted in believing that I too am a
"Greek."

As soon as this baron heard that I was in Madrid he called on me, and by
dint of politeness obliged me to receive him. I thought any small
civilities I might shew or introductions I might give could do me no
harm. He had a travelling companion to whom he introduced me. He was a
fat, ignorant fellow, but a Frenchman, and therefore agreeable. A
Frenchman who knows how to present himself, who is well dressed, and has
the society air, is usually accepted without demur or scrutiny. He had
been a cavalry captain, but had been fortunate enough to obtain an
everlasting furlough.

Four or five days after his appearance the baron asked me quietly enough
to lend him a score of louis, as he was hard up. I replied as quietly,
thanking him for treating me as a friend, but informing him that I really
could not lend him the money, as I wanted what little I had for my own
necessities.

"But we can do good business together, and you cannot possibly be
moneyless."

"I do not know anything about good business, but I do know that I want my
money and cannot part with it."

"We are at our wits' end to quiet our landlord; come and speak to him."

"If I were to do so I should do you more harm than good. He would ask me
if I would answer for you, and I should reply that you are one of those
noblemen who stand in need of no surety. All the same, the landlord would
think that if I did not stand your surety, it must be from my
entertaining doubts as to your solvency."

I had introduced Fraiture to Count Manucci, on the Pando, and he
requested me to take him to see the count, to which request I was foolish
enough to accede.

A few days later the baron opened his soul to Manucci.

He found the Venetian disposed to be obliging, but wary. He refused to
lend money himself, but introduced the baron to someone who lent him
money on pledges without interest.

The baron and his friend did a little gaming and won a little money, but
I held aloof from them to the best of my ability.

I had my colony and Donna Ignazia, and wanted to live peacefully; and if
I had spent a single night away from home, the innocent girl would have
been filled with alarm.

About that time M. de Mocenigo went as ambassador to France, and was
replaced by M. Querini. Querini was a man of letters, while Mocenigo only
liked music and his own peculiar kind of love.

The new ambassador was distinctly favourable to me, and in a few days I
had reason to believe that he would do more for me than ever Mocenigo
would have done.

In the meanwhile, the baron and his friend began to think of beating a
retreat to France. There was no gaming at the ambassador's and no gaming
at the Court; they must return to France, but they owed money to their
landlord, and they wanted money for the journey. I could give them
nothing, Manucci would give them nothing; we both pitied them, but our
duty to ourselves made us cruel to everyone else. However, he brought
trouble on us.

One morning Manucci came to see me in evident perturbation.

"What is the matter?" said I.

"I do not know exactly. For the last week I have refused to see the Baron
Fraiture, as not being able to give him money, his presence only wearied
me. He has written me a letter, in which he threatens to blow out his
brains to-day if I will not lend him a hundred pistoles."

"He said the same thing to me three days ago; but I replied that I would
bet two hundred pistoles that he would do nothing of the kind. This made
him angry, and he proposed to fight a duel with me; but I declined on the
plea that as he was a desperate man either he would have an advantage
over me or I, over him. Give him the same answer, or, better still, no
answer at all."

"I cannot follow your advice. Here are the hundred pistoles. Take them to
him and get a receipt."

I admired his generosity and agreed to carry out his commission. I called
on the baron, who seemed rather uncomfortable when I walked in; but
considering his position I was not at all surprised.

I informed him that I was the bearer of a thousand francs from Count
Manucci, who thereby placed him in a position to arrange his affairs and
to leave Madrid. He received the money without any signs of pleasure,
surprise, or gratitude, and wrote out the receipt. He assured me that he
and his friend would start for Barcelona and France on the following day.

I then took the document to Manucci, who was evidently suffering from
some mental trouble; and I remained to dinner with the ambassador. It was
for the last time.

Three days after I went to dine with the ambassadors (for they all dined
together), but to my astonishment the porter told me that he had received
orders not to admit me.

The effect of this sentence on me was like that of a thunderbolt; I
returned home like a man in a dream. I immediately sat down and wrote to
Manucci, asking him why I had been subjected to such an insult; but
Philippe, my man, brought me back the letter unopened.

This was another surprise; I did not know what to expect next. "What can
be the matter?" I said to myself. "I cannot imagine, but I will have an
explanation, or perish."

I dined sadly with Donna Ignazia, without telling her the cause of my
trouble, and just as I was going to take my siesta a servant of Manucci's
brought me a letter from his master and fled before I could read it. The
letter contained an enclosure which I read first. It was from Baron de
Fraiture. He asked Manucci to lend him a hundred pistoles, promising to
shew him the man whom he held for his dearest friend to be his worst
enemy.

Manucci (honouring me, by the way, with the title of ungrateful traitor)
said that the baron's letter had excited his curiosity and he had met
him in St. Jerome's Park, where the baron had clearly proved this enemy
to be myself, since I had informed the baron that though the name of
Manucci was genuine the title of count was quite apocryphal.

After recapitulating the information which Fraiture had given him, and
which could only have proceeded from myself, he advised me to leave
Madrid as soon as possible, in a week at latest.

I can give the reader no idea of the shock this letter gave me. For the
first time in my life I had to confess myself guilty of folly,
ingratitude, and crime. I felt that my fault was beyond forgiveness, and
did not think of asking Manucci to pardon me; I could do nothing but
despair.

Nevertheless, in spite of Manucci's just indignation, I could not help
seeing that he had made a great mistake in advising me, in so insulting a
manner, to leave Madrid in a week. The young man might have known that my
self-respect would forbid my following such a piece of advice. He could
not compel me to obey his counsel or command; and to leave Madrid would
have been to commit a second baseness worse than the first.

A prey to grief I spent the day without taking any steps one way or the
other, and I went to bed without supping and without the company of Donna
Ignazia.

After a sound sleep I got up and wrote to the friend whom I had offended
a sincere and humble confession of my fault. I concluded my letter by
saying that I hoped that this evidence of my sincere and heartfelt
repentance would suffice, but if not that I was ready to give him any
honourable satisfaction in my power.

"You may," I said, "have me assassinated if you like, but I shall not
leave Madrid till its suits me to do so."

I put a commonplace seal on my letter, and had the address written by
Philippe, whose hand was unknown to Manucci, and then I sent it to Pando
where the king had gone.

I kept my room the whole day; and Donna Ignazia, seeing that I had
recovered my spirits to some degree, made no more enquiries about the
cause of my distress. I waited in the whole of the next day, expecting a
reply, but in vain.

The third day, being Sunday, I went out to call on the Prince della
Catolica. My carriage stopped at his door, but the porter came out and
told me in a polite whisper that his highness had his reasons for not
receiving me any longer.

This was an unexpected blow, but after it I was prepared for anything.

I drove to the Abbe Bigliardi, but the lackey, after taking in my name,
informed me that his master was out.

I got into my carriage and went to Varnier, who said he wanted to speak
to me.

"Come into my carriage," said I, "we will go and hear mass together."

On our way he told me that the Venetian ambassador, Mocenigo, had warned
the Duke of Medina Sidonia that I was a dangerous character.

"The duke," he added, "replied that he would cease to know you as soon as
he found out the badness of your character himself."

These three shocks, following in such quick succession, cast me into a
state of confusion. I said nothing till we heard mass together, but I
believe that if I had not then told him the whole story I should have had
an apoplectic fit.

Varnier pitied me, and said,--

"Such are the ways of the great when they have abjured all virtue and
honesty. Nevertheless, I advise you to keep silence about it, unless you
would irritate Manucci still farther."

When I got home I wrote to Manucci begging him to suspend his vengeance,
or else I should be obliged to tell the story to all those who insulted
me for the ambassador's sake. I sent the letter to M. Soderini, the
secretary of the embassy, feeling sure that he would forward it to
Manucci.

I dined with my mistress, and took her to the bull fight, where I chanced
to find myself in a box adjoining that in which Manucci and the two
ambassadors were seated. I made them a bow which they were obliged to
return, and did not vouchsafe them another glance for the rest of the
spectacle.

The next day the Marquis Grimaldi refused to receive me, and I saw that I
should have to abandon all hope. The Duke of Lossada remained my friend
on account of his dislike to the ambassador and his unnatural tastes; but
he told me that he had been requested not to receive me, and that he did
not think I had the slightest chance of obtaining any employment at
Court.

I could scarcely believe in such an extremity of vengeance: Manucci was
making a parade of the influence he possessed over his wife the
ambassador. In his insane desire for revenge he had laid all shame aside.

I was curious to know whether he had forgotten Don Emmanuel de Roda and
the Marquis de la Moras; I found both of them had been forewarned against
me. There was still the Count of Aranda, and I was just going to see him
when a servant of his highness's came and told me that his master wished
to see me.

I shuddered, for in my then state of mind I drew the most sinister
conclusions from the message.

I found the great man alone, looking perfectly calm. This made me pluck
up a heart. He asked me to sit down--a favour he had not hitherto done
me, and this further contributed to cheer me.

"What have you been doing to offend your ambassador?" he began.

"My lord, I have done nothing to him directly, but by an inexcusable act
of stupidity I have wounded his dear friend Manucci in his tenderest
part. With the most innocent intentions I reposed my confidence in a
cowardly fellow, who sold it to Manucci for a hundred pistoles. In his
irritation, Manucci has stirred up the great man against me: 'hinc illae
lacrimae'."

"You have been unwise, but what is done is done. I am sorry for you,
because there is an end to all your hopes of advancement. The first thing
the king would do would be to make enquiries about you of the
ambassador."

"I feel it to my sorrow, my lord, but must I leave Madrid?"

"No. The ambassador did his best to make me send you way, but I told him
that I had no power over you so long as you did not infringe the laws."

"'He has calumniated a Venetian subject whom I am bound to protect,' said
he.

"'In that case,' I replied, 'you can resort to the ordinary law, and
punish him to the best of your ability.'"

"The ambassador finally begged me to order you not to mention the matter
to any Venetian subjects at Madrid, and I think you can safely promise me
this."

"My lord, I have much pleasure in giving your excellency my word of
honour not to do so."

"Very good. Then you can stay at Madrid as long as you please; and,
indeed, Mocenigo will be leaving in the course of a week."

From that moment I made up my mind to amuse myself without any thought of
obtaining a position in Spain. However, the ties of friendship made me
keep up my acquaintance with Varnier, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and the
architect, Sabatini, who always gave me a warm welcome, as did his wife.

Donna Ignazia had more of my company than ever, and congratulated me on
my freedom from the cares of business.

After the departure of Mocenigo I thought I would go and see if Querini,
his nephew, was equally prejudiced against me. The porter told me that he
had received orders not to admit me, and I laughed in the man's face.

Six or seven weeks after Manucci's departure I, too, left Madrid. I did
so on compulsion, in spite of my love for Ignazia, for I had no longer
hopes of doing anything in Portugal, and my purse was nearly exhausted.

I thought of selling a handsome repeater and a gold snuff-box so as to
enable me to go to Marseilles, whence I thought of going to
Constantinople and trying my fortune there without turning renegade.
Doubtless, I should have found the plan unsuccessful, for I was attaining
an age when Fortune flies. I had no reason, however, to complain of
Fortune, for she had been lavish in her gifts to me, and I in my turn had
always abused them.

In my state of distress the learned Abbe Pinzi introduced me to a Genoese
bookseller, named Carrado, a thoroughly honest man, who seemed to have
been created that the knavery of most of the Genoese might be pardoned.
To him I brought my watch and snuff-box, but the worthy Carrado not only
refused to buy them, but would not take them in pledge. He gave me
seventeen hundred francs with no other security than my word that I would
repay him if I were ever able to do so. Unhappily I have never been able
to repay this debt, unless my gratitude be accounted repayment.

As nothing is sweeter than the companionship between a man and the woman
he adores, so nothing is bitterer than the separation; the pleasure has
vanished away, and only the pain remains.

I spent my last days at Madrid drinking the cup of pleasure which was
embittered by the thought of the pain that was to follow. The worthy
Diego was sad at the thought of losing me, and could with difficulty
refrain from tears.

For some time my man Philippe continued to give me news of Donna Ignazia.
She became the bride of a rich shoemaker, though her father was extremely
mortified by her making a marriage so much beneath her station.

I had promised the Marquis de las Moras and Colonel Royas that I would
come and see them at Saragossa, the capital of Aragon, and I arrived
there at the beginning of September. My stay lasted for a fortnight,
during which time I was able to examine the manners and customs of the
Aragonese, who were not subject to the ordinances of the Marquis of
Aranda, as long cloaks and low hats were to be seen at every corner. They
looked like dark phantoms more than men, for the cloak covered up at
least half the face. Underneath the cloak was carried el Spadino, a sword
of enormous length. Persons who wore this costume were treated with great
respect, though they were mostly arrant rogues; still they might possibly
be powerful noblemen in disguise.

The visitor to Saragossa should see the devotion which is paid to our
Lady del Pilar. I have seen processions going along the streets in which
wooden statues of gigantic proportions were carried. I was taken to the
best assemblies, where the monks swarmed. I was introduced to a lady of
monstrous size, who, I was informed, was cousin to the famous Palafox,
and I did not feel my bosom swell with pride as was evidently expected. I
also made the acquaintance of Canon Pignatelli, a man of Italian origin.
He was President of the Inquisition, and every morning he imprisoned the
procuress who had furnished him with the girl with whom he had supped and
slept. He would wake up in the morning tired out with the pleasures of
the night; the girl would be driven away and the procuress imprisoned. He
then dressed, confessed, said mass, and after an excellent breakfast with
plenty of good wine he would send out for another girl, and this would go
on day after day. Nevertheless, he was held in great respect at
Saragossa, for he was a monk, a canon, and an Inquisitor.

The bull fights were finer at Saragossa than at Madrid--that is to say,
they were deadlier; and the chief interest of this barbarous spectacle
lies in the shedding of blood. The Marquis de las Moras and Colonel Royas
gave me some excellent dinners. The marquis was one of the pleasantest
men I met in Spain; he died very young two years after.

The Church of Nuestra Senora del Pilar is situated on the ramparts of the
town, and the Aragonese fondly believe this portion of the town defences
to be impregnable.

I had promised Donna Pelliccia to go and see her at Valentia, and on my
way I saw the ancient town of Saguntum on a hill at some little distance.
There was a priest travelling with me and I told him and the driver (who
preferred his mules to all the antiquities in the world) that I should
like to go and see the town. How the muleteer and the priest objected to
this proposal!

"There are only ruins there, senor."

"That's just what I want to see."

"We shall never get to Valentia to-night."

"Here's a crown; we shall get there to-morrow."

The crown settled everything, and the man exclaimed,

"Valga me Dios, es un hombre de buen!" (So help me God, this is an honest
man!) A subject of his Catholic majesty knows no heartier praise than
this.

I saw the massive walls still standing and in good condition, and yet
they were built during the second Punic War. I saw on two of the gateways
inscriptions which to me were meaningless, but which Seguier, the old
friend of the Marquis Maffei, could no doubt have deciphered.

The sight of this monument to the courage of an ancient race, who
preferred to perish in the flames rather than surrender, excited my awe
and admiration. The priest laughed at me, and I am sure he would not have
purchased this venerable city of the dead if he could have done so by
saying a mass. The very name has perished; instead of Saguntum it is
called Murviedro from the Latin 'muri veteres' (old walls); but Time that
destroys marble and brass destroys also the very memory of what has been.

"This place," said the priest, "is always called Murviedro."

"It is ridiculous to do so," I replied; "common sense forbids us calling
a thing old which was once young enough. That's as if you would tell me
that New Castille is really new."

"Well, Old Castille is more ancient than New Castille."

"No so. New Castille was only called so because it was the latest
conquest; but as a matter of fact it is the older of the two."

The poor priest took refuge in silence; shaking his head, and evidently
taking me for a madman.

I tried vainly to find Hannibal's head, and the inscription in honour of
Caesar Claudius, but I found out the remains of the amphitheatre.

The next day I remarked the mosaic pavement, which had been discovered
twenty years before.

I reached Valentia at nine o'clock in the morning, and found that I
should have to content myself with a bad lodging, as Marescalchi, the
opera manager, had taken all the best rooms for the members of his
company. Marescalchi was accompanied by his brother, a priest, whom I
found decidedly learned for his age. We took a walk together, and he
laughed when I proposed going into a cafe, for there was not such a thing
in the town. There were only taverns of the lowest class where the wine
is not fit to drink. I could scarcely believe it, but Spain is a peculiar
country. When I was at Valentia, a good bottle of wine was scarcely
obtainable, though Malaga and Alicante were both close at hand.

In the first three days of my stay at Valentia (the birthplace of
Alexander VI.), I saw all the objects of interest in the town, and was
confirmed in my idea that what seems so admirable in the descriptions of
writers and the pictures of artists loses much of its charm on actual
inspection.

Though Valentia is blessed with an excellent climate, though it is well
watered, situated in the midst of a beautiful country, fertile in all the
choicest products of nature, though it is the residence of many of the
most distinguished of the Spanish nobility, though its women are the most
handsome in Spain, though it has the advantage of being the seat of an
archbishop; in spite of all these commodities, it is a most disagreeable
town to live in. One is ill lodged and ill fed, there is no good wine and
no good company, there is not even any intellectual provision, for though
there is a university, lettered men are absolutely unknown.

As for the bridges, churches, the arsenal, the exchange, the town hall,
the twelve town gates, and the rest, I could not take pleasure in a town
where the streets are not paved, and where a public promenade is
conspicuous by its absence. Outside the town the country is delightful,
especially on the side towards the sea; but the outside is not the
inside.

The feature which pleased me most was the number of small one-horse
vehicles which transport the traveller rapidly from one point to another,
at a very slight expense, and will even undertake a two or three days'
journey.

If my frame of mind had been a more pleasant one, I should have travelled
through the kingdoms of Murcia and Grenada, which surpass Italy in beauty
and fertility.

Poor Spaniards! This beauty and fertility of your land are the cause of
your ignorance, as the mines of Peru and Potosi have brought about that
foolish pride and all the prejudices which degrade you.

Spaniards, when will the impulse come? when will you shake off that fatal
lethargy? Now you are truly useless to yourselves, and the rest of the
world; what is it you need?

A furious revolution, a terrible shock, a conquest of regeneration; your
case is past gentle methods, it needs the cautery and the fire.

The first call I paid was on Donna Pelliccia. The first performance was
to be given in two days. This was not a matter of any difficulty, as the
same operas were to be presented as had been already played at Aranjuez,
the Escurial, and the Granja, for the Count of Aranda would never have
dared to sanction the performance of an Italian comic opera at Madrid.
The novelty would have been too great, and the Inquisition would have
interfered.

The balls were a considerable shock, and two years after they were
suppressed. Spain will never make any real advance, until the Inquisition
is suppressed also.

As soon as Donna Pelliccia arrived, she sent in the letter of
introduction she had received from the Duke of Arcos, three months
before. She had not seen the duke since their meeting at Aranjuez.

"Madam," said Don Diego, the person to whom she was commended, "I have
come to offer you my services, and to tell you of the orders his grace
has laid on me, of which you may possibly be ignorant."

"I hope, sir," she replied, "that I am not putting you to any
inconvenience, but I am extremely grateful to the duke and to yourself;
and I shall have the honour of calling on you to give you my thanks."

"Not at all; I have only to say that I have orders to furnish you with
any sums you may require, to the amount of twenty-five thousand
doubloons."

"Twenty-five thousand doubloons?"

"Exactly, madam, two hundred and fifty thousand francs in French money,
and no more. Kindly read his grace's letter; you do not seem to be aware
of its contents."

The letter was a brief one:

"Don Diego,--You will furnish Donna Pelliccia with whatever sums she may
require, not exceeding twenty-five thousand doubloons, at my account.
"THE DUKE DOS ARCOS"

We remained in a state of perfect stupefaction. Donna Pelliccia returned
the epistle to the banker, who bowed and took his leave.

This sounds almost incredible generosity, but in Spain such things are
not uncommon. I have already mentioned the munificent gift of Medina-Celi
to Madame Pichona.

Those who are unacquainted with the peculiar Spanish character and the
vast riches of some of the nobility, may pronounce such acts of
generosity to be ridiculous and positively injurious, but they make a
mistake. The spendthrift gives and squanders by a kind of instinct, and
so he will continue to do as long as his means remain. But these splendid
gifts I have described do not come under the category of senseless
prodigality. The Spaniard is chiefly ambitious of praise, for praise he
will do anything; but this very desire for admiration serves to restrain
him from actions by which he would incur blame. He wants to be thought
superior to his fellows, as the Spanish nation is superior to all other
nations; he wants to be thought worthy of a throne, and to be considered
as the possessor of all the virtues.

I may also note that while some of the Spanish nobility are as rich as
the English lords, the former have not so many ways of spending their
money as the latter, and thus are enabled to be heroically generous on
occasion.

As soon as Don Diego had gone, we began to discuss the duke's noble
behaviour.

Donna Pelliccia maintained that the duke had wished to shew his
confidence in her by doing her the honour of supposing her incapable of
abusing his generosity; "at all events," she concluded, "I would rather
die of hunger than take a single doubloon of Don Diego."

"The duke would be offended," said a violinist; "I think you ought to
take something."

"You must take it all," said the husband.

I was of the lady's opinion, and told her that I was sure the duke would
reward her delicacy by making her fortune.

She followed my advice and her own impulse, though the banker
remonstrated with her.

Such is the perversity of the human mind that no one believed in Donna
Pelliccia's delicacy. When the king heard what had happened he ordered
the worthy actress to leave Madrid, to prevent the duke ruining himself.

Such is often the reward of virtue here below, but the malicious persons
who had tried to injure Donna Pelliccia by calumniating her to the king
were the means of making her fortune.

The duke who had only spoken once or twice to the actress in public, and
had never spent a penny on her, took the king's command as an insult, and
one not to be borne. He was too proud to solicit the king to revoke the
order he had given, and in the end behaved in a way befitting so
noble-minded a man. For the first time he visited Donna Pelliccia at her
own house, and begging her to forgive him for having been the innocent
cause of her disgrace, asked her to accept a rouleau and a letter which
he laid on the table.

The rouleau contained a hundred gold ounces with the words "for
travelling expenses," and the letter was addressed to a Roman bank, and
proved to be an order for twenty-four thousand Roman crowns.

For twenty-nine years this worthy woman kept an establishment at Rome,
and did so in a manner which proved her worthy of her good fortune.

The day after Donna Pelliccia's departure the king saw the Duke of Arcos,
and told him not to be sad, but to forget the woman, who had been sent
away for his own good.

"By sending her away, your majesty obliged me to turn fiction into fact,
for I only knew her by speaking to her in various public places, and I
had never made her the smallest present."

"Then you never gave her twenty-five thousand doubloons?"

"Sire, I gave her double that sum, but only on the day before yesterday.
Your majesty has absolute power, but if she had not received her
dismissal I should never have gone to her house, nor should I have given
her the smallest present."

The king was stupefied and silent; he was probably meditating on the
amount of credit a monarch should give to the gossip that his courtiers
bring him.

I heard about this from M. Monnino, who was afterwards known under the
title of Castille de Florida Blanca, and is now living in exile in
Murcia, his native country.

After Marescalchi had gone, and I was making my preparations for my
journey to Barcelona, I saw one day, at the bull fight, a woman whose
appearance had a strange kind of fascination about it.

There was a knight of Alcantara at my side, and I asked him who the lady
was.

"She is the famous Nina."

"How famous?"

"If you do not know her story, it is too long to be told here."

I could not help gazing at her, and two minutes later an ill-looking
fellow beside her came up to my companion and whispered something in his
ear.

The knight turned towards me and informed me in the most polite manner
that the lady whose name I had asked desired to know mine.

I was silly enough to be flattered by her curiosity, and told the
messenger that if the lady would allow me I would come to her box and
tell her my name in person after the performance.

"From your accent I should suppose you were an Italian."

"I am a Venetian."

"So is she."

When he had gone away my neighbour seemed inclined to be more
communicative, and informed me that Nina was a dancer whom the Count de
Ricla, the Viceroy of Barcelona, was keeping for some weeks at Valentia,
till he could get her back to Barcelona, whence the bishop of the diocese
had expelled her on account of the scandals to which she gave rise. "The
count," he added, "is madly in love with her, and allows her fifty
doubloons a day."

"I should hope she does not spend them."

"She can't do that, but she does not let a day pass without committing
some expensive act of folly."

I felt curious to know a woman of such a peculiar character, and longed
for the end of the bull fight, little thinking in what trouble this new
acquaintance would involve me.

She received me with great politeness, and as she got into her carriage
drawn by six mules, she said she would be delighted if I would breakfast
with her at nine o'clock on the following day.

I promised to come, and I kept my word.

Her house was just outside the town walls, and was a very large building.
It was richly and tastefully furnished, and was surrounded by an enormous
garden.

The first thing that struck me was the number of the lackeys and the
richness of their liveries, and the maids in elegant attire, who seemed
to be going and coming in all directions.

As I advanced I heard an imperious voice scolding some one.

The scold was Nina, who was abusing an astonished-looking man, who was
standing by a large table covered with stuffs and laces.

"Excuse me," said she, "but this fool of a Spaniard wants to persuade me
that this lace is really handsome."

She asked me what I thought of the lace, and though I privately thought
it lace of the finest quality, I did not care to contradict her, and so
replied that I was no judge.

"Madam," said the tradesman, "if you do not like the lace, leave it; will
you keep the stuffs?"

"Yes," she replied; "and as for the lace, I will shew you that it is not
the money that deters me."

So saying the mad girl took up a pair of scissors and cut the lace into
fragments.

"What a pity!" said the man who had spoken to me at the bull fight.
"People will say that you have gone off your head."

"Be silent, you pimping rogue!" said she, enforcing her words with a
sturdy box on the ear.

The fellow went off, calling her strumpet, which only made her scream
with laughter; then, turning to the Spaniard, she told him to make out
his account directly.

The man did not want telling twice, and avenged himself for the abuse he
had received by the inordinate length of his bill.

She took up the account and placed her initials at the bottom without
deigning to look at the items, and said,--

"Go to Don Diego Valencia; he will pay you immediately."

As soon as we were alone the chocolate was served, and she sent a message
to the fellow whose ears she had boxed to come to breakfast directly.

"You needn't be surprised at my way of treating him," she said. "He's a
rascal whom Ricla has placed in my house to spy out my actions, and I
treat him as you have seen, so that he may have plenty of news to write
to his master."

I thought I must be dreaming; such a woman seemed to me beyond the limits
of the possible.

The poor wretch, who came from Bologna and was a musician by profession,
came and sat down with us without a word. His name was Molinari.

As soon as he had finished his breakfast he left the room, and Nina spent
an hour with me talking about Spain, Italy, and Portugal, where she had
married a dancer named Bergonzi.

"My father," she said, "was the famous charlatan Pelandi; you may have
known him at Venice."

After this piece of confidence (and she did not seem at all ashamed of
her parentage) she asked me to sup with her, supper being her favourite
meal. I promised to come, and I left her to reflect on the extraordinary
character of the woman, and on the good fortune which she so abused.

Nina was wonderfully beautiful; but as it has always been my opinion that
mere beauty does not go for much, I could not understand how a viceroy
could have fallen in love with her to such an extent. As for Molinari,
after which I had seen, I could only set him down as an infamous wretch.

I went to supper with her for amusement's sake, for, with all her beauty,
she had not touched my heart in the slightest degree. It was at the
beginning of October, but at Valentia the thermometer marked twenty
degrees Reaumur in the shade.

Nina was walking in the garden with her companion, both of them being
very lightly clad; indeed, Nina had only her chemise and a light
petticoat.

As soon as she saw me she came up and begged me to follow their example
in the way of attire, but I begged to be excused. The presence of that
hateful fellow revolted me in the highest degree.

In the interval before supper Nina entertained me with a number of
lascivious anecdotes of her experiences from the time she began her
present mode of living up to the age of twenty-two, which was her age
then.

If it had not been for the presence of the disgusting Argus, no doubt all
these stories would have produced their natural effect on me; but as it
was they had none whatever.

We had a delicate supper and ate with appetite, and after it was over I
would have gladly left them; but Nina would not let me go. The wine had
taken effect, and she wished to have a little amusement.

After all the servants had been dismissed, this Messalina ordered
Molinari to strip naked, and she then began to treat him in a manner
which I cannot describe without disgust.

The rascal was young and strong, and, though he was drunk, Nina's
treatment soon placed him in a hearty condition. I could see that she
wished me to play my part in the revels, but my disgust had utterly
deprived me of all my amorous faculties.

Nina, too, had undressed, and seeing that I viewed the orgy coldly she
proceeded to satiate her desires by means of Molinari.

I had to bear with the sight of this beautiful woman coupling herself
with an animal, whose only merit lay in his virile monstrosity, which she
no doubt regarded as a beauty.

When she had exhausted her amorous fury she threw herself into a bath,
then came back, drank a bottle of Malmsey Madeira, and finally made her
brutal lover drink till he fell on to the floor.

I fled into the next room, not being able to bear it any longer, but she
followed me. She was still naked, and seating herself beside me on an
ottoman she asked me how I had enjoyed the spectacle.

I told her boldy that the disgust with which her wretched companion had
inspired me was so great that it had utterly annulled the effect of her
charms.

"That may be so, but now he is not here, and yet you do nothing. One
would not think it, to look at you."

"You are right, for I have my feelings like any other man, but he has
disgusted me too much. Wait till tomorrow, and let me not see that
monster so unworthy of enjoying you."

"He does not enjoy me. If I thought he did I would rather die than let
him have to do with me, for I detest him."

"What! you do not love him, and yet you make use of him in the way you
do?"

"Yes, just as I might use a mechanical instrument."

In this woman I saw an instance of the depths of degradation to which
human nature may be brought.

She asked me to sup with her on the following day, telling me that we
would be alone, as Molinari would be ill.

"He will have got over the effects of the wine."

"I tell you he will be ill. Come to-morrow, and come every evening."

"I am going the day after to-morrow."

"You will not go for a week, and then we will go together."

"That's impossible."

"If you go you will insult me beyond bearing."

I went home with my mind made up to depart without having anything more
to do with her; and though I was far from inexperienced in wickedness of
all kinds, I could not help feeling astonished at the unblushing
frankness of this Megaera, who had told me what I already knew, but in
words that I had never heard a woman use before.

"I only use him to satisfy my desires, and because I am certain that he
does not love me; if I thought he did I would rather die than allow him
to do anything with me, for I detest him."

The next day I went to her at seven o'clock in the evening. She received
me with an air of feigned melancholy, saying,--

"Alas! we shall have to sup alone; Molinari has got the colic."

"You said he would be ill; have you poisoned him?"

"I am quite capable of doing so, but I hope I never shall."

"But you have given him something?"

"Only what he likes himself; but we will talk of that again. Let us sup
and play till to-morrow, and tomorrow evening we will begin again."

"I am going away at seven o'clock to-morrow."

"No, no, you are not; and your coachman will have no cause for complaint,
for he has been paid; here is the receipt."

These remarks, delivered with an air of amorous despotism, flattered my
vanity. I made up my mind to submit gaily, called her wanton, and said I
was not worth the pains she was taking over me.

"What astonishes me," said I, "is that with this fine house you do not
care to entertain company."

"Everybody is afraid to come; they fear Ricla's jealousy, for it is well
known that that animal who is now suffering from the colic tells him
everything I do. He swears that it is not so, but I know him to be a
liar. Indeed, I am very glad he does write to Ricla, and only wish he had
something of real importance to write about."

"He will tell him that I have supped alone with you."

"All the better; are you afraid?"

"No; but I think you ought to tell me if I have anything really to fear."

"Nothing at all; it will fall on me."

"But I should not like to involve you in a dispute which might be
prejudicial to your interests."

"Not at all; the more I provoke him, the better he loves me, and I will
make him pay dearly when he asks me to make it up."

"Then you don't love him?"

"Yes, to ruin him; but he is so rich that there doesn't seem much hope of
my ever doing that."

Before me I saw a woman as beautiful as Venus and as degraded as Lucifer;
a woman most surely born to be the ruin of anyone who had the misfortune
to fall in love with her. I had known women of similar character, but
never one so dangerous as she.

I determined to make some money out of her if I could.

She called for cards, and asked me to play with her at a game called
primiera. It is a game of chance, but of so complicated a nature that the
best player always wins. In a quarter of an hour I found that I was the
better player, but she had such luck that at the end of the game I had
lost twenty pistoles, which I paid on the spot. She took the money,
promising to give me my revenge.

We had supper, and then we committed all the wantonness she wished and I
was capable of performing, for with me the age of miracles was past.

The next day I called to see her earlier in the evening. We played again;
and she lost, and went on losing evening after evening, till I had won a
matter of two or three hundred doubloons, no unwelcome addition to my
somewhat depleted purse.

The spy recovered from his colic and supped with us every evening, but
his presence no longer interfered with my pleasure since Nina had ceased
to prostitute herself to him in my presence. She did the opposite; giving
herself to me, and telling him to write to the Comte de Ricla whatever he
liked.

The count wrote her a letter which she gave me to read. The poor
love-sick viceroy informed her that she might safely return to Barcelona,
as the bishop had received an order from the Court to regard her as
merely au actress, whose stay in his diocese would only be temporary; she
would thus be allowed to live there in peace so long as she abstained
from giving cause for scandal. She told me that whilst she was at
Barcelona I could only see her after ten o'clock at night, when the count
always left her. She assured me that I should run no risk whatever.

Possibly I should not have stayed at Barcelona at all if Nina had not
told me that she would always be ready to lend me as much money as I
wanted.

She asked me to leave Valentia a day before her, and to await her at
Tarragona. I did so, and spent a very pleasant day in that town, which
abounds in remains of antiquity.

I ordered a choice supper according to her instructions, and took care
that she should have a separate bedroom so as to avoid any scandal.

She started in the morning begging me to wait till the evening, and to
travel by night so as to reach Barcelona by day-time. She told me to put
up at the "Santa Maria," and not to call till I had heard from her.

I followed all the directions given me by this curious woman, and found
myself comfortably lodged at Barcelona. My landlord was a Swiss who told
me in confidence that he had received instructions to treat me well, and
that I had only to ask for what I wanted.

We shall see soon what was the result of all this.



CHAPTER VIII

My Imprudence--Passano--I Am Imprisoned--My Departure from
Barcelona--Madame Castelbajac at Montpellier--Nimes--I Arrive at Aix

Although my Swiss landlord seemed an honest and trustworthy kind of man,
I could not help thinking that Nina had acted very imprudently in
commending me to him. She was the viceroy's mistress; and though the
viceroy might be a very agreeable man, he was a Spaniard, and not likely
to be easy-going in his love affairs. Nina herself had told me that he
was ardent, jealous, and suspicious. But the mischief was done, and there
was no help for it.

When I got up my landlord brought me a valet de place, for whose
character he said he could answer, and he then sent up an excellent
dinner. I had slept till three o'clock in the afternoon.

After dinner I summoned my host, and asked him whether Nina had told him
to get me a servant. He answered in the affirmative, and added that a
carriage was awaiting my commands at the door; it had been taken by the
week.

"I am astonished to hear it, for no one but myself can say what I can
afford or not."

"Sir, everything is paid for."

"Paid for! I will not have it!"

"You can settle that with her, but I shall certainly take no payment."

I saw dangers ahead, but as I have never cared to cherish forbodings I
dismissed the idea.

I had a letter of introduction from the Marquis de las Moras to Don
Miguel de Cevallos, and another from Colonel Royas to Don Diego de la
Secada. I took my letters, and the next day Don Diego came to see me, and
took me to the Comte de Peralda. The day after Don Miguel introduced me
to the Comte de Ricla, Viceroy of Catalonia, and the lover of Nina.

The Comte de Peralada was a young man with a pleasant face but with an
ill-proportioned body. He was a great debauchee and lover of bad company,
an enemy of religion, morality, and law. He was directly descended from
the Comte de Peralada, who served Philip II. so well that this king
declared him "count by the grace of God." The original patent of nobility
was the first thing I saw in his antechamber, where it was framed and
glazed so that all visitors might see it in the quarter of an hour they
were kept waiting.

The count received me with an easy and cordiale manner, which seemed to
say that he renounced all the dignities of his rank. He thanked Don Diego
for introducing me, and talked a good deal about Colonel Royas. He asked
me if I had seen the English girl he was keeping at Saragossa, and on my
replying in the affirmative, he told me in a whisper that he had slept
with her.

He took me to his stables, where he had some splendid horses, and then
asked me to dine with him the next day.

The viceroy received me in a very different manner; he stood up so that
he might not have to offer me a chair, and though I spoke Italian, with
which language I knew him to be well acquainted, he answered me in
Spanish, styling me 'ussia' (a contraction of 'vuestra senoria', your
lordship, and used by everyone in Spain), while I gave him his proper
title of excellence.

He talked a good deal about Madrid, and complained that M. de Mocenigo
had gone to Paris by Bayonne instead of Barcelona, as he had promised
him.

I tried to excuse my ambassador by saying that by taking the other route
he had saved fifty leagues of his journey, but the viceroy replied that
'tenir la palabra' (keeping to one's words) comes before all else.

He asked me if I thought of staying long at Barcelona, and seemed
surprised when I told him that, with his leave, I hoped to make a long
stay.

"I hope you will enjoy yourself," he said, "but I must warn you that if
you indulge in the pleasures which my nephew Peralada will doubtless
offer you, you will not enjoy a very good reputation at Barcelona."

As the Comte de Ricla made this observation in public, I thought myself
justified in communicating it to Peralada himself. He was delighted, and
told me, with evident vanity, that he had gone to Madrid three times, and
had been ordered to return to Catalonia on each occasion.

I thought my best plan would be to follow the viceroy's indirect advice,
so I refused to join in any of the little parties of pleasure which
Peralada proposed.

On the fifth day after my arrival, an officer came to ask me to dinner at
the viceroy's. I accepted the invitation with much pleasure, for I had
been afraid of the viceroy's having heard of my relations with Nina, and
thought it possible that he might have taken a dislike to me. He was very
pleasant to me at dinner, often addressing his observations to me, but
always in a tone of great gravity.

I had been in Barcelona for a week, and was beginning to wonder why I had
not heard from Nina; but one evening she wrote me a note, begging me to
come on foot and alone to her house at ten o'clock the same night.

If I had been wise I should not have gone, for I was not in love with the
woman, and should have remembered the respect due to the viceroy; but I
was devoid of all wisdom and prudence. All the misfortunes I have
experienced in my long life never taught me those two most necessary
virtues.

At the hour she had named I called on her, wearing my great coat, and
with a sword for my only weapon. I found Nina with her sister, a woman of
thirty-six or thereabouts, who was married to an Italian dancer,
nicknamed Schizza, because he had a flatter nose than any Tartar.

Nina had just been supping with her lover, who had left her at ten
o'clock, according to his invariable custom.

She said she was delighted to hear I had been to dinner with him, as she
had herself spoken to him in my praise, saying how admirably I had kept
her company at Valentia.

"I am glad to hear it, but I do not think you are wise in inviting me to
your house at such late hours."

"I only do so to avoid scandal amongst my neighbours."

"In my opinion my coming so late is only likely to increase the
probability of scandal, and to make your viceroy jealous."

"He will never hear of your coming."

"I think you are mistaken."

I went away at midnight, after a conversation of the most decent
character. Her sister did not leave us for a moment, and Nina gave her no
cause to suspect the intimacy of our relations.

I went to see her every evening, without encroaching on the count's
preserves. I thought myself secure, but the following warning should have
made me desist if I had not been carried away by the forces of destiny
and obstinacy in combination.

An officer in the Walloon Guards accosted me one day as I was walking by
myself just outside the town. He begged me in the most polite manner to
excuse him if he spoke on a matter which was indifferent to him but of
great consequence to me.

"Speak, sir," I replied, "I will take whatever you say in good part."

"Very good. You are a stranger, sir, and may not be acquainted with our
Spanish manners, consequently you are unaware of the great risk you run
in going to see Nina every evening after the count has left her."

"What risk do I run? I have no doubt that the count knows all about it
and does not object."

"I have no doubt as to his knowing it, and he may possibly pretend to
know nothing before her, as he fears as well as loves her; but if she
tells you that he does not object, she either deceives herself or you. He
cannot love her without being jealous, and a jealous Spaniard . . .

"Follow my advice, sir, and forgive my freedom."

"I am sincerely obliged to you for your kind interest in me, but I cannot
follow your advice, as by doing so I should be wanting in politeness to
Nina, who likes to see me and gives me a warm welcome. I shall continue
to visit her till she orders me not to do so, or till the count signifies
to me his displeasure at my visits to his mistress."

"The count will never do such a thing; he is too careful of his dignity."

The worthy officer then narrated to me all the acts of injustice which
Ricla had committed since he had fallen in love with this woman. He had
dismissed gentlemen from his service on the mere suspicion that they were
in love with her; some had been exiled, and others imprisoned on one
frivolous pretext or another. Before he had known Nina he had been a
pattern of wisdom, justice, and virtue, and now he had become unjust,
cruel, blindly passionate, and in every way a scandal to the high
position he occupied.

All this should have influenced me, but it had not the slightest effect.
I told him for politeness' sake that I would endeavour to part from her
by degrees, but I had no intention of doing so.

When I asked him how he knew that I visited Nina, he laughed and said it
was a common topic of conversation all over the town.

The same evening I called on her without mentioning my conversation with
the officer. There would have been some excuse for me if I had been in
love with her, but as it was . . . I acted like a madman.

On the 14th of November I went to see her at the usual time. I found her
with a man who was shewing her miniatures. I looked at him and found that
he was the scoundrel Passano, or Pogomas.

My blood boiled; I took Nina's hand and led her into a neighbouring room,
and told her to dismiss the rogue at once, or I would go to return no
more.

"He's a painter."

"I am well acquainted with his history, and will tell you all about it
presently; but send him away, or I shall go."

She called her sister, and told her to order the Genoese to leave the
house and never to enter it again.

The thing was 'done in a moment, but the sister told us that as he went
out he had said,--

"Se ne pentira." ("He shall be sorry for it.").

I occupied an hour in relating some of the injuries I had received from
this scoundrelly fellow.

The next day (November 15th), I went to Nina at the usual time, and after
spending two hours in pleasant converse with her and her sister I went
out as the clocks were striking midnight.

The door of the house was under an arcade, which extended to the end of
the street. It was a dark night; and I had scarcely gone twenty-five
paces when two men suddenly rushed at me.

I stepped back, drawing my sword, and exclaiming, "Assassins!" and then
with a rapid movement, I thrust my blade into the body of the nearest
assailant. I then left the arcade, and began to run down the street. The
second assassin fired a pistol at me, but it fortunately missed me. I
fell down and dropped my hat in my rapid flight, and got up and continued
my course without troubling to pick it up. I did not know whether I was
wounded or not, but at last I got to my inn, and laid down the bloody
sword on the counter, under the landlord's nose. I was quite out of
breath.

I told the landlord what had happened, and on taking off my great coat, I
found it to be pierced in two places just below the armpit.

"I am going to bed," I said to the landlord, "and I leave my great coat
and the sword in your charge. Tomorrow morning I shall ask you to come
with me before the magistrate to denounce this act of assassination, for
if the man was killed it must be shewn that I only slew him to save my
own life."

"I think your best plan would be to fly Barcelona immediately."

"Then you think I have not told you the strict truth?"

"I am sure you have; but I know whence the blow comes, and God knows what
will befall you!"

"Nothing at all; but if I fly I shall be accounted guilty. Take care of
the sword; they tried to assassinate me, but I think the assassins got
the worst of it."

I went to bed somewhat perturbed, but I had the consoling thought that if
I had killed a man I had done so to self-defence; my conscience was quite
clear.

At seven o'clock the next morning I heard a knocking at my door. I opened
it, and saw my landlord, accompanied by an officer, who told me to give
him all my papers, to dress, and to follow him, adding that he should be
compelled to use force in case of resistance.

"I have no intention of resisting," I replied. "By whose authority do you
ask me for my papers?"

"By the authority of the governor. They will be returned to you if
nothing suspicious is found amongst them."

"Where are you going to take me?"

"To the citadel."

I opened my trunk, took out my linen and my clothes, which I gave to my
landlord, and I saw the officer's astonishment at seeing my trunk half
filled with papers.

"These are all the papers I have," I said. I locked the box and gave the
officer the key.

"I advise you, sir," he said, "to put all necessary articles into a
portmanteau." He then ordered the landlord to send me a bed, and finally
asked me if I had any papers in my pockets.

"Only my passports."

"That's exactly what we want," he rejoined, with a grim smile.

"My passports are sacred; I will never give them to anyone but the
governor-general. Reverence your king; here is his passport, here is that
of the Count of Aranda, and here the passport of the Venetian ambassador.
You will have to bind me hand and foot before you get them."

"Be more moderate, sir. In giving them to me it is just as if you gave
them to the viceroy. If you resist I will not bind you hand and foot, but
I shall take you before the viceroy, and then you will be forced to give
them up in public. Give them to me with a good grace, and you shall have
an acknowledgement."

The worthy landlord told me I should be wiser to give in, so I let myself
be persuaded. The officer gave me a full quittance, which I put in my
pocketbook (this he let me keep out of his kindness), and then I followed
him. He had six constables with him, but they kept a good distance away.
Comparing this with the circumstances of my arrest at Madrid, I thought
myself well treated.

Before we left the inn the officer told me that I might order what meals
I pleased, and I asked the landlord to let me have my dinner and supper
as usual.

On the way I told him of my adventure of the night before; he listened
attentively but made no comments.

When we reached the citadel I was delivered to the officer of the guard,
who gave me a room on the first floor. It was bare of furniture, but the
windows looked on to a square and had no iron bars.

I had scarcely been there ten minutes when my carpet bag and an excellent
bed were brought in.

As soon as I was alone I began to think over the situation. I finished
where I ought to have begun.

"What can this imprisonment have to do with my last night's adventure?" I
reflected.

I could not make out the connection.

"They are bent on examining my papers; they must think I have been
tampering in some political or religious intrigue; but my mind is quite
at ease on that score. I am well lodged at present, and no doubt shall be
set free after my papers have been examined; they can find nothing
against me there.

"The affair of my attempted assassination will, no doubt, be considered
separately.

"Even if the rascal is dead, I do not see what they can do to me.

"On the other hand, my landlord's advice to fly from Barcelona looks
ominous; what if the assassins received their orders from some person
high in authority?

"It is possible that Ricla may have vowed my ruin, but it does not seem
probable to me.

"Would it have been wise to follow the landlord's advice?

"Possibly, but I do not think so; my honour would have suffered, and I
might have been caught and laid up in some horrid dungeon, whereas for a
prison I am comfortable enough here.

"In three or four days the examination of my papers will have been
completed, and as there is nothing in them likely to be offensive to the
powers that be, they will be returned to me with my liberty, which will
taste all the sweeter for this short deprivation.

"As for my passports they all speak in my favour.

"I cannot think that the all-powerful hand of the viceroy could have
directed the assassin's sword; it would be a dishonour to him, and if it
were so, he would not be treating me so kindly now. If it were his doing,
he must have heard directly that the blow had failed, and in that case I
do not think he would have arrested me this morning.

"Shall I write to Nina? Will writing be allowed here?"

As I was puzzling my brains with these reflections, stretched on my bed
(for I had no chair), I heard some disturbance, and on opening my window
I saw, to my great astonishment, Passano being brought into the prison by
a corporal and two soldiers. As he was going in, the rascal looked up and
saw me, and began to laugh.

"Alas!" I said to myself, "here is fresh food for conjecture. The fellow
told Nina's sister that I should be sorry for what I had done. He must
have directed some fearful calumny against me, and they are imprisoning
him so as to be sure of his evidence."

On reflection, I was well pleased at the turn affairs had taken.

An excellent dinner was set before me, but I had no chair or table. The
deficiency was remedied by the soldier who was in charge of me for the
consideration of a duro.

Prisoners were not allowed to have pen and ink without special
permission; but paper and pencils were not included under this
regulation, so my guard got them for me, together with candles and
candlesticks, and I proceeded to kill time by making geometrical
calculations. I made the obliging soldier sup with me, and he promised to
commend me to one of his comrades who would serve me well. The guard was
relieved at eleven.

On the fourth day the officer of the guard came to me with a distressed
look, and told me that he had the disagreeable duty of giving me some
very bad news.

"What is that, sir?"

"I have received orders to transfer you to the bottom of the tower."

"To transfer me?"

"Yes."

"Then they must have discovered in me a criminal of the deepest dye! Let
us go at once."

I found myself in a kind of round cellar, paved with large flagstones,
and lighted by five or six narrow slits in the walls. The officer told me
I must order what food required to be brought once a day, as no one was
allowed to come into the 'calabozo', or dungeon, by night.

"How about lights?"

"You may lave one lamp always burning, and that will be enough, as books
are not allowed. When your dinner is brought, the officer on duty will
open the pies and the poultry to see that they do not contain any
documents; for here no letters are allowed to come in or go out."

"Have these orders been given for my especial benefit?"

"No, sir; it is the ordinary rule. You will be able to converse with the
sentinel."

"The door will be open, then?"

"Not at all."

"How about the cleanliness of my cell?"

"A soldier will accompany the officer in charge of your dinner, and he
will attend to your wants for a trifle."

"May I amuse myself by making architectural plans with the pencil?"

"As much as you like."

"Then will you be good enough to order some paper to be bought for me?"

"With pleasure."

The officer seemed to pity me as he left me, and bolted and barred the
heavy door behind which I saw a man standing sentry with his bayonet
fixed. The door was fitted with a small iron grating.

When I got my paper and my dinner at noonday the officer cut open a fowl,
and plunged a fork in the other dishes so as to make sure that there were
no papers at the bottom.

My dinner would have sufficed for six people. I told the officer that I
should be much honoured by his dining with me, but he replied that it was
strictly forbidden. He gave me the same answer when I asked if I might
have the newspapers.

It was a festival time for the sentinels, as I shared my meals and my
good wine with them; and consequently these poor fellows were firmly
attached to me.

I was curious to know who was paying for my good cheer, but there was no
chance of my finding out, for the waiter from the inn was never allowed
to approach my cell.

In this dungeon, where I was imprisoned for forty-two days, I wrote in
pencil and without other reference than my memory, my refutation of
Amelot de la Houssaye's "History of the Venetian Government."

I was most heartily amused during my imprisonment, and in the following
manner:

While I was at Warsaw an Italian named Tadini came to Warsaw. He had an
introduction to Tomatis who commended him to me. He called himself an
oculist. Tomatis used to give him a dinner now and again, but not being
well off in those days I could only give him good words and a cup of
coffee when he chanced to come about my breakfast-time.

Tadini talked to everybody about the operations he had performed, and
condemned an oculist who had been at Warsaw for twenty years, saying that
he did not understand how to extract a cataract, while the other oculist
said that Tadini was a charlatan who did not know how the eye was made.

Tadini begged me to speak in his favour to a lady who had had a cataract
removed by the Warsaw oculist, only to return again a short time after
the operation.

The lady was blind of the one eye, but she could see with the other, and
I told Tadini that I did not care to meddle with such a delicate matter.

"I have spoken to the lady," said Tadini, "and I have mentioned your name
as a person who will answer for me."

"You have done wrong; in such a matter I would not stand surety for the
most learned of men, and I know nothing about your learning."

"But you know I am an oculist."

"I know you were introduced to me as such, but that's all. As a
professional man, you should not need anyone's commendation, you should
be able to say, 'Operibus credite'. That should be your motto."

Tadini was vexed with my incredulity, and shewed me a number of
testimonials, which I might possibly have read, if the first which met my
eye had not been from a lady who protested to all and singular that M.
Tadini had cured her of amaurosis. At this I laughed in his face and told
him to leave me alone.

A few days after I found myself dining with him at the house of the lady
with the cataract. She had almost made up her mind to submit to the
operation, but as the rascal had mentioned my name, she wanted me to be
present at a dispute between Tadini and the other oculist who came in
with the dessert.

I disposed myself to listen to the arguments of the two rival professors
with considerable pleasure. The Warsaw oculist was a German, but spoke
French very well; however, he attacked Tadini in Latin. The Italian
checked him by saying that their discourse must be conducted in a
language intelligible to the lady, and I agreed with him. It was plain
that Tadini did not know a word of Latin.

The German oculist began by admitting that after the operation for
cataract there was no chance of the disease returning, but that there was
a considerable risk of the crystalline humour evaporating, and the
patient being left in a state of total blindness.

Tadini, instead of denying this statement (which was inaccurate), had the
folly to take a little box out of his pocket. It contained a number of
minute round crystals.

"What's that?" said the old professor.

"A substance which I can place in the cornea to supply the loss of the
crystalline matter."

The German went off into a roar of laughter so long and loud that the
lady could not help laughing. I should have liked to join them, but I was
ashamed to be thought the patron of this ignorant fellow, so I preserved
a gloomy silence.

Tadini no doubt interpreted my silence as a mark of disapproval of the
German's laughter, and thought to better matters by asking me to give my
opinion.

"As you want to hear it," said I, "here it is."

"There's a great difference between a tooth and the crystalline humour;
and though you may have succeeded in putting an artificial tooth into a
gum, this treatment will not do with the eye."

"Sir, I am not a dentist."

"No, nor an oculist either."

At this the ignorant rascal got up and left the room, and it was
decidedly the best thing he could do.

We laughed over this new treatment, and the lady promised to have nothing
more to do with him. The professor was not content to despise his
opponent in silence. He had him cited before the Faculty of Medicine to
be examined on his knowledge of the eye, and procured the insertion of a
satiric article in the news on the new operation for replacing the
crystalline humour, alluding to the wonderful artist then in Warsaw who
could perform this operation as easily as a dentist could put in a false
tooth.

This made Tadini furious, and he set upon the old professor in the street
and forced him to the refuge in a house.

After this he no doubt left the town on foot, for he was seen no more.
Now the reader is in a position to understand my surprise and amusement,
when, one day as I peered through the grating in my dungeon, I saw the
oculist Tadini standing over me with gun in hand. But he at all events
evinced no amusement whatever, while I roared and roared again with
laughter for the two hours his duty lasted.

I gave him a good meal and a sufficiency of my excellent wine, and at the
end a crown, promising that he should have the same treatment every time
he returned to the post. But I only saw him four times, as the guard at
my cell was a position eagerly coveted and intrigued for by the other
soldiers.

He amused me by the story of his misadventures since he had left Warsaw.
He had travelled far and wide without making a fortune, and at last
arrived in Barcelona, where he failed to meet with any courtesy or
consideration. He had no introduction, no diploma; he had refused to
submit to an examination in the Latin tongue, because (as he said) there
was no connection between the learned languages and the diseases of the
eye; and the result was that, instead of the common fate of being ordered
to leave the country, he was made into a soldier. He told me in
confidence that he intended to desert, but he said he should take care to
avoid the galleys.

"What have you done with your crystals?"

"I have renounced them since I left Warsaw, though I am sure they would
succeed."

I never heard of him again.

On December 28th, six weeks after my arrest, the officer of the guard
came to my cell and told me to dress and follow him.

"Where are we going?"

"I am about to deliver you to an officer of the viceroy, who is waiting."

I dressed hastily, and after placing all my belongings in a portmanteau I
followed him. We went to the guardroom, and there I was placed under the
charge of the officer who had arrested me, who took me to the palace.
There a Government official shewed me my trunk, telling me that I should
find all my papers intact; and he then returned me my three passports,
with the remark that they were genuine documents.

"I knew that all along."

"I suppose so, but we had reasons for doubting their authenticity."

"They must have been strange reasons, for, as you now confess, these
reasons were devoid of reason."

"You must be aware that I cannot reply to such an objection."

"I don't ask you to do so."

"Your character is perfectly clear; all the same I must request you to
leave Barcelona in three days, and Catalonia in a week."

"Of course I will obey; but it strikes me that the Catalonian method of
repairing injustice is somewhat peculiar."

"If you think you have ground for complaint you are at liberty to go to
Madrid and complain to the Court."

"I have certainly grounds enough for complaint, sir, but I shall go to
France, and not to Madrid; I have had enough of Spanish justice. Will you
please give me the order to leave in writing?"

"That's unnecessary; you may take it for granted. My name is Emmanuel
Badillo; I am a secretary of state. That gentleman will escort you back
to the room where you were arrested. You will find everything just as you
have left it. You are a free man. To-morrow I will send you your
passport, signed by the viceroy and myself. Good day, sir."

Accompanied by the officer and a servant bearing my portmanteau, I
proceeded to my old inn.

On my way I saw a theatrical poster, and decided to go to the opera. The
good landlord was delighted to see me again, and hastened to light me a
fire, for a bitterly cold north wind was blowing. He assured me that no
one but himself had been in my room, and in the officer's presence he
gave me back my sword, my great coat, and, to my astonishment, the hat I
had dropped in my flight from the assassins.

The officer asked me if I had any complaints to make, and I replied that
I had none.

"I should like to hear you say that I had done nothing but my duty, and
that personally I have not done you any injury."

I shook his hand, and assured him of my esteem.

"Farewell, sir," said he, "I hope you will have a pleasant journey." I
told my landlord that I would dine at noon, and that I trusted to him to
celebrate my liberation in a fitting manner, and then I went to the post
office to see if there were any letters for me. I found five or six
letters, with the seals intact, much to my astonishment. What is one to
make of a Government which deprives a man of his liberty on some trifling
pretext, and, though seizing all his papers, respects the privacy of his
letters? But Spain, as I have remarked, is peculiar in every way. These
letters were from Paris, Venice, Warsaw, and Madrid, and I have never had
any reason to believe that any other letters had come for me during my
imprisonment.

I went back to my inn, and asked my landlord to bring the bill.

"You do not owe me anything, sir. Here is your bill for the period
preceding your imprisonment, and, as you see, it has been settled. I also
received orders from the same source to provide for you during your
imprisonment, and as long as you stayed at Barcelona."

"Did you know how long I should remain in prison?"

"No, I was paid by the week."

"Who paid you?"

"You know very well."

"Have you had any note for me?"

"Nothing at all."

"What has become of the valet de place?"

"I paid him, and sent him away immediately after your arrest."

"I should like to have him with me as far as Perpignan."

"You are right, and I think the best thing you can do is to leave Spain
altogether, for you will find no justice in it."

"What do they say about my assassination?"

"Why, they say you fired the shot that people heard yourself, and that
you made your own sword bloody, for no one was found there, either dead
or wounded."

"That's an amusing theory. Where did my hat come from?"

"It was brought to me three days after."

"What a confusion! But was it known that I was imprisoned in the tower?"

"Everybody knew it, and two good reasons were given, the one in public,
and the other in private."

"What are these reasons?"

"The public reason was that you had forged your passports; the private
one, which was only whispered at the ear, was that you spent all your
nights with Nina."

"You might have sworn that I never slept out of your inn."

"I told everyone as much, but no matter; you did go to her house, and for
a certain nobleman that's a crime. I am glad you did not fly as I advised
you, for as it is your character is cleared before everybody."

"I should like to go to the opera this evening; take me a box."

"It shall be done; but do not have anything more to do with Nina, I
entreat you."

"No, my good friend, I have made up my mind to see her no more."

Just as I was sitting down to dinner, a banker's clerk brought me a
letter which pleased me very much. It contained the bills of exchange I
had drawn in Genoa, in favour of M. Augustin Grimaldi. He now sent them
back, with these words:

"Passano has been vainly endeavouring to persuade me to send these bills
to Barcelona, so that they may be protested, and you arrested. I now send
them to you to convince you that I am not one of those who delight in
trampling down the victims of bad fortune.

"--Genoa, November 30th, 1768."

For the fourth time a Genoese had behaved most generously to me. I was
almost persuaded that I ought to forgive the infamous Passano for the
sake of his four excellent fellow-countrymen.

But this virtue was a little beyond me. I concluded that the best thing I
could do would be to rid the Genoese name of the opprobrium which this
rascal was always bringing on it, but I could never find an opportunity.
Some years after I heard that the wretch died in miserable poverty in
Genoa.

I was curious at the time to know what had become of him, as it was
important for me to be on my guard. I confided my curiosity to my
landlord, and he instructed one of the servants to make enquiries. I only
heard the following circumstance:

Ascanio Pogomas, or Passano, had been released at the end of November,
and had then been embarked on a felucca bound for Toulon.

The same day I wrote a long and grateful letter to M. Grimaldi. I had
indeed reason to be grateful, for if he had listened to my enemy he might
have reduced me to a state of dreadful misery.

My landlord had taken the box at the opera in my name, and two hours
afterwards, to everyone's great astonishment, the posters announcing the
plays of the evening were covered by bills informing the public that two
of the performers had been taken ill, that the play would not be given,
and the theatre closed till the second day of the new year.

This order undoubtedly came from the viceroy, and everybody knew the
reason.

I was sorry to have deprived the people of Barcelona of the only
amusement they had in the evening, and resolved to stay indoors, thinking
that would be the most dignified course I could adopt.

Petrarch says,--

'Amor che fa gentile un cor villano'.

If he had known the lover of Nina he would have changed the line into

'Amor che fa villan un cor gentile'.

In four months I shall be able to throw some more light on this strange
business.

I should have left Barcelona the same day, but a slight tinge of
superstition made me desire to leave on the last day of the unhappy year
I had spent in Spain. I therefore spent my three days of grace in writing
letters to all my friends.

Don Miguel de Cevallos, Don Diego de la Secada, and the Comte de la
Peralada came to see me, but separately. Don Diego de la Secada was the
uncle of the Countess A---- B---- whom I had met at Milan. These gentlemen
told me a tale as strange as any of the circumstances which had happened
to me at Barcelona.

On the 26th of December the Abbe Marquisio, the envoy of the Duke of
Modena, asked the viceroy, before a considerable number of people, if he
could pay me a visit, to give me a letter which he could place in no
hands but mine. If not he said he should be obliged to take the letter to
Madrid, for which town he was obliged to set out the next day.

The count made no answer, to everyone's astonishment, and the abbe left
for Madrid the next day, the eve of my being set at liberty.

I wrote to the abbe, who was unknown to me, but I never succeeded in
finding out the truth about this letter.

There could be no doubt that I had been arrested by the despotic viceroy,
who had been persuaded by Nina that I was her favoured lover. The
question of my passports must have been a mere pretext, for eight or ten
days would have sufficed to send them to Madrid and have them back again
if their authenticity had been doubted. Possibly Passano might have told
the viceroy that any passports of mine were bound to be false, as I
should have had to obtain the signature of my own ambassador. This, he
might have said, was out of the question as I was in disgrace with the
Venetian Government. As a matter of fact, he was mistaken if he really
said so, but the mistake would have been an excusable one.

When I made up my mind at the end of August to leave Madrid, I asked the
Count of Aranda for a passport. He replied that I must first obtain one
from my ambassador, who, he added, could not refuse to do me this
service.

Fortified with this opinion I called at the embassy. M. Querini was at
San Ildefonso at the time, and I told the porter that I wanted to speak
to the secretary of embassy.

The servant sent in my name, and the fop gave himself airs, and pretended
that he could not receive me. In my indignation I wrote to him saying
that I had not called to pay my court to the secretary, but to demand a
passport which was my right. I gave my name and my degree (doctor of
law), and begged him to leave the passport with the porter, as I should
call for it on the following day.

I presented myself accordingly, and the porter told me that the
ambassador had left verbal orders that I was not to have a passport.

I wrote immediately to the Marquis Grimaldi and to the Duke of Lossada,
begging them to request the ambassador to send me a passport in the usual
form, or else I should publish the shameful reasons for which his uncle
Mocenigo had disgraced me.

I do not know whether these gentlemen shewed my letters to Querini, but I
do know that the secretary Oliviera sent me my passport.

Thereupon the Count Aranda furnished me with a passport signed by the
king.

On the last day of the year I left Barcelona with a servant who sat
behind my chaise, and I agreed with my driver to take me to Perpignan by
January 3rd, 1769.

The driver was a Piedmontese and a worthy man: The next day he came into
the room of the wayside inn where I was dining, and in the presence of my
man asked me whether I had any suspicion that I was being followed.

"Well, I may be," I said, "but what makes you ask that question?"

"As you were leaving Barcelona yesterday, I noticed three ill-looking
fellows watching us, armed to the teeth. Last night they slept in the
stable with my mules. They dined here to-day, and they went on three
quarters of an hour ago. They don't speak to anyone, and I don't like the
looks of them."

"What shall we do to avoid assassination, or the dread of it?"

"We must start late, and stop at an inn I know of, a league this side of
the ordinary stage where they will be awaiting us. If they turn back, and
sleep at the same inn as ourselves, we shall be certain."

I thought the idea a sensible one, and we started, I going on foot nearly
the whole way; and at five o'clock we halted at a wretched inn, but we
saw no signs of the sinister trio.

At eight o'clock I was at supper, when my man came in and told me that
the three fellows had come back, and were drinking with our driver in the
stable.

My hair stood on end. There could be no more doubt about the matter.

At present, it was true, I had nothing to fear; but it would be getting
dark when we arrived at the frontier, and then my peril would come.

I told my servant to shew no sign, but to ask the driver to come and
speak with me when the assassins were asleep.

He came at ten o'clock, and told me plainly that we should be all
murdered as we approached the French frontier.

"Then you have been drinking with them?"

"Yes, and after we had dispatched a bottle at my expense, one of them
asked me why I had not gone on to the end of the stage, where you would
be better lodged. I replied that it was late, and you were cold. I might
have asked in my turn, why they had not stayed at the stage themselves,
and where they were going, but I took care to do nothing of the kind. All
I asked was whether the road to Perpignan was a good one, and they told
me it was excellent all the way."

"What are they doing now?"

"They are sleeping by my mules, covered with their cloaks."

"What shall we do?"

"We will start at day-break after them, of course, and we shall dine at
the usual stage; but after dinner, trust me, we will take a different
road, and at midnight we shall be in France safe and sound."

If I could have procured a good armed escort I would not have taken his
advice, but in the situation I was in I had no choice.

We found the three scoundrels in the place where the driver had told me
we should see them. I gave them a searching glance, and thought they
looked like true Sicarii, ready to kill anyone for a little money.

They started in a quarter of an hour, and half an hour later we set out,
with a peasant to guide us, and so struck into a cross road. The mules
went at a sharp pace, and in seven hours we had done eleven leagues. At
ten o'clock we stopped at an inn in a French village, and we had no more
to fear. I gave our guide a doubloon, with which he was well pleased, and
I enjoyed once more a peaceful night in a French bed, for nowhere will
you find such soft beds or such delicious wines as in the good land of
France.

The next day I arrived at the posting-inn at Perpignan in time for
dinner. I endeavoured in vain to think who could have paid my assassins,
but the reader will see the explanation when we get twenty days farther.

At Perpignan I dismissed my driver and my servant, rewarding them
according to my ability. I wrote to my brother at Paris, telling him I
had had a fortunate escape from the dagger of the assassin. I begged him
to direct his answer to Aix, where I intended to spend a fortnight, in
the hope of seeing the Marquis d'Argens. I left Perpignan the day after
my arrival, and slept at Narbonne, and the day after at Beziers.

The distance from Narbonne to Beziers is only five leagues, and I had not
intended to stop; but the good cheer which the kindest of landladies gave
me at dinner made me stop with her to supper.

Beziers is a town which looks pleasant even at the worst time of the
year. A philosopher who wished to renounce all the vanities of the world,
and an Epicurean who would enjoy good cheer cheaply, could find no better
retreat than Beziers.

Everybody at Beziers is intelligent, all the women are pretty, and the
cooks are all artists; the wines are exquisite--what more could one
desire! May its riches never prove its ruin!

When I reached Montpellier, I got down at the "White Horse," with the
intention of spending a week there. In the evening I supped at the table
d'hote, where I found a numerous company, and I saw to my amusement that
for every guest there was a separate dish brought to table.

Nowhere is there better fare than at Montpellier. 'Tis a veritable land
of Cocagne!

The next day I breakfasted at the cafe (an institution peculiar to
France, the only country where the science of living is really
understood), and addressed the first gentleman I met, telling him that I
was a stranger and that I would like to know some of the professors. He
immediately offered to take me to one of the professors who enjoyed a
great reputation.

Herein may be seen another of the good qualities of the French, who rank
above other nations by so many titles. To a Frenchman a foreigner is a
sacred being; he receives the best of hospitality, not merely in form,
but in deed; and his welcome is given with that easy grace which so soon
sets a stranger at his ease.

My new friend introduced me to the professor, who received me with all
the polished courtesy of the French man of letters. He that loves letters
should love all other lovers of letters, and in France that is the case,
even more so than Italy. In Germany the literary man has an air of
mysterious reserve. He thinks he is proclaiming to all the world that he
at all events is a man of no pretension, whereas his pride peeps through
every moment. Naturally the stranger is not encouraged by such a manner
as this.

At the time of my visit there was an excellent company of actors at
Montpellier, whom I went to see the same evening. My bosom swelled at
finding myself in the blessed air of France after all the annoyances I
had gone through in Spain. I seemed to have become young again; but I was
altered, for several beautiful and clever actresses appeared on the stage
without arousing any desires within me; and I would have it so.

I had a lively desire to find Madame Castelbajac, not with any wish to
renew my old relations with her. I wished to congratulate her on her
improved position, but I was afraid of compromising her by asking for her
in the town.

I knew that her husband was an apothecary, so I resolved to make the
acquaintance of all the apothecaries in the place. I pretended to be in
want of some very rare drugs, and entered into conversation about the
differences between the trade in France and in foreign countries. If I
spoke to the master I hoped he would talk to his wife about the stranger
who had visited the countries where she had been, and that that would
make her curious to know me. If, on the other hand, I spoke to the man, I
knew he would soon tell me all he knew about his master's family.

On the third day my stratagem succeeded. My old friend wrote me a note,
telling me that she had seen me speaking to her husband in his shop. She
begged me to come again at a certain time, and to tell her husband that I
had known her under the name of Mdlle. Blasin in England, Spa, Leipzig,
and Vienna, as a seller of lace. She ended her note with these words:

"I have no doubt that my husband will finally introduce you to me as his
wife."

I followed her advice, and the good man asked me if I had ever known a
young lace seller of the name of Mdlle. Blasin, of Montpellier.

"Yes, I remember her well enough--a delightful and most respectable young
woman; but I did not know she came from Montpellier. She was very pretty
and very sensible, and I expect she did a good business. I have seen her
in several European cities, and the last time at Vienna, where I was able
to be of some slight service to her. Her admirable behaviour won her the
esteem of all the ladies with whom she came in contact. In England I met
her at the house of a duchess."

"Do you think you would recognize her if you saw her again?"

"By Jove! I should think so! But is she at Montpellier? If so, tell her
that the Chevalier de Seingalt is here."

"Sir, you shall speak to her yourself, if you will do me the honour to
follow me."

My heart leapt, but I restrained myself. The worthy apothecary went
through the shop, climbed a stair, and, opening a door on the first
floor, said to me,--

"There she is."

"What, mademoiselle! You here? I am delighted to see you."

"This is not a young lady, sir, 'tis my dear wife; but I hope that will
not hinder you from embracing her."

"I have never had such an honour; but I will avail myself of your
permission with pleasure. Then you have got married at Montpellier. I
congratulate both of you, and wish you all health and happiness. Tell me,
did you have a pleasant journey from Vienna to Lyons?"

Madame Blasin (for so I must continue to designate her) answered my
question according to her fancy, and found me as good an actor as she was
an actress.

We were very glad to see each other again, but the apothecary was
delighted at the great respect with which I treated his wife.

For a whole hour we carried on a conversation of a perfectly imaginary
character, and with all the simplicity of perfect truth.

She asked me if I thought of spending the carnival at Montpellier, and
seemed quite mortified when I said that I thought of going on the next
day.

Her husband hastened to say that that was quite out of the question.

"Oh, I hope you won't go," she added, "you must do my husband the honour
of dining with us."

After the husband had pressed me for some time I gave in, and accepted
their invitation to dinner for the day after next.

Instead of stopping two days I stopped four. I was much pleased with the
husband's mother, who was advanced in years but extremely intelligent.
She had evidently made a point of forgetting everything unpleasant in the
past history of her son's wife.

Madame Blasin told me in private that she was perfectly happy, and I had
every reason to believe that she was speaking the truth. She had made a
rule to be most precise in fulfilling her wifely duties, and rarely went
out unless accompanied by her husband or her mother-in-law.

I spent these four days in the enjoyment of pure and innocent friendship
without there being the slightest desire on either side to renew our
guilty pleasures.

On the third day after I had dined with her and her husband, she told me,
while we were alone for a moment, that if I wanted fifty louis she knew
where to get them for me. I told her to keep them for another time, if I
was so happy as to see her again, and so unhappy as to be in want.

I left Montpellier feeling certain that my visit had increased the esteem
in which her husband and her mother-in-law held her, and I congratulated
myself on my ability to be happy without committing any sins.

The day after I had bade them farewell, I slept at Nimes, where I spent
three days in the company of a naturalist: M. de Seguier, the friend of
the Marquis Maffei of Verona. In his cabinet of natural history I saw and
admired the immensity and infinity of the Creator's handiwork.

Nimes is a town well worthy of the stranger's observation; it provides
food for the mind, and the fair sex, which is really fair there, should
give the heart the food it likes best.

I was asked to a ball, where, as a foreigner, I took first place--a
privilege peculiar to France, for in England, and still more in Spain, a
foreigner means an enemy.

On leaving Nimes I resolved to spend the carnival at Aix, where the
nobility is of the most distinguished character. I believe I lodged at
the "Three Dolphins," where I found a Spanish cardinal on his way to Rome
to elect a successor to Pope Rezzonico.



CHAPTER IX

My Stay at Aix; I Fall Ill--I am Cared for By an Unknown Lady--The
Marquis d'Argens--Cagliostro

My room was only separated from his Castilian eminence's by a light
partition, and I could hear him quite plainly reprimanding his chief
servant for being too economical.

"My lord, I do my best, but it is really impossible to spend more, unless
I compel the inn-keepers to take double the amount of their bills; and
your eminence will admit that nothing in the way of rich and expensive
dishes has been spared."

"That may be, but you ought to use your wits a little; you might for
example order meals when we shall not require any. Take care that there
are always three tables--one for us, one for my officers, and the third
for the servants. Why I see that you only give the postillions a franc
over the legal charge, I really blush for you; you must give them a crown
extra at least. When they give you change for a louis, leave it on the
table; to put back one's change in one's pocket is an action only worthy
of a beggar. They will be saying at Versailles and Madrid, and maybe at
Rome itself, that the Cardinal de la Cerda is a miser. I am no such
thing, and I do not want to be thought one. You must really cease to
dishonour me, or leave my service."

A year before this speech would have astonished me beyond measure, but
now I was not surprised, for I had acquired some knowledge of Spanish
manners. I might admire the Senor de la Cerda's prodigality, but I could
not help deploring such ostentation on the part of a Prince of the Church
about to participate in such a solemn function.

What I had heard him say made me curious to see him, and I kept on the
watch for the moment of his departure. What a man! He was not only ill
made, short and sun-burnt; but his face was so ugly and so low that I
concluded that AEsop himself must have been a little Love beside his
eminence. I understood now why he was so profuse in his generosity and
decorations, for otherwise he might well have been taken for a stableboy.
If the conclave took the eccentric whim of making him pope, Christ would
never have an uglier vicar.

I enquired about the Marquis d'Argens soon after the departure of his
eminence, and was told that he was in the country with his brother, the
Marquis d'Eguille, President of the Parliament, so I went there.

This marquis, famous for his friendship for Frederick II. rather than for
his writings (which are no longer read), was an old man when I saw him.
He was a worthy man, fond of pleasure, a thorough-paced Epicurean, and
had married an actress named Cochois, who had proved worthy of the honour
he had laid on her. He was deeply learned and had a thorough knowledge of
Latin, Greek, and Hebrew literature. His memory was prodigious.

He received me very well, and recalled what his friend the marshal had
written about me. He introduced me to his wife and to his brother, a
distinguished jurist, a man of letters, and a strictly moral man by
temperament as much as religion. Though a highly intellectual man, he was
deeply and sincerely religious.

He was very fond of his brother, and grieved for his irreligion, but
hoped that grace would eventually bring him back to the fold of the
Church. His brother encouraged him in his hopes, while laughing at them
in private, but as they were both sensible men they never discussed
religion together.

I was introduced to a numerous company of both sexes, chiefly consisting
of relations. All were amiable and highly polished, like all the
Provencal nobility.

Plays were performed on the miniature stage, good cheer prevailed, and at
intervals we walked in the garden, in spite of the weather. In Province,
however, the winter is only severe when the wind blows from the north,
which unfortunately often happens.

Among the company were a Berlin lady (widow of the marquis's nephew) and
her brother. This young gentleman, who was gay and free from care,
enjoyed all the pleasures of the house without paying any attention to
the religious services which were held every day. If he thought on the
matter at all, he was a heretic; and when the Jesuit chaplain was saying
mass he amused himself by playing on the flute; he laughed at everything.
He was unlike his sister, who had not only become a Catholic, but was a
very devout one. She was only twenty-two.

Her brother told me that her husband, who had died of consumption, and
whose mind was perfectly clear to the last, as is usually the case in
phthisis, had told her that he could not entertain any hopes of seeing
her in the other world unless she became a Catholic.

These words were engraved on her heart; she had adored her husband, and
she resolved to leave Berlin to live with his relations. No one ventured
to oppose this design, her brother accompanying her, and she was welcomed
joyfully by all her husband's kinsfolk.

This budding saint was decidedly plain.

Her brother, finding me less strict than the others, soon constituted
himself my friend. He came over to Aix every day, and took me to the
houses of all the best people.

We were at least thirty at table every day, the dishes were delicate
without undue profusion, the conversation gay and animated without any
improprieties. I noticed that whenever the Marquis d'Argens chanced to
let slip any equivocal expressions, all the ladies made wry faces, and
the chaplain hastened to turn the conversation. This chaplain had nothing
jesuitical in his appearance; he dressed in the costume of an ordinary
priest, and I should never had known him if the Marquis d'Argens had not
warned me. However, I did not allow his presence to act as a wet blanket.

I told, in the most decent manner possible, the story of the picture of
the Virgin suckling her Divine Child, and how the Spaniards deserted the
chapel after a stupid priest had covered the beautiful breast with a
kerchief. I do not know how it was, but all the ladies began to laugh.
The disciple of Loyola was so displeased at their mirth, that he took
upon himself to tell me that it was unbecoming to tell such equivocal
stories in public. I thanked him by an inclination of the head, and the
Marquis d'Argens, by way of turning the conversation, asked me what was
the Italian for a splendid dish of stewed veal, which Madame d'Argens was
helping.

"Una crostata," I replied, "but I really do not know the Italian for the
'beatilles' with which it is stuffed."

These 'beatilles' were balls of rice, veal, champignons, artichoke, foie
gras, etc.

The Jesuit declared that in calling them 'beatilles' I was making a mock
of the glories of hereafter.

I could not help roaring with laughter at this, and the Marquis d'Eguille
took my part, and said that 'beatilles' was the proper French for these
balls.

After this daring difference of opinion with his director, the worthy man
thought it would be best to talk of something else. Unhappily, however,
he fell out of the frying-pan into the fire by asking me my opinion as to
the election of the next pope.

"I believe it will be Ganganelli," I replied, "as he is the only monk in
the conclave."

"Why should it be necessary to choose a monk?"

"Because none but a monk would dare to commit the excess which the
Spaniards will demand of the new pope."

"You mean the suppression of the Jesuits."

"Exactly."

"They will never obtain such a demand."

"I hope not, for the Jesuits were my masters, and I love them
accordingly. But all the same Ganganelli will be elected, for an amusing
and yet a weighty reason."

"Tell us the reason."

"He is the only cardinal who does not wear a wig; and you must consider
that since the foundation of the Holy See the Pope has never been
bewigged."

This reason created a great deal of amusement; but the conversation was
brought back to the suppression of the Jesuits, and when I told the
company that I had heard from the Abbe Pinzi I saw the Jesuit turn pale.

"The Pope could never suppress the order," he said.

"It seems that you have never been at a Jesuit seminary," I replied, "for
the dogma of the order is that the Pope can do everything, 'et aliquid
pluris'."

This answer made everybody suppose me to be unaware that I was speaking
to a Jesuit, and as he gave me no answer the topic was abandoned.

After dinner I was asked to stay and see 'Polieucte' played; but I
excused myself, and returned to Aix with the young Berliner, who told me
the story of his sister, and made me acquainted with the character of the
society to which the Marquis d'Eguille was chiefly addicted. I felt that
I could never adapt myself to their prejudices, and if it had not been
for my young friend, who introduced me to some charming people, I should
have gone on to Marseilles.

What with assemblies, balls, suppers, and the society of the handsome
Provenqal ladies, I managed to spend the whole of the carnival and a part
of Lent at Aix.

I had made a present of a copy of the "Iliad" to the learned Marquis
d'Argens; to his daughter, who was also a good scholar, I gave a Latin
tragedy.

The "Iliad" had Porphyry's comment; it was a copy of a rare edition, and
was richly bound.

As the marquis came to Aix to thank me, I had to pay another visit to the
country house.

In the evening I drove back in an open carriage. I had no cloak, and a
cold north wind was blowing; I was perishing with cold, but instead of
going to bed at once I accompanied the Berliner to the house of a woman
who had a daughter of the utmost beauty. Though the girl was only
fourteen, she had all the indications of the marriageable age, and yet
none of the Provencal amateurs had succeeded in making her see daylight.
My friend had already made several unsuccessful efforts. I laughed at
him, as I knew it was all a cheat, and I followed him to the house with
the idea of making the young imposter dismount from her high horse, as I
had done in similar cases in England and Metz.

We set to work; and, far from resisting, the girl said she would be only
too glad to get rid of the troublesome burden.

I saw that the difficulty only proceeded from the way she held herself,
and I ought to have whipped her, as I had done in Venice twenty-five
years ago, but I was foolish enough to try to take the citadel by storm.
But my age of miracles was gone.

I wearied myself to no purpose for a couple of hours, and then went to my
inn, leaving the young Prussian to do his best.

I went to bed with a pain in my side, and after six hours' sleep awoke
feeling thoroughly ill. I had pleurisy. My landlord called in an old
doctor, who refused to let me blood. A severe cough came on, and the next
day I began to spit blood. In six or seven days the malady became so
serious that I was confessed and received the last sacraments.

On the tenth day, the disease having abated for three days, my clever old
doctor answered for my life, but I continued to spit blood till the
eighteenth day.

My convalescence lasted for three weeks, and I found it more trying than
the actual illness, for a man in pain has no time to grow weary.
Throughout the whole case I was tended day and night by a strange woman,
of whom I knew nothing. She nursed me with the tenderest care, and I
awaited my recovery to give her my sincere thanks.

She was not an old woman, neither was she attractive looking. She had
slept in my room all the time. After Eastertide, feeling I was well
enough to venture out, I thanked her to the best of my ability, and asked
who had sent her to me. She told me it was the doctor, and so bade me
farewell.

A few days later I was thanking my old doctor for having procured me such
a capital nurse, but he stared at me and said he knew nothing about the
woman.

I was puzzled, and asked my landlord if she could throw any light on the
strange nurse's identity; but she knew nothing, and her ignorance seemed
universal. I could not discover whence or how she came to attend me.

After my convalescence I took care to get all the letters which had been
awaiting me, and amongst them was a letter from my brother in Paris, in
answer to the epistle I wrote him from Perpignan. He acknowledged my
letter, and told me how delighted he had been to receive it, after
hearing the dreadful news that I had been assassinated on the borders of
Catalonia at the beginning of January.

"The person who gave me the news," my brother added, "was one of your
best friends, Count Manucci, an attache at the Venetian embassy. He said
there could be no doubt as to the truth of the report."

This letter was like a flash of lightning to me. This friend of mine had
pushed his vengeance so far as to pay assassins to deprive me of my life.

Manucci had gone a little too far.

He must have been pretty well qualified to prophesy, as he was so certain
of my death. He might have known that in thus proclaiming in advance the
manner of my death, he was also proclaiming himself as my murderer.

I met him at Rome, two years later, and when I would have made him
confess his guilt, he denied everything, saying he had received the news
from Barcelona; however, we will speak of this in its proper place.

I dined and supped every day at the table d'hote, and one day I heard the
company talking of a male and female pilgrim who had recently arrived.
They were Italians, and were returning from St. James of Compostella.
They were said to be high-born folks, as they had distributed large alms
on their entry into the town.

It was said that the female pilgrim, who had gone to bed on her arrival,
was charming. They were staying at the same inn as I was, and we all got
very curious about them.

As an Italian, I put myself at the head of the band who proceeded to call
on the pilgrims, who, in my opinion, must either be fanatics or rogues.

We found the lady sitting in an arm-chair, looking very tired. She was
young, beautiful, and melancholy-looking, and in her hands she held a
brass crucifix some six inches long. She laid it down when we came in,
and got up and received us most graciously. Her companion, who was
arranging cockle-shells on his black mantle, did not stir; he seemed to
say, by glancing at his wife, that we must confine our attentions to her.
He seemed a man of twenty-four or twenty-five years of age. He was short
and badly hung, and his face bore all the indications of daring,
impudence, sarcasm, and imposture. His wife, on the other hand, was all
meekness and simplicity, and had that modesty which adds so much to the
charm of feminine beauty. They only spoke just enough French to make
themselves understood on their journey, and when they heard me addressing
them in Italian they seemed much relieved.

The lady told me she was a Roman, but I could have guessed as much from
her accent. I judged the man to be a Neapolitan or Sicilian. Their
passport, dated Rome, called him Balsamo, while she bore the names of
Serafina Feliciani, which she still retains. Ten years later we shall
hear more of this couple under the name of Cagliostro.

"We are going back to Rome," said she, "well pleased with our devotions
to St. James of Compostella and to Our Lady del Pilar. We have walked the
whole way on foot, living on alms, so as to more surely win the mercy of
the God whom I have offended so grievously. We have had silver, and even
gold money given us, and in every town we came to we gave what remained
to the poor, so as not to offend God by lack of faith.

"My husband is strong, and has not suffered much, but I have found so
much walking very fatiguing. We have slept on straw or bad beds, always
with our clothes on, to avoid contracting diseases it would be hard to
rid one's self of."

It seemed to me that this last circumstance was added to make us wish to
find out whether the rest of her body could compare with her hands and
arms in whiteness.

"Do you think of making any stay?"

"My weariness will oblige us to stay here for three days; then we shall
go to Rome by the way of Turin, where we shall pay our devotion to the
Holy Sudary."

"You know, of course, that there are several of them in Europe."

"So we have heard, but we are assured that the Sudary of Turin is the
true one. It is the kerchief with which St. Veronica wiped the face of
Our Lord, who left the imprint of His divine face upon it."

We left them, well pleased with the appearance and manners of the lady
pilgrim, but placing very little trust in her devotion. I was still weak
from my illness, and she inspired me with no desires, but the rest would
have gladly supped with her if they had thought there was anything to
follow.

Next day her husband asked me if I would come up and breakfast with them,
or if they should come down and breakfast with me. It would have been
impolite to have replied neither, so I said that I should be delighted to
see them in my room.

At breakfast I asked the pilgrim what he did, and he replied that he was
an artist.

He could not design a picture, but he could copy it, and he assured me
that he could copy an engraving so exactly that none could tell the copy
from the original.

"I congratulate you. If you are not a rich man, you are, at least,
certain of earning a living with this talent."

"Everybody says the same, but it is a mistake. I have pursued this craft
at Rome and at Naples, and found I had to work all day to make half a
tester, and that's not enough to live on."

He then shewed me some fans he had done, and I thought them most
beautiful. They were done in pen and ink, and the finest copper-plate
could not have surpassed them.

Next he showed me a copy from a Rembrandt, which if anything, was finer
than the original. In spite of all he swore that the work he got barely
supported him, but I did not believe what he said. He was a weak genius
who preferred a vagabond life to methodical labour.

I offered a Louis for one of his fans, but he refused to take it, begging
me to accept the fan as a gift, and to make a collection for him at the
table d'hote, as he wanted to start the day after next.

I accepted the present and promised to do as he desired, and succeeded in
making up a purse of two hundred francs for them.

The woman had the most virtuous air. She was asked to write her name on a
lottery ticket, but refused, saying that no honest girls were taught to
write at Rome.

Everybody laughed at this excuse except myself, and I pitied her, as I
could see that she was of very low origin.

Next day she came and asked me to give her a letter of introduction for
Avignon. I wrote her out two; one to M. Audifret the banker, and the
other to the landlady of the inn. In the evening she returned me the
letter to the banker, saying that it was not necessary for their
purposes. At the same time she asked me to examine the letter closely, to
see if it was really the same document I had given her. I did so, and
said I was sure it was my letter.

She laughed, and told me I was mistaken as it was only a copy.

"Impossible!"

She called her husband, who came with the letter in his hand.

I could doubt no longer, and said to him,--

"You are a man of talents, for it is much harder to imitate a handwriting
than an engraving. You ought to make this talent serve you in good stead;
but be careful, or it may cost you your life."

The next day the couple left Aix. In ten years I saw them again under the
name of Count and Countess Pellegrini.

At the present period he is in a prison which he will probably never
leave, and his wife is happy, maybe, in a convent.



CHAPTER X

My Departure--Letter from Henriette--Marsellies--History of
Nina--Nice--Turin--Lugano--Madame De****

As soon as I had regained my usual strength, I went to take leave of the
Marquis d'Argens and his brother. I dined with them, pretending not to
observe the presence of the Jesuit, and I then spent three delightful
hours in conversation with the learned and amiable Marquis d'Argens. He
told me a number of interesting anecdotes about the private life of
Frederick II. No doubt the reader would like to have them, but I lack the
energy to set them down. Perhaps some other day when the mists about Dux
have dispersed, and some rays of the sun shine in upon me, I shall commit
all these anecdotes to paper, but now I have not the courage to do so.

Frederick had his good and his bad qualities, like all great men, but
when every deduction on the score of his failings has been made, he still
remains the noblest figure in the eighteenth century.

The King of Sweden, who has been assassinated, loved to excite hatred
that he might have the glory of defying it to do its worst. He was a
despot at heart, and he came to a despot's end. He might have foreseen a
violent death, for throughout his life he was always provoking men to the
point of despair. There can be no comparison between him and Frederick.

The Marquis d'Argens made me a present of all his works, and on my asking
him if I could congratulate myself on possessing the whole number, he
said yes, with the exception of a fragment of autobiography which he had
written in his youth, and which he had afterwards suppressed.

"Why so?" I asked.

"Because I was foolish enough to write the truth. Never give way to this
temptation, if it assails you. If you once begin on this plan you are not
only compelled to record all your vices and follies, but to treat them in
the severe tone of a philosophical historian. You must not, of course,
omit the good you may have done; and so praise and blame is mingled on
every page. All the evil you say of yourself will be held for gospel,
your peccadilloes will be made into crimes, and your good deeds will not
only be received with incredulity, but you will be taxed with pride and
vanity for having recorded them. Besides, if you write your memoirs, you
make an enemy in every chapter if you once begin to tell the truth. A man
should neither talk of himself nor write of himself, unless it be to
refute some calumny or libel."

I was convinced, and promised never to be guilty of such a folly, but in
spite of that I have been writing memoirs for the last seven years, and
though I repent of having begun, I have sworn to go on to the end.
However, I write in the hope that my Memoirs may never see the light of
day; in the first place the censure would not allow them to be printed,
and in the second I hope I shall be strong-minded enough, when my last
illness comes, to have all my papers burnt before my eyes. If that be not
the case I count on the indulgence of my readers, who should remember
that I have only written my story to prevent my going mad in the midst of
all the petty insults and disagreeables which I have to bear day by day
from the envious rascals who live with me in this castle of Count
Waldstein, or Wallenstein, at Dux.

I write ten or twelve hours a day, and so keep black melancholy at bay.
My readers shall hear more of my sufferings later on, if I do not die
before I write them down.

The day after Corpus Christi I left Aix for Marseilles. But here I must
set down a circumstance that I had forgotten; I mean the procession of
Corpus Christi.

Everyone knows that this festival is celebrated with great ceremony all
over Christendom; but at Aix these ceremonies are of such a nature that
every man of sense must be shocked at my recital.

It is well known that this procession in honour of the Being of beings,
represented under the sacramental forms, is followed by all the religious
confraternities, and this is duly done at Aix; but the scandalous part of
the ceremony is the folly and the buffoonery which is allowed in a rite
which should be designed to stir up the hearts of men to awe and
reverence their Creator.

Instead of that, the devil, death, and the seven deadly sins, are
impersonated in the procession. They are clad in the most absurd
costumes, and make hideous contortions, beating and abusing each other in
their supposed vexation at having to join in the Creator's praises. The
people hoot and hiss them, the lower classes sing songs in derision of
them, and play them all manner of tricks, and the whole scene is one of
incredible noise, uproar, and confusion, more worthy of some pagan
bacchanalia than a procession of Christian people. All the country-folk
from five or six leagues around Aix pour into the town on that day to do
honour to God. It is the only occasion of the kind, and the clergy,
either knavish or ignorant, encourage all this shameful riot. The lower
orders take it all in good faith, and anyone who raised any objection
would run some risk, for the bishop goes in front of the saturnalia, and
consequently it is all holy.

I expressed my disapproval of the whole affair, as likely to bring
discredit on religion, to a councillor of parliament, M. de St. Marc; but
he told me gravely that it was an excellent thing, as it brought no less
than a hundred thousand francs into the town on the single day.

I could find no reply to this very weighty reason.

Every day I spent at Aix I thought of Henriette. I knew her real name,
and remembering the message she had sent me by Marcoline I hoped to meet
her in some assembly, being ready to adapt my conduct to hers. I had
often heard her name mentioned, but I never allowed myself to ask any
question, not wishing our old friendship to be suspected. Believing her
to be at her country house, I had resolved on paying her a visit, and had
only stayed on at Aix so as to recover my health before seeing her. In
due course I left Aix with a letter in my pocket for her, resolving to
send it in, and to remain in my carriage till she asked me to get down.

We arrived at her residence at eleven o'clock. A man came to the door,
took my letter, and said madam should have it without fail.

"Then she is not here."

"No, sir; she is at Aix."

"Since when?"

"For the last six months."

"Where does she live?"

"In her town house. She will be coming here in three weeks to spend the
summer as usual."

"Will you let me write a letter?"

"If you will get down you will find all the necessary materials in
madam's room."

I went into the house, and to my extreme surprise found myself face to
face with my nurse.

"You live here, then."

"Yes, sir."

"Since when?"

"For the last ten years."

"How did you come to nurse me?"

"If you will step upstairs I will tell you."

Her story was as follows:

"Madam sent for me in haste, and told me to go and attend to you as if it
were herself. She told me to say that the doctor had sent me if you asked
any questions."

"The doctor said he didn't know you."

"Perhaps he was speaking the truth, but most likely he had received
orders from madam. That's all I know, but I wonder you haven't seen her
at Aix."

"She cannot see any company, for I have been everywhere."

"She does not see any company at her own house, but she goes everywhere."

"It's very strange. I must have seen her, and yet I do not think I could
have passed her by unrecognized. You have been with her ten years?"

"Yes, sir, as I had the honour of informing you."

"Has she changed? Has she had any sickness? Has she aged?"

"Not at all. She has become rather stout, but I assure you you would take
her for a woman of thirty."

"I must be blind, or I cannot have seen her. I am going to write to her
now."

The woman went out, leaving me in astonishment, at the extraordinary
situation in which I was placed.

"Ought I to return to Aix immediately?" I asked myself. She has a town
house, but does not see company, but she might surely see me: She loves
me still. She cared for me all through my illness, and she would not have
done so if she had become indifferent to me. She will be hurt at my not
recognizing her. She must know that I have left Aix, and will no doubt
guess that I am here now. Shall I go to her or shall I write? I resolved
to write, and I told her in my letter that I should await her reply at
Marseilles. I gave the letter to my late nurse, with some money to insure
its being dispatched at once, and drove on to Marseilles where I alighted
at an obscure inn, not wishing to be recognized. I had scarcely got out
of my carriage when I saw Madame Schizza, Nina's sister. She had left
Barcelona with her husband. They had been at Marseilles three or four
days and were going to Leghorn.

Madame Schizza was alone at the moment, her husband having gone out; and
as I was full of curiosity I begged her to come up to my room while my
dinner was getting ready.

"What is your sister doing? Is she still at Barcelona?"

"Yes; but she will not be there long, for the bishop will not have her in
the town or the diocese, and the bishop is stronger than the viceroy. She
only returned to Barcelona on the plea that she wished to pass through
Catalonia of her way home, but she does not need to stay there for nine
or ten months on that account. She will have to leave in a month for
certain, but she is not much put out, as the viceroy is sure to keep her
wherever she goes, and she may eventually succeed in ruining him. In the
meanwhile she is revelling in the bad repute she has gained for her
lover."

"I know something of her peculiarities; but she cannot dislike a man who
has made her rich."

"Rich! She has only got her diamonds. Do you imagine this monster capable
of any feelings of gratitude? She is not a human being, and no one knows
her as I do. She has made the count commit a hundred acts of injustice so
that all Spain may talk of her, and know that she has made herself
mistress of his body and soul, and all he has. The worse his actions are,
the more certain she feels that people will talk of her, and that is all
she wants. Her obligations to me are beyond counting, for she owes me
all, even to her existence, and instead of continuing my husband in her
service she has sent him about his business."

"Then I wonder how she came to treat me so generously."

"If you knew all, you would not feel grateful to her."

"Tell me all, then."

"She only paid for your keep at the inn and in prison to make people
believe you were her lover, and to shame the count. All Barcelona knows
that you were assassinated at her door, and that you were fortunate
enough to run the fellow through."

"But she cannot have been the instigator of, or even the accomplice in,
the plot for my assassination. That's against nature."

"I dare say, but everything in Nina is against nature. What I tell you is
the bare truth, for I was a witness of it all. Whenever the viceroy
visited her she wearied him with praise of your gallantry, your wit, your
noble actions, comparing you with the Spaniards, greatly to their
disadvantage.

"The count got impatient and told her to talk of something else, but she
would not; and at last he went away, cursing your name. Two days before
you came to grief he left her, saying,--

"'Valga me Dios! I will give you a pleasure you do not expect.'

"I assure you that when we heard the pistol-shot after you had gone, she
remarked, without evincing the slightest emotion, that the shot was the
pleasure her rascally Spaniard had promised her.

"I said that you might be killed.

"'All the worse for the count,' she replied, 'for his turn will come
also.'

"Then she began laughing like a madcap; she was thinking of the
excitement your death would cause in Barcelona.

"At eight o'clock the following day, your man came and told her that you
had been taken to the citadel; and I will say it to her credit, she
seemed relieved to hear you were alive."

"My man--I did not know that he was in correspondence with her."

"No, I suppose not; but I assure you the worthy man was very much
attached to you."

"I am sure he was. Go on."

"Nina then wrote a note to your landlord. She did not shew it me, but it
no doubt contained instructions to supply you with everything.

"The man told us that he had seen your sword all red with blood, and that
your cloak had a bullet hole through it. She was delighted, but do not
think it was because she loved you; she was glad you had escaped that you
might take your revenge. However, she was troubled by the pretext on
which the count had had you arrested.

"Ricla did not come to see her that day, but he came the next day at
eight o'clock, and the infamous creature received him with a smiling
face. She told him she had heard he had imprisoned you, and that she was
obliged to him, as he had, of course, done so to protect you from any
fresh attempts on your life.

"He answered, dryly, that your arrest had nothing to do with anything
that might have happened the night before. He added that you had only
been seized pending the examination of your papers, and that if they were
found to be in good form, you would be set at liberty in the course of a
few days.

"Nina asked him who was the man that you had wounded. He replied that the
police were enquiring into the matter, but that so far they had neither
found a dead man nor a wounded man, nor any traces of blood. All that had
been found was Casanova's hat, and this had been returned to him.

"I left them alone together till midnight, so I cannot say what further
converse they may have had on the subject, but three or four days later
everybody knew that you were imprisoned in the tower.

"Nina asked the count the reason of this severity in the evening, and he
replied that your passports were thought to be forgeries, because you
were in disgrace with the State Inquisitors, and therefore would not be
in a position to get a passport from the Venetian ambassador. On this
supposition he said you had been placed in the tower, and if it proved to
be a true one, you would be still more severely punished.

"This news disturbed us, and when we heard that Pogomas had been arrested
we felt certain he had denounced you in revenge for your having procured
his dismissal from Nina's house. When we heard that he had been let out
and sent to Genoa, we expected to hear of your being set at liberty, as
the authorities must have been satisfied of the genuine character of your
passports; but you were still shut up, and Nina did not know what to
think, and the count would not answer her when she made enquiries about
you. She had made up her mind to say no more about it, when at last we
heard you had been set free and that your passports had been declared
genuine.

"Nina thought to see you in the pit of the opera-house, and made
preparations for a triumph in her box; but she was in despair when she
heard no performance was to be given. In the evening the count told her
that your passports had been returned with the order to leave in three
days. The false creature praised her lover's prudence to his face, but
she cursed him in her heart.

"She knew you would not dare to see her, and when you left without
writing her a note, she said you had received secret orders not to hold
any further communications with her. She was furious with the viceroy.

"'If Casanova had had the courage to ask me to go with him, I would have
gone,' said she.

"Your man told her of your fortunate escape from three assassins. In the
evening she congratulated Ricla on the circumstance, but he swore he knew
nothing about it. Nina did not believe him. You may thank God from the
bottom of your heart that you ever left Spain alive after knowing Nina.
She would have cost you your life at last, and she punishes me for having
given her life."

"What! Are you her mother?"

"Yes; Nina, that horrible woman, is my daughter."

"Really? Everybody says you are her sister."

"That is the horrible part of it, everybody is right."

"Explain yourself!"

"Yes, though it is to my shame. She is my sister and my daughter, for she
is the daughter of my father."

"What! your father loved you?"

"I do not know whether the scoundrel loved me, but he treated me as his
wife. I was sixteen then. She is the daughter of the crime, and God knows
she is sufficient punishment for it. My father died to escape her
vengeance; may he also escape the vengeance of God. I should have
strangled her in her cradle, but maybe I shall strangle her yet. If I do
not, she will kill me."

I remained dumb at the conclusion of this dreadful story, which bore all
the marks of truth.

"Does Nina know that you are her mother?"

"Her own father told her the secret when she was twelve, after he had
initiated her into the life she has been living ever since. He would have
made her a mother in her turn if he had not killed himself the same year,
maybe to escape the gallows."

"How did the Conte de Ricla fall in love with her?"

"It is a short story and a curious one. Two years ago she came to
Barcelona from Portugal, and was placed in one of the ballets for the
sake of her pretty face, for as to talents she had none, and could only
do the rebaltade (a sort of skip and pirouette) properly.

"The first evening she danced she was loudly applauded by the pit, for as
she did the rebaltade she shewed her drawers up to her waist. In Spain
any actress who shews her drawers on the stage is liable to a fine of a
crown. Nina knew nothing about this, and, hearing the applause, treated
the audience to another skip of the same kind, but at the end of the
ballet she was told to pay two crowns for her immodesty. Nina cursed and
swore, but she had to give in. What do you think she did to elude the
law, and at the same time avenge herself?"

"Danced badly, perhaps."

"She danced without any drawers at all, and did her rebdltade as before,
which caused such an effervescence of high spirits in the house as had
never been known at Barcelona.

"The Conte de Ricla had seen her from his box, and was divided between
horror and admiration, and sent for the inspector to tell him that this
impudent creature must be punished.

"'In the mean time,' said he, 'bring her before me.'

"Presently Nina appeared in the viceroy's box, and asked him, impudently,
what he wanted with her.

"'You are an immodest woman, and have failed in your duty to the public.'

"'What have I done?

"'You performed the same skip as before.'

"'Yes, but I haven't broken your law, for no one can have seen my drawers
as I took the precaution not to put any on. What more can I do for your
cursed law, which has cost me two crowns already? Just tell me.'

"The viceroy and the great personages around him had much ado to refrain
from laughter, for Nina was really in the right, and a serious discussion
of the violated law would have been ridiculous.

"The viceroy felt he was in a false position, and merely said that if she
ever danced without drawers again she should have a month's imprisonment
on bread and water.

"A week after one of my husband's ballets was given. It was so well
received that the audience encored it with enthusiasm. Ricla gave orders
that the public should be satisfied, and all the dancers were told they
would have to reappear.

"Nina, who was almost undressed, told my husband to do as best he could,
as she was not going to dance again. As she had the chief part my husband
could not do without her, and sent the manager to her dressing-room. She
pushed the poor man out with so much violence that he fell against the
wall of the passage, head foremost.

"The manager told his piteous tale to the viceroy, who ordered two
soldiers to bring her before him. This was his ruin; for Nina is a
beautiful woman, and in her then state of undress she would have seduced
the coldest of men.

"The count reproved her, but his voice and his manner were ill-assured,
and growing bolder as she watched his embarrassment, Nina replied that he
might have her torn to pieces if he liked, but she would not dance
against her will, and nowhere in her agreement was it stipulated that she
should dance twice in the same evening, whether for his pleasure or
anyone else's. She also expressed her anger at making her appear before
him in a state of semi-nudity, and swore she would never forgive his
barbarous and despotic conduct.

"'I will dance no more before you or your people. Let me go away, or kill
me if you like; do your worst on me, and you shall find that I am a
Venetian and a free woman!'

"The viceroy sat astonished, and said she must be mad. He then summoned
my husband and told him she was no longer in his service. Nina was told
she was free, and could go where she would.

"She went back to her dressing-room and came to us, where she was living.

"The ballet went on without her, and the poor viceroy sat in a dream, for
the poison had entered into his veins.

"Next day a wretched singer named Molinari called on Nina and told her
that the viceroy was anxious to know whether she were really mad or not,
and would like to see her in a country house, the name of which he
mentioned: this was just what the wretched woman wanted.

"'Tell his highness,' she said to Molinari, 'that I will come, and that
he will find me as gentle as a lamb and as good as an angel.'

"This is the way in which the connection began, and she fathomed his
character so astutely that she maintained her conquest as much with
ill-treatment and severity as with her favours."

Such was the tale of the hapless Madame Schizza. It was told with all the
passion of an Italian divided between repentance for the past and the
desire of vengeance.

The next day, as I had expected, I received a letter from Henriette. It
ran as follows:

"My Dear Old Friend,--Nothing could be more romantic than our meeting at
my country house six years ago, and now again, after a parting of so many
years. Naturally we have both grown older, and though I love you still I
am glad you did not recognize me. Not that I have become ugly, but I am
stout, and this gives me another look. I am a widow, and well enough off
to tell you that if you lack money you will find some ready for you in
Henriette's purse. Do not come back to Aix to see me, as your return
might give rise to gossip; but if you chance to come here again after
some time, we may meet, though not as old acquaintances. I am happy to
think that I have perhaps prolonged your days by giving you a nurse for
whose trustworthiness I would answer. If you would like to correspond
with me I should be happy to do my part. I am very curious to know what
happened to you after your flight from The Leads, and after the proofs
you have given me of your discretion I think I shall be able to tell you
how we came to meet at Cesena, and how I returned to my country. The
first part is a secret for everyone; only M. d'Antoine is acquainted with
a portion of the story. I am grateful for the reticence you have
observed, though Marcoline must have delivered the message I gave her.
Tell me what has become of that beautiful girl. Farewell!"

I replied, accepting her offer to correspond, and I told her the whole
story of my adventures. From her I received forty letters, in which the
history of her life is given. If she die before me, I shall add these
letters to my Memoirs, but at present she is alive and happy, though
advanced in years.

The day after I went to call on Madame Audibert, and we went together to
see Madame N---- N----, who was already the mother of three children. Her
husband adored her, and she was very happy. I gave her good news of
Marcoline, and told the story of Croce and Charlotte's death, which
affected her to tears.

In turn she told me about Rosalie, who was quite a rich woman. I had no
hopes of seeing her again, for she lived at Genoa, and I should not have
cared to face M. Grimaldi.

My niece (as I once called her) mortified me unintentionally; she said I
was ageing. Though a man can easily make a jest of his advancing years, a
speech like this is not pleasant when one has not abandoned the pursuit
of pleasure. She gave me a capital dinner, and her husband made me offers
which I was ashamed to accept. I had fifty Louis, and, intending to go on
to Turin, I did not feel uneasy about the future.

At Marseilles I met the Duc de Vilardi, who was kept alive by the art of
Tronchin. This nobleman, who was Governor of Provence, asked me to
supper, and I was surprised to meet at his house the self-styled Marquis
d'Aragon; he was engaged in holding the bank. I staked a few coins and
lost, and the marquis asked me to dine with him and his wife, an elderly
Englishwoman, who had brought him a dowry of forty thousand guineas
absolutely, with twenty thousand guineas which would ultimately go to her
son in London. I was not ashamed to borrow fifty Louis from this lucky
rascal, though I felt almost certain that I should never return the
money.

I left Marseilles by myself, and after crossing the Alps arrived at
Turin.

There I had a warm welcome from the Chevalier Raiberti and the Comte de
la Perouse. Both of them pronounced me to be looking older, but I
consoled myself with the thought that, after all, I was only forty-four.

I became an intimate friend of the English ambassador, Sir N----, a rich,
accomplished and cultured man, who kept the choicest of tables. Everybody
loved him, and amongst others this feeling was warmly shared by a Parmese
girl, named Campioni, who was wonderfully beautiful.

As soon as I had told my friends that I intended to go into Switzerland
to print at my own expense a refutation in Italian of the "History of the
Venetian Government," by Amelot de la Houssaye, they all did their best
by subscribing and obtaining subscriptions. The most generous of all was
the Comte de la Perouse, who gave me two hundred and fifty francs for
fifty copies. I left Turin in a week with two thousand lire in my purse.
With this I should be able to print the book I had composed in my prison;
but I should have to rewrite it 'ab initio', with the volume to my hand,
as also the "History of Venice," by Nani.

When I had got these works I set out with the intention of having my book
printed at Lugano, as there was a good press there and no censure. I also
knew that the head of the press was a well-read man, and that the place
abounded in good cheer and good society.

Lugano is near Milan, Como, and Lake Maggiore, and I was well pleased
with the situation. I went to the best inn, which was kept by a man named
Tagoretti, who gave me the best room in the house.

The day after my arrival I called on Dr. Agnelli, who was at once
printer, priest, theologian, and an honest man. I made a regular
agreement with him, he engaging to print at the rate of four sheets a
week, and on my side I promised to pay him every week. He reserved the
right of censorship, expressing a hope that our opinions might coincide.

I gave him the preface and the preliminary matter at once, and chose the
paper and the size, large octavo.

When I got back to my inn the landlord told me that the bargello, or
chief constable, wanted to see me.

Although Lugano is in Switzerland, its municipal government is modelled
after that of the Italian towns.

I was curious to hear what this ill-omened personage could have to say to
me, so I told him to shew him in. After giving me a profound bow, with
his hat in his hand, Signor Bargello told me that he had come to offer me
his services, and to assure me that I should enjoy complete tranquillity
and safety in Lugano, whether from any enemies within the State or from
the Venetian Government, in case I had any dispute with it.

"I thank you, signor," I replied, "and I am sure that you are telling me
the truth, as I am in Switzerland."

"I must take the liberty of telling you, sir, that it is customary for
strangers who take up their residence in Lugano, to pay some trifling
sum, either by the week, the month, or the year."

"And if they refuse to pay?"

"Then their safety is not so sure."

"Money does everything in Lugano, I suppose."

"But, sir---- "

"I understand, but let me tell you that I have no fears, and I shall
consequently beg to be excused from paying anything."

"You will forgive me, but I happen to know that you have some disputes
with the Venetian Government."

"You are making a mistake, my good fellow."

"No, I am not."

"If you are so sure, find someone to bet me two hundred sequins that I
have reason to fear the Venetian Government; I will take the bet and
deposit the amount."

The bargello remained silent, and the landlord told him he seemed to have
made some kind of mistake, so he went away, looking very disappointed.

My landlord was delighted to hear that I thought of making some stay at
Lugano, and advised me to call on the high bailiff, who governed the
place.

"He's a very nice Swiss gentleman," said he, "and his wife a clever
woman, and as fair as the day."

"I will go and see him to-morrow."

I sent in my name to the high bailiff at noon on the day following, and
what was my surprise to find myself in the presence of M. de R and his
charming wife. Beside her was a pretty boy, five or six years old.

Our mutual surprise may be imagined!



CHAPTER XI

The Punishment of Marazzani--I Leave Lugano--Turin--M. Dubois at
Parma--Leghorn--The Duke of Orloff--Pisa--Stratico--Sienna--The
Marchioness Chigi--My Departure from Sienna With an Englishwoman

These unforeseen, haphazard meetings with old friends have always been
the happiest moments of my life.

We all remained for some time dumb with delight. M. de R. was the first
to break the silence by giving me a cordial embrace. We burst out into
mutual excuses, he for having imagined that there might be other
Casanovas in Italy, and I for not having ascertained his name. He made me
take pot-luck with him the same day, and we seemed as if we had never
parted. The Republic had given him this employ--a very lucrative one--and
he was only sorry that it would expire in two years. He told me he was
delighted to be able to be of use to me, and begged me to consider he was
wholly at my service. He was delighted to hear that I should be engaged
in seeing my work through the press for three or four months, and seemed
vexed when I told him that I could not accept his hospitality more than
once a week as my labours would be incessant.

Madame de R---- could scarcely recover from her surprise. It was nine
years since I had seen her at Soleure, and then I thought her beauty must
be at its zenith; but I was wrong, she was still more beautiful and I
told her so. She shewed me her only child, who had been born four years
after my departure. She cherished the child as the apple of her eye, and
seemed likely to spoil it; but I heard, a few years ago, that this child
is now an amiable and accomplished man.

In a quarter of an hour Madame de R---- informed me of all that had
happened at Soleure since my departure. Lebel had gone to Besancon, where
he lived happily with his charming wife.

She happened to observe in a casual way that I no longer looked as young
as I had done at Soleure, and this made me regulate my conduct in a
manner I might not otherwise have done. I did not let her beauty carry me
away; I resisted the effect of her charms, and I was content to enjoy her
friendship, and to be worthy of the friendship of her good husband.

The work on which I was engaged demanded all my care and attention, and a
love affair would have wasted most of my time.

I began work the next morning, and save for an hour's visit from M. de
R---- I wrote on till nightfall. The next day I had the first proof-sheet
with which I was well enough pleased.

I spent the whole of the next month in my room, working assiduously, and
only going out to mass on feast days, to dine with M. de R----, and to
walk with his wife and her child.

At the end of a month my first volume was printed and stitched, and the
manuscript of the second volume was ready for the press. Towards the end
of October the printer sent in the entire work in three volumes, and in
less than a year the edition was sold out.

My object was not so much to make money as to appease the wrath of the
Venetian Inquisitors; I had gone all over Europe, and experienced a
violent desire to see my native land once more.

Amelot de la Houssaye had written his book from the point of view of an
enemy of Venice. His history was rather a satire, containing learned and
slanderous observations mingled together. It had been published for
seventy years, but hitherto no one had taken the trouble to refute it. If
a Venetian had attempted to do so he would not have obtained permission
from his Government to print it in the States of Venice, for the State
policy is to allow no one to discuss the actions of the authorities,
whether in praise or blame; consequently no writer had attempted to
refute the French history, as it was well known that the refutation would
be visited with punishment and not with reward.

My position was an exceptional one. I had been persecuted by the Venetian
Government, so no one could accuse me of being partial; and by my
exposing the calumnies of Amelot before all Europe I hoped to gain a
reward, which after all would only be an act of justice.

I had been an exile for fourteen years, and I thought the Inquisitors
would be glad to repair their injustice on the pretext of rewarding my
patriotism.

My readers will see that my hopes were fulfilled, but I had to wait for
five more years instead of receiving permission to return at once.

M. de Bragadin was dead, and Dandolo and Barbaro were the only friends I
had left at Venice; and with their aid I contrived to subscribe fifty
copies of my book in my native town.

Throughout my stay at Lugano I only frequented the house of M. de R----,
where I saw the Abbe Riva, a learned and discreet man, to whom I had been
commended by M. Querini, his relation. The abbe enjoyed such a reputation
for wisdom amongst his fellow-countrymen that he was a kind of arbiter in
all disputes, and thus the expenses of the law were saved. It was no
wonder that the gentlemen of the long robe hated him most cordially. His
nephew, Jean Baptiste Riva, was a friend of the Muses, of Bacchus, and of
Venus; he was also a friend of mine, though I could not match him with
the bottles. He lent me all the nymphs he had initiated into the
mysteries, and they liked him all the better, as I made them some small
presents. With him and his two pretty sisters I went to the Borromean
Isles. I knew that Count Borromeo, who had honoured me with his
friendship at Turin, was there, and from him I felt certain of a warm
welcome. One of the two sisters had to pass for Riva's wife, and the
other for his sister-in-law.

Although the count was a ruined man he lived in his isles like a prince.

It would be impossible to describe these Islands of the Blest; they must
be seen to be imagined. The inhabitants enjoy an everlasting spring;
there is neither heat nor cold.

The count regaled us choicely, and amused the two girls by giving them
rods and lines and letting them fish. Although he was ugly, old, and
ruined, he still possessed the art of pleasing.

On the way back to Lugano, as I was making place for a carriage in a
narrow road, my horse slipped and fell down a slope ten feet high. My
head went against a large stone, and I thought my last hour was come as
the blood poured out of the wound. However, I was well again in a few
days. This was my last ride on horseback.

During my stay at Lugano the inspectors of the Swiss cantons came there
in its turn. The people dignified them with the magnificent title of
ambassadors, but M. de R---- was content to call them avoyers.

These gentlemen stayed at my inn, and I had my meals with them throughout
their stay.

The avoyer of Berne gave me some news of my poor friend M. F----. His
charming daughter Sara had become the wife of M, de V----, and was happy.

A few days after these pleasant and cultured men had left, I was startled
one morning by the sudden appearance of the wretched Marazzani in my
room. I seized him by his collar, threw him out, and before he had time
to use his cane or his sword, I had kicked, beaten, and boxed him most
soundly. He defended himself to the best of his ability, and the landlord
and his men ran up at the noise, and had some difficulty in separating
us.

"Don't let him go!" I cried, "send for the bargello and have him away to
prison."

I dressed myself hastily, and as I was going out to see M. de R----, the
bargello met me, and asked me on what charge I gave the man into custody.

"You will hear that at M. de R----'s, where I shall await you."

I must now explain my anger. You may remember, reader, that I left the
wretched fellow in the prison of Buen Retiro. I heard afterwards that the
King of Spain, Jerusalem, and the Canary Islands, had given him a small
post in a galley off the coast of Africa.

He had done me no harm, and I pitied him; but not being his intimate
friend, and having no power to mitigate the hardship of his lot, I had
well-nigh forgotten him.

Eight months after, I met at Barcelona Madame Bellucci, a Venetian
dancer, with whom I had had a small intrigue. She gave an exclamation of
delight on seeing me, and said she was glad to see me delivered from the
hard fate to which a tyrannous Government had condemned me.

"What fate is that?" I asked, "I have seen a good deal of misfortune
since I left you."

"I mean the presidio."

"But that has never been my lot, thank God! Who told you such a story?"

"A Count Marazzani, who was here three weeks ago, and told me he had been
luckier than you, as he had made his escape."

"He's a liar and a scoundrel; and if ever I meet him again he shall pay
me dearly."

From that moment I never thought of the rascal without feeling a lively
desire to give him a thrashing, but I never thought that chance would
bring about so early a meeting.

Under the circumstances I think my behaviour will be thought only
natural. I had beaten him, but that was not enough for me. I seemed to
have done nothing, and indeed, I had got as good as I gave.

In the mean time he was in prison, and I went to M. de R---- to see what
he could do for me.

As soon as M. de R heard my statement he said he could neither keep him
in prison nor drive him out of the town unless I laid a plea before him,
craving protection against this man, whom I believed to have come to
Lugano with the purpose of assassinating me.

"You can make the document more effective," he added, "by placing your
actual grievance in a strong light, and laying stress on his sudden
appearance in your room without sending in his name. That's what you had
better do, and it remains to be seen how I shall answer your plea. I
shall ask him for his passport and delay the case, and order him to be
severely treated; but in the end I shall only be able to drive him out of
the town, unless he can find good bail."

I could ask no more. I sent in my plea, and the next day I had the
pleasure of seeing him brought into the court bound hand and foot.

M. de R began to examine him, and Marazzani swore he had no evil
intentions in calling on me. As to the calumny, he protested he had only
repeated common rumour, and professed his joy at finding it had been
mistaken.

This ought to have been enough for me, but I continued obdurate.

M. de R---- said the fact of my being sent to the galleys having been
rumoured was no justification for his repeating it.

"And furthermore," he proceeded, "M. Casanova's suspicion that you were
going to assassinate him is justified by your giving a false name, for
the plaintiff maintains that you are not Count Marazzani at all. He
offers to furnish surety on this behalf, and if M. Casanova does you
wrong, his bail will escheat to you as damages. In the mean time you will
remain in prison till we have further information about your real
status."

He was taken back, and as the poor devil had not a penny in his pocket it
would have been superfluous to tell the bargedlo to treat him severely.

M. de R wrote to the Swiss agent at Parma to obtain the necessary
information; but as the rascal knew this would be against him, he wrote
me a humble letter, in which he confessed that he was the son of a poor
shopkeeper of Bobbio, and although his name was really Marazzani, he had
nothing to do with the Marazzanis of Plaisance. He begged me to set him
at liberty.

I shewed the letter to M. de R----, who let him out of prison with orders
to leave Lugano in twenty-four hours.

I thought I had been rather too harsh with him, and gave the poor devil
some money to take him to Augsburg, and also a letter for M. de
Sellentin, who was recruiting there for the Prussian king. We shall hear
of Marazzani again.

The Chevalier de Breche came to the Lugano Fair to buy some horses, and
stopped a fortnight. I often met him at M. de R----'s, for whose wife he
had a great admiration, and I was sorry to see him go.

I left Lugano myself a few days later, having made up my mind to winter
in Turin, where I hoped to see some pleasant society.

Before I left I received a friendly letter from Prince Lubomirski, with a
bill for a hundred ducats, in payment of fifty copies of my book. The
prince had become lord high marshal on the death of Count Bilinski.

When I got to Turin I found a letter from the noble Venetian M. Girolamo
Zulian, the same that had given me an introduction to Mocenigo. His
letter contained an enclosure to M. Berlendis, the representative of the
Republic at Turin, who thanked me for having enabled him to receive me.

The ambassador, a rich man, and a great lover of the fair sex, kept up a
splendid establishment, and this was enough for his Government, for
intelligence is not considered a necessary qualification for a Venetian
ambassador. Indeed it is a positive disadvantage, and a witty ambassador
would no doubt fall into disgrace with the Venetian Senate. However,
Berlendis ran no risk whatever on this score; the realm of wit was an
unknown land to him.

I got this ambassador to call the attention of his Government to the work
I had recently published, and the answer the State Inquisitors gave may
astonish my readers, but it did not astonish me. The secretary of the
famous and accursed Tribunal wrote to say that he had done well to call
the attention of the Inquisitors to this work, as the author's
presumption appeared on the title-page. He added that the work would be
examined, and in the mean time the ambassador was instructed to shew me
no signal marks of favour lest the Court should suppose he was protecting
me as a Venetian.

Nevertheless, it was the same tribunal that had facilitated my access to
the ambassador to Madrid--Mocenigo.

I told Berlendis that my visits should be limited in number, and free
from all ostentation.

I was much interested in his son's tutor; he was a priest, a man of
letters, and a poet. His name was Andreis, and he is now resident in
England, where he enjoys full liberty, the greatest of all blessings.

I spent my time at Turin very pleasantly, in the midst of a small circle
of Epicureans; there were the old Chevalier Raiberti, the Comte de la
Perouse, a certain Abbe Roubien, a delightful man, the voluptuous Comte
de Riva, and the English ambassador. To the amusements which this society
afforded I added a course of reading, but no love affairs whatever.

While I was at Turin, a milliner, Perouse's mistress, feeling herself in
'articulo mortis', swallowed the portrait of her lover instead of the
Eucharist. This incident made me compose two sonnets, which pleased me a
good deal at the time, and with which I am still satisfied. No doubt some
will say that every poet is pleased with his own handiwork, but as a
matter of fact, the severest critic of a sensible author is himself.

The Russian squadron, under the command of Count Alexis Orloff, was then
at Leghorn; this squadron threatened Constantinople, and would probably
have taken it if an Englishman had been in command.

As I had known Count Orloff in Russia, I imagined that I might possibly
render myself of service to him, and at the same time make my fortune.

The English ambassador having given me a letter for the English consul, I
left Turin with very little money in my purse and no letter of credit on
any banker.

An Englishman named Acton commended me to an English banker at Leghorn,
but this letter did not empower me to draw any supplies.

Acton was just then involved in a curious complication. When he was at
Venice he had fallen in love with a pretty woman, either a Greek or a
Neapolitan. The husband, by birth a native of Turin, and by profession a
good-for-nothing, placed no obstacle in Acton's way, as the Englishman
was generous with his money; but he had a knack of turning up at those
moments when his absence would have been most desirable.

The generous but proud and impatient Englishman could not be expected to
bear this for long. He consulted with the lady, and determined to shew
his teeth. The husband persisted in his untimely visits, and one day
Acton said, dryly,--

"Do you want a thousand guineas? You can have them if you like, on the
condition that your wife travels with me for three years without our
having the pleasure of your society."

The husband thought the bargain a good one, and signed an agreement to
that effect.

After the three years were over the husband wrote to his wife, who was at
Venice, to return to him, and to Acton to put no obstacle in the way.

The lady replied that she did not want to live with him any more, and
Acton explained to the husband that he could not be expected to drive his
mistress away against her will. He foresaw, however, that the husband
would complain to the English ambassador, and determined to be
before-handed with him.

In due course the husband did apply to the English ambassador, requesting
him to compel Acton to restore to him his lawful wife. He even asked the
Chevalier Raiberti to write to the Commendatore Camarana, the Sardinian
ambassador at Venice, to apply pressure on the Venetian Government, and
he would doubtless have succeeded if M. Raiberti had done him this
favour. However, as it was he did nothing of the sort, and even gave
Acton a warm welcome when he came to Turin to look into the matter. He
had left his mistress at Venice under the protection of the English
consul.

The husband was ashamed to complain publicly, as he would have been
confronted with the disgraceful agreement he had signed; but Berlendis
maintained that he was in the right, and argued the question in the most
amusing manner. On the one hand he urged the sacred and inviolable
character of the marriage rite, and on the other he shewed how the wife
was bound to submit to her husband in all things. I argued the matter
with him myself, shewing him his disgraceful position in defending a man
who traded on his wife's charms, and he was obliged to give in when I
assured him that the husband had offered to renew the lease for the same
time and on the same terms as before.

Two years later I met Acton at Bologna, and admired the beauty whom he
considered and treated as his wife. She held on her knees a fine little
Acton.

I left Turin for Parma with a Venetian who, like myself, was an exile
from his country. He had turned actor to gain a livelihood; and was going
to Parma with two actresses, one of whom was interesting. As soon as I
found out who he was, we became friends, and he would have gladly made me
a partner in all his amusements, by the way, if I had been in the humour
to join him.

This journey to Leghorn was undertaken under the influence of chimerical
ideas. I thought I might be useful to Count Orloff, in the conquest he
was going to make, as it was said, of Constantinople. I fancied that it
had been decreed by fate that without me he could never pass through the
Dardanelles. In spite of the wild ideas with which my mind was occupied,
I conceived a warm friendship for my travelling companion, whose name was
Angelo Bentivoglio. The Government never forgave him a certain crime,
which to the philosophic eye appears a mere trifle. In four years later,
when I describe my stay at Venice, I shall give some further account of
him.

About noon we reached Parma, and I bade adieu to Bentivoglio and his
friends. The Court was at Colorno, but having nothing to gain from this
mockery of a court, and wishing to leave for Bologna the next morning, I
asked Dubois-Chateleraux, Chief of the Mint, and a talented though vain
man, to give me some dinner. The reader will remember that I had known
him twenty two years before, when I was in love with Henriette. He was
delighted to see me, and seemed to set great store by my politeness in
giving him the benefit of my short stay at Parma. I told him that Count
Orloff was waiting for me at Leghorn, and that I was obliged to travel
day and night.

"He will be setting sail before long," said he; "I have advices from
Leghorn to that effect."

I said in a mysterious tone of voice that he would not sail without me,
and I could see that my host treated me with increased respect after
this. He wanted to discuss the Russian Expedition, but my air of reserve
made him change the conversation.

At dinner we talked a good deal about Henriette, whom he said he had
succeeded in finding out; but though he spoke of her with great respect,
I took care not to give him any information on the subject. He spent the
whole afternoon in uttering complaints against the sovereigns of Europe,
the King of Prussia excepted, as he had made him a baron, though I never
could make out why.

He cursed the Duke of Parma who persisted in retaining his services,
although there was no mint in existence in the duchy, and his talents
were consequently wasted there.

I listened to all his complaints, and agreed that Louis XV. had been
ungrateful in not conferring the Order of St. Michael on him; that Venice
had rewarded his services very shabbily; that Spain was stingy, and
Naples devoid of honesty, etc., etc. When he had finished, I asked him if
he could give me a bill on a banker for fifty sequins.

He replied in the most friendly manner that he would not give me the
trouble of going to a banker for such a wretched sum as that; he would be
delighted to oblige me himself.

I took the money promising to repay him at an early date, but I have
never been able to do so. I do not know whether he is alive or dead, but
if he were to attain the age of Methuselah I should not entertain any
hopes of paying him; for I get poorer every day, and feel that my end is
not far off.

The next day I was in Bologna, and the day after in Florence, where I met
the Chevalier Morosini, nephew of the Venetian procurator, a young man of
nineteen, who was travelling with Count Stratico, professor of
mathematics at the University of Padua. He gave me a letter for his
brother, a Jacobin monk, and professor of literature at Pisa, where I
stopped for a couple of hours on purpose to make the celebrated monk's
acquaintance. I found him even greater than his fame, and promised to
come again to Pisa, and make a longer stay for the purpose of enjoying
his society.

I stopped an hour at the Wells, where I made the acquaintance of the
Pretender to the throne of Great Britain, and from there went on to
Leghorn, where I found Count Orloff still waiting, but only because
contrary winds kept him from sailing.

The English consul, with whom he was staying, introduced me at once to
the Russian admiral, who received me with expressions of delight. He told
me he would be charmed if I would come on board with him. He told me to
have my luggage taken off at once, as he would set sail with the first
fair wind. When he was gone the English consul asked me what would be my
status with the admiral.

"That's just what I mean to find out before embarking my effects."

"You won't be able to speak to him till to-morrow." Next morning I called
on Count Orloff, and sent him in a short note, asking him to give me a
short interview before I embarked my mails.

An officer came out to tell me that the admiral was writing in bed, and
hoped I would wait.

"Certainly."

I had been waiting a few minutes, when Da Loglio, the Polish agent at
Venice and an old friend of mine, came in.

"What are you doing here, my dear Casanova?" said he.

"I am waiting for an interview with the admiral."

"He is very busy."

After this, Da Loglio coolly went into the admiral's room. This was
impertinent of him; it was as if he said in so many words that the
admiral was too busy to see me, but not too busy to see him.

A moment after, Marquis Manucci came in with his order of St. Anne and
his formal air. He congratulated me on my visit to Leghorn, and then said
he had read my work on Venice, and had been surprised to find himself in
it.

He had some reason for surprise, for there was no connection between him
and the subject-matter; but he should have discovered before that the
unexpected often happens. He did not give me time to tell him so, but
went into the admiral's room as Da Loglio had done.

I was vexed to see how these gentlemen were admitted while I danced
attendance, and the project of sailing with Orloff began to displease me.

In five hours Orloff came out followed by a numerous train. He told me
pleasantly that we could have our talk at table or after dinner.

"After dinner, if you please," I said.

He came in and sat down at two o'clock, and I was among the guests.

Orloff kept on saying, "Eat away, gentlemen, eat away;" and read his
correspondence and gave his secretary letters all the time.

After dinner he suddenly glanced up at me, and taking me by the hand led
me to the window, and told me to make haste with my luggage, as he should
sail before the morning if the wind kept up.

"Quite so; but kindly tell me, count, what is to be my status or
employment an board your ship?"

"At present I have no special employ to give you; that will come in time.
Come on board as my friend."

"The offer is an honourable one so far as you are concerned, but all the
other officers might treat me with contempt. I should be regarded as a
kind of fool, and I should probably kill the first man who dared to
insult me. Give me a distinct office, and let me wear your uniform; I
will be useful to you. I know the country for which you are bound, I can
speak the language, and I am not wanting in courage."

"My dear sir, I really have no particular office to give you."

"Then, count, I wish you a pleasant sail; I am going to Rome. I hope you
may never repent of not taking me, for without me you will never pass the
Dardanelles."

"Is that a prophecy?"

"It's an oracle."

"We will test its veracity, my dear Calchus."

Such was the short dialogue I had with the worthy count, who, as a matter
of fact, did not pass the Dardanelles. Whether he would have succeeded if
I had been on board is more than I can say.

Next day I delivered my letters to M. Rivarola and the English banker.
The squadron had sailed in the early morning.

The day after I went to Pisa, and spent a pleasant week in the company of
Father Stratico, who was made a bishop two or three years after by means
of a bold stroke that might have ruined him. He delivered a funeral
oration over Father Ricci, the last general of the Jesuits. The Pope,
Ganganelli, had the choice of punishing the writer and increasing the
odium of many of the faithful, or of rewarding him handsomely. The
sovereign pontiff followed the latter course. I saw the bishop some years
later, and he told me in confidence that he had only written the oration
because he felt certain, from his knowledge of the human heart, that his
punishment would be a great reward.

This clever monk initiated me into all the charms of Pisan society. He
had organized a little choir of ladies of rank, remarkable for their
intelligence and beauty, and had taught them to sing extempore to the
guitar. He had had them instructed by the famous Gorilla, who was crowned
poetess-laureate at the capitol by night, six years later. She was
crowned where our great Italian poets were crowned; and though her merit
was no doubt great, it was, nevertheless, more tinsel than gold, and not
of that order to place her on a par with Petrarch or Tasso.

She was satirised most bitterly after she had received the bays; and the
satirists were even more in the wrong than the profaners of the capitol,
for all the pamphlets against her laid stress on the circumstance that
chastity, at all events, was not one of her merits. All poetesses, from
the days of Homer to our own, have sacrificed on the altar of Venus. No
one would have heard of Gorilla if she had not had the sense to choose
her lovers from the ranks of literary men; and she would never have been
crowned at Rome if she had not succeeded in gaining over Prince Gonzaga
Solferino, who married the pretty Mdlle. Rangoni, daughter of the Roman
consul, whom I knew at Marseilles, and of whom I have already spoken.

This coronation of Gorilla is a blot on the pontificate of the present
Pope, for henceforth no man of genuine merit will accept the honour which
was once so carefully guarded by the giants of human intellect.

Two days after the coronation Gorilla and her admirers left Rome, ashamed
of what they had done. The Abbe Pizzi, who had been the chief promoter of
her apotheosis, was so inundated with pamphlets and satires that for some
months he dared not shew his face.

This is a long digression, and I will now return to Father Stratico, who
made the time pass so pleasantly for me.

Though he was not a handsome man, he possessed the art of persuasion to
perfection; and he succeeded in inducing me to go to Sienna, where he
said I should enjoy myself. He gave me a letter of introduction for the
Marchioness Chigi, and also one for the Abbe Chiaccheri; and as I had
nothing better to do I went to Sienna by the shortest way, not caring to
visit Florence.

The Abbe Chiaccheri gave me a warm welcome, and promised to do all he
could to amuse me; and he kept his word. He introduced me himself to the
Marchioness Chigi, who took me by storm as soon as she had read the
letter of the Abbe Stratico, her dear abbe, as she called him, when she
read the superscription in his writing.

The marchioness was still handsome, though her beauty had begun to wane;
but with her the sweetness, the grace, and the ease of manner supplied
the lack of youth. She knew how to make a compliment of the slightest
expression, and was totally devoid of any affection of superiority.

"Sit down," she began. "So you are going to stay a week, I see, from the
dear abbe's letter. That's a short time for us, but perhaps it may be too
long for you. I hope the abbe has not painted us in too rosy colours."

"He only told me that I was to spend a week here, and that I should find
with you all the charms of intellect and sensibility."

"Stratico should have condemned you to a month without mercy."

"Why mercy? What hazard do I run?"

"Of being tired to death, or of leaving some small morsel of your heart
at Sienna."

"All that might happen in a week, but I am ready to dare the danger, for
Stratico has guarded me from the first by counting on you, and from the
second by counting on myself. You will receive my pure and intelligent
homage. My heart will go forth from Sienna as free as it came, for I have
no hope of victory, and defeat would make me wretched."

"Is it possible that you are amongst the despairing?"

"Yes, and to that fact I owe my happiness."

"It would be a pity for you if you found yourself mistaken."

"Not such a pity as you may think, Madam. 'Carpe diem' is my motto. 'Tis
likewise the motto of that finished voluptuary, Horace, but I only take
it because it suits me. The pleasure which follows desires is the best,
for it is the most acute.

"True, but it cannot be calculated on, and defies the philosopher. May
God preserve you, madam, from finding out this painful truth by
experience! The highest good lies in enjoyment; desire too often remains
unsatisfied. If you have not yet found out the truth of Horace's maxim, I
congratulate you."

The amiable marchioness smiled pleasantly and gave no positive answer.

Chiaccheri now opened his mouth for the first time, and said that the
greatest happiness he could wish us was that we should never agree. The
marchioness assented, rewarding Chiaccheri with a smile, but I could not
do so.

"I had rather contradict you," I said, "than renounce all hopes of
pleasing you. The abbe has thrown the apple of discord between us, but if
we continue as we have begun I shall take up my abode at Sienna."

The marchioness was satisfied with the sample of her wit which she had
given me, and began to talk commonplaces, asking me if I should like to
see company and enjoy society of the fair sex. She promised to take me
everywhere.

"Pray do not take the trouble," I replied. "I want to leave Sienna with
the feeling that you are the only lady to whom I have done homage, and
that the Abbe Chiaccheri has been my only guide."

The marchioness was flattered, and asked the abbe and myself to dine with
her on the following day in a delightful house she had at a hundred paces
from the town.

The older I grew the more I became attached to the intellectual charms of
women. With the sensualist, the contrary takes place; he becomes more
material in his old age: requires women well taught in Venus's shrines,
and flies from all mention of philosophy.

As I was leaving her I told the abbe that if I stayed at Sienna I would
see no other woman but her, come what might, and he agreed that I was
very right.

The abbe shewed me all the objects of interest in Sienna, and introduced
me to the literati, who in their turn visited me.

The same day Chiaccheri took me to a house where the learned society
assembled. It was the residence of two sisters--the elder extremely ugly
and the younger very pretty, but the elder sister was accounted, and very
rightly, the Corinna of the place. She asked me to give her a specimen of
my skill, promising to return the compliment. I recited the first thing
that came into my head, and she replied with a few lines of exquisite
beauty. I complimented her, but Chiaccheri (who had been her master)
guessed that I did not believe her to be the author, and proposed that we
should try bouts rimes. The pretty sister gave out the rhymes, and we all
set to work. The ugly sister finished first, and when the verses came to
be read, hers were pronounced the best. I was amazed, and made an
improvisation on her skill, which I gave her in writing. In five minutes
she returned it to me; the rhymes were the same, but the turn of the
thought was much more elegant. I was still more surprised, and took the
liberty of asking her name, and found her to be the famous "Shepherdess,"
Maria Fortuna, of the Academy of Arcadians.

I had read the beautiful stanzas she had written in praise of Metastasio.
I told her so, and she brought me the poet's reply in manuscript.

Full of admiration, I addressed myself to her alone, and all her
plainness vanished.

I had had an agreeable conversation with the marchioness in the morning,
but in the evening I was literally in an ecstacy.

I kept on talking of Fortuna, and asked the abbe if she could improvise
in the manner of Gorilla. He replied that she had wished to do so, but
that he had disallowed it, and he easily convinced me that this
improvisation would have been the ruin of her fine talent. I also agreed
with him when he said that he had warned her against making impromptus
too frequently, as such hasty verses are apt to sacrifice wit to rhyme.

The honour in which improvisation was held amongst the Greeks and Romans
is due to the fact that Greek and Latin verse is not under the dominion
of rhyme. But as it was, the great poets seldom improvised; knowing as
they did that such verses were usually feeble and common-place.

Horace often passed a whole night searching for a vigorous and
elegantly-turned phrase. When he had succeeded, he wrote the words on the
wall and went to sleep. The lines which cost him nothing are generally
prosaic; they may easily be picked out in his epistles.

The amiable and learned Abbe Chiaccheri, confessed to me that he was in
love with his pupil, despite her ugliness. He added that he had never
expected it when he began to teach her to make verses.

"I can't understand that," I said, "sublata lucerna', you know."

"Not at all," said he, with a laugh, "I love her for her face, since it
is inseparable from my idea of her."

A Tuscan has certainly more poetic riches at his disposal than any other
Italian, and the Siennese dialect is sweeter and more energetic than that
of Florence, though the latter claims the title of the classic dialect,
on account of its purity. This purity, together with its richness and
copiousness of diction it owes to the academy. From the great richness of
Italian we can treat a subject with far greater eloquence than a French
writer; Italian abounds in synonyms, while French is lamentably deficient
in this respect. Voltaire used to laugh at those who said that the French
tongue could not be charged with poverty, as it had all that was
necessary. A man may have necessaries, and yet be poor. The obstinacy of
the French academy in refusing to adopt foreign words skews more pride
than wisdom. This exclusiveness cannot last.

As for us we take words from all languages and all sources, provided they
suit the genius of our own language. We love to see our riches increase;
we even steal from the poor, but to do so is the general characteristic
of the rich.

The amiable marchioness gave us a delicious dinner in a house designed by
Palladio. Chiaccheri had warned me to say nothing about the Shepherdess
Fortuna; but at dinner she told him she was sure he had taken me to her
house. He had not the face to deny it, and I did not conceal the pleasure
I had received.

"Stratico admires Fortuna," said the marchioness, "and I confess that her
writings have great merit, but it's a pity one cannot go to the house,
except under an incognito."

"Why not?" I asked, in some astonishment.

"What!" said she to the abbe, "you did not tell him whose house it is?"

"I did not think it necessary, her father and mother rarely shew
themselves."

"Well, it's of no consequence."

"But what is her father?" I asked, "the hangman, perhaps?"

"Worse, he's the 'bargello', and you must see that a stranger cannot be
received into good society here if he goes to such places as that."

Chiaccheri looked rather hurt, and I thought it my duty to say that I
would not go there again till the eve of my departure.

"I saw her sister once," said the marchioness; "she is really charmingly
pretty, and it's a great pity that with her beauty and irreproachable
morality she should be condemned to marry a man of her father's class."

"I once knew a man named Coltellini," I replied; "he is the son of the
bargello of Florence, and is poet-in-ordinary to the Empress of Russia. I
shall try to make a match between him and Fortuna's sister; he is a young
man of the greatest talents."

The marchioness thought my idea an excellent one, but soon after I heard
that Coltellini was dead.

The 'bargello' is a cordially-detested person all over Italy, if you
except Modena, where the weak nobility make much of the 'bargello', and
do justice to his excellent table. This is a curious fact, for as a rule
these bargellos are spies, liars, traitors, cheats, and misanthropes, for
a man despised hates his despisers.

At Sienna I was shewn a Count Piccolomini, a learned and agreeable man.
He had a strange whim, however, of spending six months in the year in the
strictest seclusion in his own house, never going out and never seeing
any company; reading and working the whole time. He certainly did his
best to make up for his hibernation during the other six months in the
year.

The marchioness promised she would come to Rome in the course of the
summer. She had there an intimate friend in Bianconi who had abandoned
the practice of medicine, and was now the representative of the Court of
Saxony.

On the eve of my departure, the driver who was to take me to Rome came
and asked me if I would like to take a travelling companion, and save
myself three sequins.

"I don't want anyone."

"You are wrong, for she is very beautiful."

"Is she by herself?"

"No, she is with a gentleman on horseback, who wishes to ride all the way
to Rome."

"Then how did the girl come here?"

"On horseback, but she is tired out, and cannot bear it any longer. The
gentleman has offered me four sequins to take her to Rome, and as I am a
poor man I think you might let me earn the money."

"I suppose he will follow the carriage?"

"He can go as he likes; that can't make much difference to either of us."

"You say she is young and pretty."

"I have been told so, but I haven't seen her myself."

"What sort of a man is her companion?"

"He's a fine man, but he can speak very little Italian."

"Has he sold the lady's horse?"

"No, it was hired. He has only one trunk, which will go behind the
carriage."

"This is all very strange. I shall not give any decision before speaking
to this man."

"I will tell him to wait on you."

Directly afterwards, a brisk-looking young fellow, carrying himself well
enough, and clad in a fancy uniform, came in. He told me the tale I had
heard from the coachman, and ended by saying that he was sure I would not
refuse to accommodate his wife in my carriage.

"Your wife, sir?"

I saw he was a Frenchman, and I addressed him in French.

"God be praised! You can speak my native tongue. Yes, sir, she is an
Englishwoman and my wife. I am sure she will be no trouble to you."

"Very good. I don't want to start later than I had arranged. Will she be
ready at five o'clock?"

"Certainly."

The next morning when I got into my carriage, I found her already there.
I paid her some slight compliment, and sat down beside her, and we drove
off.



CHAPTER XII

Miss Betty--The Comte de L'Etoile--Sir B * * * M * * *--Reassured

This was the fourth adventure I had had of this kind. There is nothing
particularly out of the common in having a fellow-traveller in one's
carriage; this time, however, the affair had something decidedly romantic
about it.

I was forty-five, and my purse contained two hundred sequins. I still
loved the fair sex, though my ardour had decreased, my experience had
ripened, and my caution increased. I was more like a heavy father than a
young lover, and I limited myself to pretensions of the most modest
character.

The young person beside me was pretty and gentle-looking, she was neatly
though simply dressed in the English fashion, she was fair and small, and
her budding breast could be seen outlined beneath the fine muslin of her
dress. She had all the appearances of modesty and noble birth, and
something of virginal innocence, which inspired one with attachment and
respect at the same time.

"I hope you can speak French madam?" I began.

"Yes, and a little Italian too."

"I congratulate myself on having you for my travelling companion."

"I think you should congratulate me."

"I heard you came to Sienna on horseback."

"Yes, but I will never do such a foolish thing again."

"I think your husband would have been wise to sell his horse and buy a
carriage."

"He hired it; it does not belong to him. From Rome we are going to drive
to Naples."

"You like travelling?"

"Very much, but with greater comfort."

With these words the English girl, whose white skin did not look as if it
could contain a drop of blood, blushed most violently.

I guessed something of her secret, and begged pardon; and for more than
an hour I remain silent, pretending to gaze at the scenery, but in
reality thinking of her, for she began to inspire me with a lively
interest.

Though the position of my young companion was more than equivocal, I
determined to see my way clearly before I took any decisive step; and I
waited patiently till we got to Bon Couvent, where we expected to dine
and meet the husband.

We got there at ten o'clock.

In Italy the carriages never go faster than a walk; a man on foot can
outstrip them, as they rarely exceed three miles an hour. The tedium of a
journey under such circumstances is something dreadful, and in the hot
months one has to stop five or six hours in the middle of the day to
avoid falling ill.

My coachman said he did not want to go beyond St. Quirico, where there
was an excellent inn, that night, so he proposed waiting at Bon Couvent
till four o'clock. We had therefore six hours wherein to rest.

The English girl was astonished at not finding her husband, and looked
for him in all directions. I noticed her, and asked the landlord what had
become of him. He informed us that he had breakfasted and baited his
horse, and had then gone on, leaving word that he would await us at St.
Quirico and order supper there.

I thought it all very strange, but I said nothing. The poor girl begged
me to excuse her husband's behaviour.

"He has given me a mark of his confidence, madam, and there is nothing to
be offended at."

The landlord asked me if the vetturino paid my expenses, and I answered
in the negative; and the girl then told him to ask the vetturino if he
was paying for her.

The man came in, and to convince the lady that providing her with meals
was not in the contract, he gave her a paper which she handed to me to
read. It was signed "Comte de l'Etoile."

When she was alone with me my young companion begged me only to order
dinner for myself.

I understood her delicacy, and this made her all the dearer to me.

"Madame," said I, "you must please look upon me as an old friend. I guess
you have no money about you, and that you wish to fast from motives of
delicacy. Your husband shall repay me, if he will have it so. If I told
the landlord to only prepare dinner for myself I should be dishonouring
the count, yourself possibly, and myself most of all."

"I feel you are right sir. Let dinner be served for two, then; but I
cannot eat, for I feel ill, and I hope you will not mind my lying on the
bed for a moment."

"Pray do not let me disturb you. This is a pleasant room, and they can
lay the table in the next. Lie down, and sleep if you can, and I will
order dinner to be ready by two. I hope you will be feeling better by
then."

I left her without giving her time to answer, and went to order dinner.

I had ceased to believe the Frenchman to be the beautiful Englishwoman's
husband, and began to think I should have to fight him.

The case, I felt certain, was one of elopement and seduction; and,
superstitious as usual, I was sure that my good genius had sent me in the
nick of time to save her and care for her, and in short to snatch her
from the hands of her infamous deceiver.

Thus I fondled my growing passion.

I laughed at the absurd title the rascal had given himself, and when the
thought struck me that he had possibly abandoned her to me altogether, I
made up my mind that he deserved hanging. Nevertheless, I resolved never
to leave her.

I lay down on the bed, and as I built a thousand castles in the air I
fell asleep.

The landlady awoke me softly, saying that three o'clock had struck.

"Wait a moment before you bring in the dinner. I will go and see if the
lady is awake."

I opened the door gently, and saw she was still asleep, but as I closed
the door after me the noise awoke her, and she asked if I had dined.

"I shall not take any dinner, madam, unless you do me the honour to dine
with me. You have had a five hours' rest, and I hope you are better."

"I will sit down with you to dinner, as you wish it."

"That makes me happy, and I will order dinner to be served forthwith."

She ate little, but what little she did eat was taken with a good
appetite. She was agreeably surprised to see the beefsteaks and plum
pudding, which I had ordered for her.

When the landlady came in, she asked her if the cook was an Englishman,
and when she heard that I had given directions for the preparation of her
national dishes, she seemed full of gratitude. She cheered up, and
congratulated me on my appetite, while I encouraged her to drink some
excellent Montepulciano and Montefiascone. By dessert she was in good
spirits, while I felt rather excited. She told me, in Italian, that she
was born in London, and I thought I should have died with joy, in reply
to my question whether she knew Madame Cornelis, she replied that she had
known her daughter as they had been at school together.

"Has Sophie grown tall?"

"No, she is quite small, but she is very pretty, and so clever."

"She must now be seventeen."

"Exactly. We are of the same age."

As she said this she blushed and lowered her eyes.

"Are you ill?"

"Not at all. I scarcely like to say it, but Sophie is the very image of
you."

"Why should you hesitate to say so? It has been remarked to me before. No
doubt it is a mere coincidence. How long ago is it since you have seen
her?"

"Eighteen months; she went back to her mother's, to be married as it was
said, but I don't know to whom."

"Your news interests me deeply."

The landlord brought me the bill, and I saw a note of three pains which
her husband had spent on himself and his horse.

"He said you would pay," observed the landlord.

The Englishwoman blushed. I paid the bill, and we went on.

I was delighted to see her blushing, it proved she was not a party to her
husband's proceedings.

I was burning with the desire to know how she had left London and had met
the Frenchman, and why they were going to Rome; but I did not want to
trouble her by my questions, and I loved her too well already to give her
any pain.

We had a three hours' drive before us, so I turned the conversation to
Sophie, with whom she had been at school.

"Was Miss Nancy Steyne there when you left?" said I.

The reader may remember how fond I had been of this young lady, who had
dined with me, and whom I had covered with kisses, though she was only
twelve.

My companion sighed at hearing the name of Nancy, and told me that she
had left.

"Was she pretty when you knew her?"

"She was a beauty, but her loveliness was a fatal gift to her. Nancy was
a close friend of mine, we loved each other tenderly; and perhaps our
sympathy arose from the similarity of the fate in store for us. Nancy,
too loving and too simple, is now, perhaps, even more unhappy than
myself."

"More unhappy? What do you mean?"

"Alas!"

"Is it possible that fate has treated you harshly? Is it possible that
you can be unhappy with such a letter of commendation as nature has given
you?"

"Alas! let us speak of something else."

Her countenance was suffused with emotion. I pitied her in secret, and
led the conversation back to Nancy.

"Tell me why you think Nancy is unhappy."

"She ran away with a young man she loved; they despaired of gaining the
parents' consent to the match. Since her flight nothing has been heard of
her, and you see I have some reason to fear that she is unhappy."

"You are right. I would willingly give my life if it could be the saving
of her."

"Where did you know her?"

"In my own house. She and Sophie dined with me, and her father came in at
the end of the meal."

"Now I know who you are. How often have I heard Sophie talking of you.
Nancy loved you as well as her father. I heard that you had gone to
Russia, and had fought a duel with a general in Poland. Is this true? How
I wish I could tell dear Sophie all this, but I may not entertain such
hopes now."

"You have heard the truth about me; but what should prevent you writing
what you like to England? I take a lively interest in you, trust in me,
and I promise you that you shall communicate with whom you please."

"I am vastly obliged to you."

With these words she became silent, and I left her to her thoughts.

At seven o'clock we arrived at St. Quirico, and the so-called Comte de
l'Etoile came out and welcomed his wife in the most loving fashion,
kissing her before everybody, no doubt with the object of giving people
to understand that she was his wife, and I her father.

The girl responded to all his caresses, looking as if a load had been
lifted off her breast, and without a word of reproach she went upstairs
with him, having apparently forgotten my existence. I set that down to
love, youth, and the forgetfulness natural to that early age.

I went upstairs in my turn with my carpet bag, and supper was served
directly, as we had to start very early the next morning if we wished to
reach Radicofani before the noonday heat.

We had an excellent supper, as the count had preceded us by six hours,
and the landlord had had plenty of time to make his preparations. The
English girl seemed as much in love with de l'Etoile as he with her, and
I was left completely out in the cold. I cannot describe the high
spirits, the somewhat risky sallies, and the outrageous humours of the
young gentleman; the girl laughed with all her heart, and I could not
help laughing too.

I considered that I was present at a kind of comedy, and not a gesture,
not a word, not a laugh did I allow to escape me.

"He may be merely a rich and feather-brained young officer," I said to
myself, "who treats everything in this farcical manner. He won't be the
first of the species I have seen. They are amusing, but frivolous, and
sometimes dangerous, wearing their honour lightly, and too apt to carry
it at the sword's point."

On this hypothesis I was ill pleased with my position. I did not much
like his manner towards myself; he seemed to be making a dupe of me, and
behaved all the while as if he were doing me an honour.

On the supposition that the Englishwoman was his wife, his treatment of
myself was certainly not warranted, and I was not the man to play zero. I
could not disguise the fact, however, that any onlooker would have
pronounced me to be playing an inferior part.

There were two beds in the room where we had our supper. When the
chambermaid came to put on the sheets, I told her to give me another
room. The count politely begged me to sleep in the same room with them,
and the lady remained neutral; but I did not much care for their company,
and insisted on leaving them alone.

I had my carpet bag taken to my room, wished them a good night and locked
myself in. My friends had only one small trunk, whence I concluded that
they had sent on their luggage by another way; but they did not even have
the trunk brought up to their room. I went to bed tranquilly, feeling
much less interested about the lady than I had been on the journey.

I was roused early in the morning, and made a hasty toilette. I could
hear my neighbours dressing, so I half opened my door, and wished them
good day without going into their room.

In a quarter of an hour I heard the sound of a dispute in the court-yard,
and on looking out, there were the Frenchman and the vetturino arguing
hotly. The vetturino held the horse's bridle, and the pretended count did
his best to snatch it away from him.

I guessed the bone of contention: the Frenchman had no money, and the
vetturino asked in vain for his due. I knew that I should be drawn into
the dispute, and was making up my mind to do my duty without mercy, when
the Count de l'Etoile came in and said,--

"This blockhead does not understand what I say to him; but as he may have
right on his side, I must ask you to give him two sequins. I will return
you the money at Rome. By an odd chance I happen to have no money about
me, but the fellow might trust me as he has got my trunk. However, he
says he must be paid, so will you kindly oblige me? You shall hear more
of me at Rome."

Without waiting for me to reply, the rascal went out and ran down the
stairs. The vetturino remained in the room. I put my head out of the
window, and saw him leap on horseback and gallop away.

I sat down on my bed, and turned the scene over in my mind, rubbing my
hands gently. At last I went off into a mad roar of laughter; it struck
me as so whimsical and original an adventure.

"Laugh too," said I to the lady, "laugh or I will never get up."

"I agree with you that it's laughable enough, but I have not the spirit
to laugh."

"Well, sit down at all events."

I gave the poor devil of a vetturino two sequins, telling him that I
should like some coffee and to start in a quarter of an hour.

I was grieved to see my companion's sadness.

"I understand your grief," said I, "but you must try to overcome it. I
have only one favour to ask of you, and if you refuse to grant me that, I
shall be as sad as you, so we shall be rather a melancholy couple."

"What can I do for you?"

"You can tell me on your word of honour whether that extraordinary
character is your husband, or only your lover."

"I will tell you the simple truth; he is not my husband, but we are going
to be married at Rome."

"I breathe again. He never shall be your husband, and so much the better
for you. He has seduced you, and you love him, but you will soon get over
that."

"Never, unless he deceives me."

"He has deceived you already. I am sure he has told you that he is rich,
that he is a man of rank, and that he will make you happy; and all that
is a lie."

"How can you know all this?"

"Experience--experience is my great teacher. Your lover is a young
feather-brain, a man of no worth. He might possibly marry you, but it
would be only to support himself by the sale of your charms."

"He loves me; I am sure of it."

"Yes, he loves you, but not with the love of a man of honour. Without
knowing my name, or my character, or anything about me, he delivered you
over to my tender mercies. A man of any delicacy would never abandon his
loved one thus."

"He is not jealous. You know Frenchmen are not."

"A man of honour is the same in France, and England, and Italy, and all
the world over. If he loved you, would he have left you penniless in this
fashion? What would you do, if I were inclined to play the brutal lover?
You may speak freely."

"I should defend myself."

"Very good; then I should abandon you here, and what would you do then?
You are pretty, you are a woman of sensibility, but many men would take
but little account of your virtue. Your lover has left you to me; for all
he knew I might be the vilest wretch; but as it is, cheer up, you have
nothing to fear.

"How can you think that adventurer loves you? He is a mere monster. I am
sorry that what I say makes you weep, but it must be said. I even dare
tell you that I have taken a great liking to you; but you may feel quite
sure that I shall not ask you to give me so much as a kiss, and I will
never abandon you. Before we get to Rome I shall convince you that the
count, as he calls himself, not only does not love you, but is a common
swindler as well as a deceiver."

"You will convince me of that?"

"Yes, on my word of honour! Dry your eyes, and let us try to make this
day pass as pleasantly as yesterday. You cannot imagine how glad I feel
that chance has constituted me your protector. I want you to feel assured
of my friendship, and if you do not give me a little love in return, I
will try and bear it patiently."

The landlord came in and brought the bill for the count and his mistress
as well as for myself. I had expected this, and paid it without a word,
and without looking at the poor wandering sheep beside me. I recollected
that too strong medicines kill, and do not cure, and I was afraid I had
said almost too much.

I longed to know her history, and felt sure I should hear it before we
reached Rome. We took some coffee and departed, and not a word passed
between us till we got to the inn at La Scala, where we got down.

The road from La Scala to Radicofani is steep and troublesome. The
vetturino would require an extra horse, and even then would have taken
four hours. I decided, therefore, to take two post horses, and not to
begin the journey till ten o'clock.

"Would it not be better to go on now?" said the English girl; "it will be
very hot from ten till noon."

"Yes, but the Comte de l'Ltoile, whom we should be sure to meet at
Radicofani, would not like to see me."

"Why not? I am sure he would."

If I had told her my reason she would have wept anew, so in pity I spared
her. I saw that she was blinded by love, and could not see the true
character of her lover. It would be impossible to cure her by gentle and
persuasive argument; I must speak sharply, the wound must be subjected to
the actual cautery. But was virtue the cause of all this interest? Was it
devotion to a young and innocent girl that made me willing to undertake
so difficult and so delicate a task? Doubtless these motives went for
something, but I will not attempt to strut in borrowed plumes, and must
freely confess that if she had been ugly and stupid I should probably
have left her to her fate. In short, selfishness was at the bottom of it
all, so let us say no more about virtue.

My true aim was to snatch this delicate morsel from another's hand that I
might enjoy it myself. I did not confess as much to myself, for I could
never bear to calmly view my own failings, but afterwards I came to the
conclusion that I acted a part throughout. Is selfishness, then, the
universal motor of our actions? I am afraid it is.

I made Betty (such was her name) take a country walk with me, and the
scenery there is so beautiful that no poet nor painter could imagine a
more delicious prospect. Betty spoke Tuscan with English idioms and an
English accent, but her voice was so silvery and clear that her Italian
was delightful to listen to. I longed to kiss her lips as they spoke so
sweetly, but I respected her and restrained myself.

We were walking along engaged in agreeable converse, when all at once we
heard the church bells peal out. Betty said she had never seen a Catholic
service, and I was glad to give her that pleasure. It was the feast day
of some local saint, and Betty assisted at high mass with all propriety,
imitating the gestures of the people, so that no one would have taken her
for a Protestant. After it was over, she said she thought the Catholic
rite was much more adapted to the needs of loving souls than the
Angelican. She was astonished at the southern beauty of the village
girls, whom she pronounced to be much handsomer that the country lasses
in England. She asked me the time, and I replied without thinking that I
wondered she had not got a watch. She blushed and said the count had
asked her to give it him to leave in pawn for the horse he hired.

I was sorry for what I had said, for I had put Betty, who was incapable
of a lie, to great pain.

We started at ten o'clock with three horses, and as a cool wind was
blowing we had a pleasant drive, arriving at Radicofani at noon.

The landlord, who was also the postmaster, asked if I would pay three
pauls which the Frenchman had expended for his horse and himself,
assuring the landlord that his friend would pay.

For Betty's sake I said I would pay; but this was not all.

"The gentleman," added the man, "has beaten three of my postillions with
his naked sword. One of them was wounded in the face, and he has followed
his assailant, and will make him pay dearly for it. The reason of the
assault was that they wanted to detain him till he had paid."

"You were wrong to allow violence to be used; he does not look like a
thief, and you might have taken it for granted that I should pay."

"You are mistaken; I was not obliged to take anything of the sort for
granted; I have been cheated in this sort many times before. Your dinner
is ready if you want any."

Poor Betty was in despair. She observed a distressed silence; and I tried
to raise her spirits, and to make her eat a good dinner, and to taste the
excellent Muscat, of which the host had provided an enormous flask.

All my efforts were in vain, so I called the vetturino to tell him that I
wanted to start directly after dinner. This order acted on Betty like
magic.

"You mean to go as far as Centino, I suppose," said the man. "We had
better wait there till the heat is over."

"No, we must push on, as the lady's husband may be in need of help. The
wounded postillion has followed him; and as he speaks Italian very
imperfectly, there's no knowing what may happen to him."

"Very good; we will go off."

Betty looked at me with the utmost gratitude; and by way of proving it,
she pretended to have a good appetite. She had noticed that this was a
certain way of pleasing me.

While we were at dinner I ordered up one of the beaten postillions, and
heard his story. He was a frank rogue; he said he had received some blows
with the flat of the sword, but he boasted of having sent a stone after
the Frenchman which must have made an impression on him.

I gave him a Paul, and promised to make it a crown if he would go to
Centino to bear witness against his comrade, and he immediately began to
speak up for the count, much to Betty's amusement. He said the man's
wound in the face was a mere scratch, and that he had brought it on
himself, as he had no business to oppose a traveller as he had done. By
way of comfort he told us that the Frenchman had only been hit by two or
three stones. Betty did not find this very consoling, but I saw that the
affair was more comic than tragic, and would end in nothing. The
postillion went off, and we followed him in half an hour.

Betty was tranquil enough till we got there, and heard that the count had
gone on to Acquapendente with the two postillions at his heels; she
seemed quite vexed. I told her that all would be well; that the count
knew how to defend himself; but she only answered me with a deep sigh.

I suspected that she was afraid we should have to pass the night
together, and that I would demand some payment for all the trouble I had
taken.

"Would you like us to go on to Acquapendente?" I asked her.

At this question her face beamed all over; she opened her arms, and I
embraced her.

I called the vetturino, and told him. I wanted to go on to Acquapendente
immediately.

The fellow replied that his horses were in the stable, and that he was
not going to put them in; but that I could have post horses if I liked.

"Very good. Get me two horses immediately."

It is my belief that, if I had liked, Betty would have given me
everything at that moment, for she let herself fall into my arms. I
pressed her tenderly and kissed her, and that was all She seemed grateful
for my self-restraint.

The horses were put in, and after I had paid the landlord for the supper,
which he swore he had prepared for us, we started.

We reached Acquapendente in three quarters of an hour, and we found the
madcap count in high spirits. He embraced his Dulcinea with transports,
and Betty seemed delighted to find him safe and sound. He told us
triumphantly that he had beaten the rascally postillions, and had warded
their stones off.

"Where's the slashed postillion?" I asked.

"He is drinking to my health with his comrade; they have both begged my
pardon."

"Yes," said Betty, "this gentleman gave him a crown."

"What a pity! You shouldn't have given them anything."

Before supper the Comte de l'Etoile skewed us the bruises on his thighs
and side; the rascal was a fine well-made fellow. However, Betty's
adoring airs irritated me, though I was consoled at the thought of the
earnest I had received from her.

Next day, the impudent fellow told me that he would order us a good
supper at Viterbo, and that of course I would lend him a sequin to pay
for his dinner at Montefiascone. So saying, he skewed me in an off-hand
way a bill of exchange on Rome for three thousand crowns.

I did not trouble to read it, and gave him the sequin, though I felt sure
I should never see it again.

Betty now treated me quite confidentially, and I felt I might ask her
almost any questions.

When we were at Montefiascone she said,--

"You see my lover is only without money by chance; he has a bill of
exchange for a large amount."

"I believe it to be a forgery."

"You are really too cruel."

"Not at all; I only wish I were mistaken, but I am sure of the contrary.
Twenty years ago I should have taken it for a good one, but now it's
another thing, and if the bill is a good one, why did he not negotiate it
at Sienna, Florence, or Leghorn?"

"It may be that he had not the time; he was in such a hurry to be gone.
Ah! if you knew all!"

"I only want to know what you like to tell me, but I warn you again that
what I say is no vague suspicion but hard fact."

"Then you persist in the idea that he does not love me."

"Nay, he loves you, but in such a fashion as to deserve hatred in
return."

"How do you mean?"

"Would you not hate a man who loved you only to traffic in your charms?"

"I should be sorry for you to think that of him."

"If you like, I will convince you of what I say this evening."

"You will oblige me; but I must have some positive proof. It would be a
sore pain to me, but also a true service."

"And when you are convinced, will you cease to love him?"

"Certainly; if you prove him to be dishonest, my love will vanish away."

"You are mistaken; you will still love him, even when you have had proof
positive of his wickedness. He has evidently fascinated you in a deadly
manner, or you would see his character in its true light before this."

"All this may be true; but do you give me your proofs, and leave to me
the care of shewing that I despise him."

"I will prove my assertions this evening; but tell me how long you have
known him?"

"About a month; but we have only been together for five days."

"And before that time you never accorded him any favours?"

"Not a single kiss. He was always under my windows, and I had reason to
believe that he loved me fondly."

"Oh, yes! he loves you, who would not? but his love is not that of a man
of honour, but that of an impudent profligate."

"But how can you suspect a man of whom you know nothing?"

"Would that I did not know him! I feel sure that not being able to visit
you, he made you visit him, and then persuaded you to fly with him."

"Yes, he did. He wrote me a letter, which I will shew you. He promises to
marry me at Rome."

"And who is to answer for his constancy?"

"His love is my surety."

"Do you fear pursuit?"

"No."

"Did he take you from a father, a lover, or a brother?"

"From a lover, who will not be back at Leghorn for a week or ten days."

"Where has he gone?"

"To London on business; I was under the charge of a woman whom he
trusted."

"That's enough; I pity you, my poor Betty. Tell me if you love your
Englishman, and if he is worthy of your love."

"Alas! I loved him dearly till I saw this Frenchman, who made me
unfaithful to a man I adored. He will be in despair at not finding me
when he returns."

"Is he rich?"

"Not very; he is a business man, and is comfortably off."

"Is he young?"

"No. He is a man of your age, and a thoroughly kind and honest person. He
was waiting for his consumptive wife to die to marry me."

"Poor man! Have you presented him with a child?"

"No. I am sure God did not mean me for him, for the count has conquered
me completely."

"Everyone whom love leads astray says the same thing."

"Now you have heard everything, and I am glad I told you, for I am sure
you are my friend."

"I will be a better friend to you, dear Betty, in the future than in the
past. You will need my services, and I promise not to abandon you. I love
you, as I have said; but so long as you continue to love the Frenchman I
shall only ask you to consider me as your friend."

"I accept your promise, and in return I promise not to hide anything from
you."

"Tell me why you have no luggage."

"I escaped on horseback, but my trunk, which is full of linen and other
effects, will be at Rome two days after us. I sent it off the day before
my escape, and the man who received it was sent by the count."

"Then good-bye to your trunk!"

"Why, you foresee nothing but misfortune!"

"Well, dear Betty, I only wish my prophecies may not be accomplished.
Although you escaped on horseback I think you should have brought a cloak
and a carpet bag with some linen."

"All that is in the small trunk; I shall have it taken into my room
tonight."

We reached Viterbo at seven o'clock, and found the count very cheerful.

In accordance with the plot I had laid against the count, I began by
shewing myself demonstratively fond of Betty, envying the fortunate
lover, praising his heroic behaviour in leaving her to me, and so forth.

The silly fellow proceeded to back me up in my extravagant admiration. He
boasted that jealousy was utterly foreign to his character, and
maintained that the true lover would accustom himself to see his mistress
inspire desires in other men.

He proceeded to make a long dissertation on this theme, and I let him go
on, for I was waiting till after supper to come to the conclusive point.

During the meal I made him drink, and applauded his freedom from vulgar
prejudices. At dessert he enlarged on the duty of reciprocity between
lovers.

"Thus," he remarked, "Betty ought to procure me the enjoyment of Fanny,
if she has reason to think I have taken a fancy to her; and per contra,
as I adore Betty, if I found that she loved you I should procure her the
pleasure of sleeping with you."

Betty listened to all this nonsense in silent astonishment.

"I confess, my dear count," I replied, "that, theoretically speaking,
your system strikes me as sublime, and calculated to bring about the
return of the Golden Age; but I am afraid it would prove absurd in
practice. No doubt you are a man of courage, but I am sure you would
never let your mistress be enjoyed by another man. Here are twenty-five
sequins. I will wager that amount that you will not allow me to sleep
with your wife."

"Ha! ha! You are mistaken in me, I assure you. I'll bet fifty sequins
that I will remain in the room a calm spectator of your exploits. My dear
Betty, we must punish this sceptic; go to bed with him."

"You are joking."

"Not at all; to bed with you, I shall love you all the more."

"You must be crazy, I shall do nothing of the kind."

The count took her in his arms, and caressing her in the tenderest manner
begged her to do him this favour, not so much for the twenty-five Louis,
as to convince me that he was above vulgar prejudices. His caresses
became rather free, but Betty repulsed him gently though firmly, saying
that she would never consent, and that he had already won the bet, which
was the case; in fine the poor girl besought him to kill her rather than
oblige her to do a deed which she thought infamous.

Her words, and the pathetic voice with which they were uttered, should
have shamed him, but they only put him into a furious rage. He repulsed
her, calling her the vilest names, and finally telling her that she was a
hypocrite, and he felt certain she had already granted me all a worthless
girl could grant.

Betty grew pale as death, and furious in my turn, I ran for my sword. I
should probably have run him through, if the infamous scoundrel had not
fled into the next room, where he locked himself in.

I was in despair at seeing Betty's distress, of which I had been the
innocent cause, and I did my best to soothe her.

She was in an alarming state. Her breath came with difficulty, her eyes
seemed ready to start out of her head, her lips were bloodless and
trembling, and her teeth shut tight together. Everyone in the inn was
asleep. I could not call for help, and all I could do was to dash water
in her face, and speak soothing words.

At last she fell asleep, and I remained beside her for more than two
hours, attentive to her least movements, and hoping that she would awake
strengthened and refreshed.

At day-break I heard l'Etoile going off, and I was glad of it. The people
of the inn knocked at our door, and then Betty awoke.

"Are you ready to go, my dear Betty?"

"I am much better, but I should so like a cup of tea."

The Italians cannot make tea, so I took what she gave me, and went to
prepare it myself.

When I came back I found her inhaling the fresh morning air at the
window. She seemed calm, and I hoped I had cured her. She drank a few
cups of tea (of which beverage the English are very fond), and soon
regained her good looks.

She heard some people in the room where we had supped, and asked me if I
had taken up the purse which I had placed on the table. I had forgotten
it completely.

I found my purse and a piece of paper bearing the words, "bill of
exchange for three thousand crowns." The impostor had taken it out of his
pocket in making his bet, and had forgotten it. It was dated at Bordeaux,
drawn on a wine merchant at Paris to l'Etoile's order. It was payable at
sight, and was for six months. The whole thing was utterly irregular.

I took it to Betty, who told me she knew nothing about bills, and begged
me to say nothing more about that infamous fellow. She then said, in a
voice of which I can give no idea,--

"For pity's sake do not abandon a poor girl, more worthy of compassion
than blame!"

I promised her again to have all a father's care for her, and soon after
we proceeded on our journey.

The poor girl fell asleep, and I followed her example. We were awoke by
the vetturino who informed us, greatly to our astonishment, that we were
at Monterosi. We had slept for six hours, and had done eighteen miles.

We had to stay at Monterosi till four o'clock, and we were glad of it,
for we needed time for reflection.

In the first place I asked about the wretched deceiver, and was told that
he had made a slight meal, paid for it, and said he was going to spend
the night at La Storta.

We made a good dinner, and Betty plucking up a spirit said we must
consider the case of her infamous betrayer, but for the last time.

"Be a father to me," said she; "do not advise but command; you may reckon
on my obedience. I have no need to give you any further particulars, for
you have guessed all except the horror with which the thought of my
betrayer now inspires me. If it had not been for you, he would have
plunged me into an abyss of shame and misery."

"Can you reckon on the Englishman forgiving you?"

"I think so."

"Then we must go back to Leghorn. Are you strong enough to follow this
counsel? I warn you that if you approve of it, it must be put into
execution at once. Young, pretty, and virtuous as you are, you need not
imagine that I shall allow you to go by yourself, or in the company of
strangers. If you think I love you, and find me worthy of your esteem,
that is sufficient regard for me. I will live with you like a father, if
you are not in a position to give me marks of a more ardent affection. Be
sure I will keep faith with you, for I want to redeem your opinion of
men, and to shew you that there are men as honourable as your seducer was
vile."

Betty remained for a quarter of an hour in profound silence, her head
resting on her elbows, and her eyes fixed on mine. She did not seem
either angry or astonished, but as far as I could judge was lost in
thought. I was glad to see her reflective, for thus she would be able to
give me a decided answer: At last she said:

"You need not think, my dear friend, that my silence proceeds from
irresolution. If my mind were not made up already I should despise
myself. I am wise enough at any rate to appreciate the wisdom of your
generous counsels. I thank Providence that I have fallen into the hands
of such a man who will treat me as if I were his daughter."

"Then we will go back to Leghorn, and start immediately."

"My only doubt is how to manage my reconciliation with Sir B---- M----. I
have no doubt he will pardon me eventually; but though he is tender and
good-hearted he is delicate where a point of honour is concerned, and
Subject to sudden fits of violence. This is what I want to avoid; for he
might possibly kill me, and then I should be the cause of his ruin."

"You must consider it on the way, and tell me any plans you may think
of."

"He is an intelligent man, and it would be hopeless to endeavour to dupe
him by a lie. I must make a full confession in writing without hiding a
single circumstance; for if he thought he was being duped his fury would
be terrible. If you will write to him you must not say that you think me
worthy of forgiveness; you must tell him the facts and leave him to judge
for himself. He will be convinced of my repentance when he reads the
letter I shall bedew with my tears, but he must not know of my
whereabouts till he has promised to forgive me. He is a slave to his word
of honour, and we shall live together all our days without my ever
hearing of this slip. I am only sorry that I have behaved so foolishly."

"You must not be offended if I ask you whether you have ever given him
like cause for complaint before."

"Never."

"What is his history?"

"He lived very unhappily with his first wife; and he was divorced from
his second wife for sufficient reasons. Two years ago he came to our
school with Nancy's father, and made my acquaintance. My father died, his
creditors seized everything, and I had to leave the school, much to
Nancy's distress and that of the other pupils. At this period Sir
B---- M---- took charge of me, and gave me a sum which placed me beyond the
reach of, want for the rest of my days. I was grateful, and begged him to
take me with him when he told me he was leaving England. He was
astonished; and, like a man of honour, said he loved me too well to
flatter himself that we could travel together without his entertaining
more ardent feelings for me than those of a father. He thought it out of
the question for me to love him, save as a daughter.

"This declaration, as you may imagine, paved the way for a full
agreement."

"'However you love me,' I said, 'I shall be well pleased, and if I can do
anything for you I shall be all the happier.'

"He then gave me of his own free will a written promise to marry me on
the death of his wife. We started on our travels, and till my late
unhappy connection I never gave him the slightest cause for complaint."

"Dry your eyes, dear Betty, he is sure to forgive you. I have friends at
Leghorn, and no one shall find out that we have made acquaintance. I will
put you in good hands, and I shall not leave the town till I hear you are
back with Sir B---- M----. If he prove inexorable I promise never to
abandon you, and to take you back to England if you like."

"But how can you spare the time?"

"I will tell you the truth, my dear Betty. I have nothing particular to
do at Rome, or anywhere else. London and Rome are alike to me."

"How can I shew my gratitude to you?"

I summoned the vetturino, and told him we must return to Viterbo. He
objected, but I convinced him with a couple of piastres, and by agreeing
to use the post horses and to spare his own animals.

We got to Viterbo by seven o'clock, and asked anxiously if no one had
found a pocket-book which I pretended I had lost. I was told no such
thing had been found, so I ordered supper with calmness, although
bewailing my loss. I told Betty that I acted in this sort to obviate any
difficulties which the vetturino might make about taking us back to
Sienna, as he might feel it his duty to place her in the hands of her
supposed husband. I had up the small trunk, and after we had forced the
lock Betty took out her cloak and the few effects she had in it, and we
then inspected the adventurer's properties, most likely all he possessed
in the world. A few tattered shirts, two or three pairs of mended silk
stockings, a pair of breeches, a hare's foot, a pot of grease, and a
score of little books-plays or comic operas, and lastly a packet of
letters; such were the contents of the trunk.

We proceeded to read the letters, and the first thing we noted was the
address: "To M. L'Etoile, Actor, at Marseilles, Bordeaux, Bayonne,
Montpellier, etc."

I pitied Betty. She saw herself the dupe of a vile actor, and her
indignation and shame were great.

"We will read it all to-morrow," said I; "to-day we have something else
to do."

The poor girl seemed to breathe again.

We got over our supper hastily, and then Betty begged me to leave her
alone for a few moments for her to change her linen and go to bed.

"If you like," said I, "I will have a bed made up for me in the next
room."

"No, dear friend, ought I not to love your society? What would have
become of me without you?"

I went out for a few minutes, and when I returned and came to her bedside
to wish her good night, she gave me such a warm embrace that I knew my
hour was come.

Reader, you must take the rest for granted. I was happy, and I had reason
to believe that Betty was happy also.

In the morning, we had just fallen asleep, when the vettuyino knocked at
the door.

I dressed myself hastily to see him.

"Listen," I said, "it is absolutely necessary for me to recover my
pocket-book, and I hope to find it at Acquapendente."

"Very good, sir, very good," said the rogue, a true Italian, "pay me as
if I had taken you to Rome, and a sequin a day for the future, and if you
like, I will take you to England on those terms."

The vetturino was evidently what is called wide awake. I gave him his
money, and we made a new agreement. At seven o'clock we stopped at
Montefiascone to write to Sir B---- M----, she in English, and I in
French.

Betty had now an air of satisfaction and assurance which I found
charming. She said she was full of hope, and seemed highly amused at the
thought of the figure which the actor would cut when he arrived at Rome
by himself. She hoped that we should come across the man in charge of her
trunk, and that we should have no difficulty in getting it back.

"He might pursue us."

"He dare not do so."

"I expect not, but if he does I will give him a warm welcome. If he does
not take himself off I will blow out his brains."

Before I began my letter to Sir B---- M----. Betty again warned me to
conceal nothing from him.

"Not even the reward you gave me?"

"Oh, yes! That is a little secret between ourselves."

In less than three hours the letters were composed and written. Betty was
satisfied with my letter; and her own, which she translated for my
benefit, was a perfect masterpiece of sensibility, which seemed to me
certain of success.

I thought of posting from Sienna, to ensure her being in a place of
safety before the arrival of her lover.

The only thing that troubled me was the bill of exchange left behind by
l'Etoile, for whether it were true or false, I felt bound to deal with it
in some way, but I could not see how it was to be done.

We set out again after dinner in spite of the heat, and arrived at
Acquapendente in the evening and spent the night in the delights of
mutual love.

As I was getting up in the morning I saw a carriage in front of the inn,
just starting for Rome. I imagined that amidst the baggage Betty's trunk
might be discovered, and I told her to get up, and see if it were there.
We went down, and Betty recognized the trunk she had confided to her
seducer.

We begged the vetturino to restore it to us, but he was inflexible; and
as he was in the right we had to submit. The only thing he could do was
to have an embargo laid on the trunk at Rome, the said embargo to last
for a month. A notary was called, and our claim properly drawn up. The
vetturino, who seemed an honest and intelligent fellow, assured us he had
received nothing else belonging to the Comte de l'Etoile, so we were
assured that the actor was a mere beggar on the lookout for pickings, and
that the rags in the small trunk were all his possessions.

After this business had been dispatched Betty brightened up amazingly.

"Heaven," she exclaimed, "is arranging everything. My mistake will serve
as a warning to me for the future, for the lesson has been a severe one,
and might have been much worse if I had not had the good fortune of
meeting you."

"I congratulate you," I replied, "on having cured yourself so quickly of
a passion that had deprived you of your reason."

"Ah! a woman's reason is a fragile thing. I shudder when I think of the
monster; but I verily believe that I should not have regained my senses
if he had not called me a hypocrite, and said that he was certain I had
already granted you my favours. These infamous words opened my eyes, and
made me see my shame. I believe I would have helped you to pierce him to
the heart if the coward had not run away. But I am glad he did run away,
not for his sake but for ours, for we should have been in an unpleasant
position if he had been killed."

"You are right; he escaped my sword because he is destined for the rope."

"Let him look to that himself, but I am sure he will never dare to shew
his face before you or me again."

We reached Radicofani at ten o'clock, and proceeded to write postscripts
to our letters to Sir B---- M---- We were sitting at the same table, Betty
opposite to the door and I close to it, so that anyone coming in could
not have seen me without turning round.

Betty was dressed with all decency and neatness, but I had taken off my
coat on account of the suffocating heat. Nevertheless, though I was in
shirt sleeves, I should not have been ashamed of my attire before the
most respectable woman in Italy.

All at once I heard a rapid step coming along the passage, and the door
was dashed open. A furious-looking man came in, and, seeing Betty, cried
out,--

"Ah! there you are."

I did not give him time to turn round and see me, but leapt upon him and
seized him by the shoulders. If I had not done so he would have shot me
dead on the spot.

As I leapt upon him I had involuntarily closed the door, and as he cried,
"Let me go, traitor!" Betty fell on her knees before him, exclaiming,
"No, no! he is my preserver."

Sir B---- M---- was too mad with rage to pay any attention to her, and kept
on,---

"Let me go, traitors!"

As may be imagined, I did not pay much attention to this request so long
as the loaded pistol was in his hand.

In our struggles he at last fell to the ground and I on top of him. The
landlord and his people had heard the uproar, and were trying to get in;
but as we had fallen against the door they could not do so.

Betty had the presence of mind to snatch the pistol from his hand, and I
then let him go, calmly observing,

"Sir, you are labouring under a delusion."

Again Betty threw herself on her knees, begging him to calm himself, as I
was her preserver not her betrayer.

"What do you mean by 'preserver'?" said B---- M----

Betty gave him the letter, saying,--

"Read that."

The Englishman read the letter through without rising from the ground,
and as I was certain of its effect I opened the door and told the
landlord to send his people away, and to get dinner for three, as
everything had been settled.





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