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THE COMPLETE MEMOIRS


OF


JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT

1725-1798



VOLUME 6 -- SPANISH PASSIONS


spines (178K)

Cover 6
Titlepage 6





Contents

VOLUME 6 — SPANISH PASSIONS


EPISODE 26 — SPAIN

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI


EPISODE 27 — EXPELLED FROM SPAIN

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII


EPISODE 28 — RETURN TO ROME

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII


EPISODE 29 — FLORENCE TO TRIESTE

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII


EPISODE 30 — OLD AGE AND DEATH OF CASANOVA


APPENDIX AND SUPPLEMENT


PART THE FIRST — VENICE 1774-1782

I — CASANOVA'S RETURN TO VENICE

II — RELATIONS WITH THE INQUISITORS

III — FRANCESCA BUSCHINI

IV — PUBLICATIONS

V — MLLE. X . . . C . . . V. . .

VI — LAST DAYS AT VENICE


PART THE SECOND — VIENNA-PARIS

I — 1783-1785

II — PARIS

III — VIENNA

IV — LETTERS FROM FRANCESCA

V — LAST DAYS AT VIENNA


PART THE THIRD — DUX — 1786-1798

I — THE CASTLE AT DUX

II — LETTERS FROM FRANCESCA

III — CORRESPONDENCE AND ACTIVITIES

IV — CORRESPONDENCE WITH JEAN-FERDINAND OPIZ

V — PUBLICATIONS

VI — SUMMARY of MY LIFE

VII — LAST DAYS AT DUX






List of Illustrations

Cover 6

Titlepage 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 15

Chapter 16










VOLUME 6 — SPANISH PASSIONS,





EPISODE 26 — SPAIN





CHAPTER I

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

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

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

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

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

"I see it."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I request you to return me that document."

"I will not do so. Begone!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Why not?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I will tell him what you say."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I see you do not remember me?"

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

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

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

"Mine?"

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

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

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

"Her house?"

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

"Is she pretty still?"

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

"Is she gallant?"

"I don't think so."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It runs as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What victory?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Your daughter must have grown into a beauty."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole table scouted my opinion.

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

I made no answer, but looked at Madame Vestri.

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

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

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

"No remedy?"

"No."

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

"Very good; but what must I do?"

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

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

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

"Very good."

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

Baletti had a beautiful little girl of three years old.

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

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

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

"And why not to-night?"

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

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

"No, I am quite serious."

"Are you a little crazy?"

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

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

The text ran:

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

For this I substituted:

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

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

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

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

"Oh, that would be too much trouble."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How is the prince?" said I.

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

"Does he know it?"

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

"And you told him the truth?"

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

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

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

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

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

"Then you lied just now?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What! The confessional . . . ."

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

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

"I do not tell you to go."

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

"Never."

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

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

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

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

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

"Where is this letter?"

"You shall have it in a moment."

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





CHAPTER II

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

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

"I haven't got one."

"All the better. Send away your carriage."

"Where shall I send it?"

"I will see that it is housed safely."

"How much am I to pay?"

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

"I accept your offer thankfully."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Forty louis at the least."

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

"Then I advise you to accept his offer."

"I haven't got the money."

"I will lend it you with pleasure."

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

"I thought trade was good with you."

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

"Do you only sell hats?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We are cousins-german," he replied.

"Is he rich?"

"Yes, in debts."

"Why?"

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

"How about his wife?"

"Her careful economy keeps him above water."

"Do you know the niece?"

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

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

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

"She is like that, is she?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Is she the same with all men?"

"With all."

"Then she has never been in love."

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

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

"She is not afraid."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Have you weighed it?"

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

"Then you can lend the money on it?"

"I cannot command such a sum."

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

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

"Then he may take his ring somewhere else."

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

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

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

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

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

"What have I said?"

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

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

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

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

Was it the Croce I knew?

It was very possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We are observed."

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

"The advantage is with you."

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

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

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

But to return to Croce and his dinner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was worded as follows:

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

"DORIVAL."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is this?"

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

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

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

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





CHAPTER III

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

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

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

"I give you my word with pleasure."

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

My brother laughed and said,—

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

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

"Is the reason known?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And turn Capuchin, I suppose?"

"You might do much worse."

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

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

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

"There's time enough for that."

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

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

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

"That would cost you too dearly."

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

"Well, we will sup with you."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You are right."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Quisquis amat ranam, ranam purat esse Dianam'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Why so?"

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

I only answered with a shrug of the shoulders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And if the father and mother refused?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Who is there?"

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

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

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

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

"Then you know this gentleman?"

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

"You speak the truth, senora."

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

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

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

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

"Then, will you mend me these boots?"

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

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

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

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





CHAPTER IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Where have I seen him?"

"Did he not bring you to my box?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You must come and ask her yourself."

"I will not fail to do so."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That may not be."

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

"Like that?"

"Yes."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Then I shall be sad, too."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I am sorry for that."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I admired her presence of mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Has your case been heard yet?"

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

"What kind of questions did they ask you?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is his name?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He promised he would keep the secret.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He said it, sure enough."

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

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

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

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

"M. de Casanova!"

I stepped forward and presented myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Alas! it is very likely."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I am engaged to Mengs."

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

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





CHAPTER V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What could I claim?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The innocent messenger went his way in great amazement.

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

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

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

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

'Turpius ejicitur quam non admittitur hospes.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We shall see which is right."

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

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

Here I must note another very sensible remark of his.

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

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

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

"He was such a great painter."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Where is he?"

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

"How can I dare to ask him?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He burst out laughing, and replied,—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Who obliged you to look at it?"

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

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

"Sir, you insult me."

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

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

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

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

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

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

I felt that my fault might be adjudged as great as Segur's, and not caring to run the risk of a like punishment I called on the bishop, who held the office of Grand Inquisitor, and told him word for word the conversation I had had with the iconoclast chaplain. I ended by craving pardon, if I had offended the chaplain, as I was a good Christian, and orthodox on all points.

I had never expected to find the Grand Inquisitor of Madrid a kindly and intelligent, though ill-favoured, prelate; but so it was, and he did nothing but laugh from the beginning to the end of my story, for he would not let me call it a confession.

"The chaplain," he said, "is himself blameworthy and unfit for his position, in that he has adjudged others to be as weak as himself; in fact, he has committed a wrong against religion. Nevertheless, my dear son, it was not wise of you to go and irritate him." As I had told him my name he shewed me, smilingly, an accusation against me, drawn up by someone who had witnessed the fact. The good bishop gently chid me for having called the friar-confessor of the Duke of Medina an ignoramus. He had refused to admit that a priest might say mass a second time on a high festival, after breaking his fast, on the command of his sovereign prince, who, by the hypothesis, had not heard mass before.

"You were quite right in your contention," said the Inquisitor, "but yet every truth is not good to utter, and it was wrong to call the man an ignoramus in his presence. For the future you would do well to avoid all idle discussion on religious matters, both on dogma and discipline. And I must also tell you, in order that you may not leave Spain with any harsh ideas on the Inquisition, that the priest who affixed your name to the church-door amongst the excommunicated has been severely reprimanded. He ought to have given you a fatherly admonition, and, above all, enquired as to your health, as we know that you were seriously ill at the time."

Thereupon I knelt down and kissed his hand, and went my way, well pleased with my call.

To go back to Aranjuez. As soon as I heard that the ambassador could not put me up at Madrid, I wrote to the worthy cobbler, Don Diego, that I wanted a well-furnished room, a closet, a good bed, and an honest servant. I informed him how much I was willing to spend a month, and said I would leave Aranjuez as soon as I heard that everything was ready.

I was a good deal occupied with the question of colonising the Sierra Morena; I wrote principally on the subject of the civil government, a most important item in a scheme for a new colony. My articles pleased the Marquis Grimaldi and flattered Mocenigo; for the latter hoped that I should become governor of the colony, and that his embassy would thereby shine with a borrowed light.

My labours did not prevent my amusing myself, and I frequented the society of those about the Court who could tell me most of the king and royal family. Don Varnier, a man of much frankness and intelligence, was my principal source of information.

I asked him one day whether the king was fond of Gregorio Squillace only because he had been once his wife's lover.

"That's an idle calumny," he replied. "If the epithet of 'chaste' can be applied to any monarch, Charles III. certainly deserves it better than any other. He has never touched any woman in his life except his wife, not only out of respect or the sanctity of marriage, but also as a good Christian. He has avoided this sin that his soul may remain pure, and so as not to have the shame of confessing it to his chaplain. He enjoys an iron constitution, sickness is unknown to him, and he is a thorough Spaniard in temperament. Ever since his marriage he has paid his duty to his wife every day, except when the state of her health compelled her to call for a truce. In such seasons this chaste husband brought down his fleshly desires by the fatigue of hunting and by abstinence. You can imagine his distress at being left a widower, for he would rather die than take a mistress. His only resource was in hunting, and in so planning out his day that he should have no time left wherein to think of women. It was a difficult matter, for he cares neither for reading nor writing, music wearies him, and conversation of a lively turn inspires him with disgust.

"He has adopted the following plan, in which he will preserve till his dying day: He dresses at seven, then goes into his closet and has his hair dressed. At eight o'clock he says his prayers, then hears mass, and when this is over he takes chocolate and an enormous pinch of snuff, over which his big nose ruminates for some minutes; this is his only pinch in the whole day. At nine o'clock he sees his ministers, and works with them till eleven. Then comes dinner, which he always takes alone, then a short visit to the Princess of the Austurias, and at twelve sharp he gets into his carriage and drives to the hunting-grounds. At seven o'clock he takes a morsel wherever he happens to be, and at eight o'clock he comes home, so tired that he often goes to sleep before he can get his clothes off. Thus he keeps down the desires of the flesh."

"Poor voluntary martyr!"

"He thought of marrying a second time, but when Adelaide of France saw his portrait she was quite frightened and refused him. He was very mortified, and renounced all thoughts of marriage; and woe to the courtier who should advise him to get a mistress!"

In further speaking of his character Don Domingo told me that the ministers had good cause for making him inaccessible, as whenever anyone did succeed in getting at him and asked a favour, he made a point of granting it, as it was at such times that he felt himself really a king.

"Then he is not a hard man, as some say?"

"Not at all. Kings seldom have the reputation they deserve. The most accessible monarchs are the least generous; they are overwhelmed with importunate requests, and their first instinct is always to refuse."

"But as Charles III. is so inaccessible he can have no opportunity of either granting or refusing."

"People catch him when he is hunting; he is usually in a good humour then. His chief defect is his obstinacy; when he has once made up his mind there is no changing it.

"He has the greatest liking for his brother, and can scarce refuse him anything, though he must be master in all things. It is thought he will give him leave to marry for the sake of his salvation; the king has the greatest horror of illegitimate children, and his brother has three already."

There were an immense number of persons at Aranjuez, who persecuted the ministers in the hope of getting employment.

"They will go back as they come," said Don Domingo, "and that is empty-handed."

"Then they ask impossibilities?"

"They don't ask anything. 'What do you want?' says a minister.

"'What your excellency will let me have.'

"'What can you do?'

"'I am ready to do whatever your excellency pleases to think best for me'

"'Please leave me. I have no time to waste.'"

That is always the way. Charles III. died a madman; the Queen of Portugal is mad; the King of England has been mad, and, as some say, is not really cured. There is nothing astonishing in it; a king who tries to do his duty is almost forced into madness by his enormous task.

I took leave of M. Mocenigo three days before he left Aranjuez, and I embraced Manucci affectionately. He had been most kind to me throughout my stay.

My cobbler had written to tell me that for the sum I had mentioned he could provide me with a Biscayan maid who could cook. He sent me the address of my new lodging in the Calle Alcala. I arrived there in the afternoon, having started from Aranjuez in the morning.

I found that the Biscayan maid could speak French; my room was a very pleasant one, with another chamber annexed where I could lodge a friend. After I had had my effects carried up I saw my man, whose face pleased me.

I was anxious to test the skill of my cook, so I ordered her to get a good supper for me, and I gave her some money.

"I have some money," she replied, "and I will let you have the bill to-morrow."

After taking away whatever I had left with Mengs I went to Don Diego's house, and to my astonishment found it empty. I went back and asked Philippe, my man, where Don Diego was staying.

"It's some distance, sir; I will take you there tomorrow."

"Where is my landlord?"

"In the floor above; but they are very quiet people."

"I should like to see him."

"He is gone out and won't be home till ten."

At nine o'clock I was told that my supper was ready. I was very hungry, and the neatness with which the table was laid was a pleasant surprise in Spain. I was sorry that I had had no opportunity of expressing my satisfaction to Don Diego, but I sat down to supper. Then indeed I thought the cobbler a hero; the Biscayan maid might have entered into rivalry with the best cook in France. There were five dishes, including my favourite delicacy 'las criadillas', and everything was exquisite. My lodging was dear enough, but the cook made the whole arrangement a wonderful bargain.

Towards the end of supper Philippe told me that the landlord had come in, and that with my leave he would wish me a good evening.

"Shew him in by all means."

I saw Don Diego and his charming daughter enter; he had rented the house on purpose to be my landlord.





CHAPTER VI

     My Amours With Donna Ignazia—Return of M. de Mocenino to
     Madrid

All you barons, counts, and marquises who laugh at an untitled man who calls himself a gentleman, pause and reflect, spare your disdain till you have degraded him; allow him a gentle title so long as he does gentle deeds. Respect the man that defines nobility in a new way, which you cannot understand. With him nobility is not a series of descents from father to son; he laughs at pedigrees, in which no account is taken of the impure blood introduced by wifely infidelities; he defines a nobleman as one who does noble deeds, who neither lies nor cheats, who prefers his honour to his life.

This latter part of the definition should make you tremble for your lives, if you meditate his dishonour. From imposture comes contempt, from contempt hatred, from hatred homicide, which takes out the blot of dishonour.

The cobbler Don Diego might have feared, perhaps, that I should laugh at him, when he told me he was noble; but feeling himself to be really so he had done his best to prove it to me. The fineness of his behaviour when I was in prison had given me some idea of the nobility of his soul, but he was not content with this. On the receipt of my letter, he had taken a new house only to give up the best part of it to me. No doubt he calculated on not losing in the long run, as after I had left he would probably have no difficulty in letting the apartment, but his chief motive was to oblige me.

He was not disappointed; henceforth I treated him entirely as an equal. Donna Ignazia was delighted at what her father had done for me. We talked an hour, settling our business relations over a bottle of excellent wine. I succeeded in my contention that the Biscayan cook should be kept at my expense. All the same, I wanted the girl to think that she was in Don Diego's service, so I begged him to pay her every day, as I should take all my meals at home, at all events, till the return of the ambassador. I also told him that it was a penance to me to eat alone, and begged him to keep me company at dinner and supper every day. He tried to excuse himself, and at last gave in on the condition that his daughter should take his place when he had too much work to do. As may be imagined I had anticipated this condition, and made no difficulty about it.

The next morning, feeling curious to see the way in which my landlord was lodged, I paid him a visit. I went into the little room sacred to Donna Ignazia. A bed, a chest, and a chair made up the whole furniture; but beside the bed was a desk before a picture, four feet high, representing St. Ignatius de Loyola as a fine young man, more calculated to irritate the sense than to arouse devotion.

My cobbler said to me,

"I have a much better lodging than I had before; and the rent of your room pays me for the house four times over."

"How about the furniture and the linen?"

"It will all be paid in the course of four years. I hope this house will be the dower of my daughter. It is an excellent speculation, and I have to thank you for it."

"I am glad to hear it; but what is this, you seem to be making new boots?"

"Quite so; but if you look you will see that I am working on a last which has been given me. In this way I have not to put them on, nor need I trouble myself whether they fit well or ill."

"How much do you get?"

"Thirty reals."

"That's a larger price than usual."

"Yes, but there's a great difference between my work and my leather, and the usual work and leather of the bootmakers."

"Then I will have a last made, and you shall make me a pair of shoes, if you will; but I warn you they must be of the finest skin, and the soles of morocco."

"They will cost more, and not last so long."

"I can't help that; I can't bear any but the lightest boots."

Before I left him he said his daughter should dine with me that day as he was very busy.

I called on the Count of Aranda, who received me coldly, but with great politeness. I told him how I had been treated by my parish priest and by Mengs.

"I heard about it; this was worse than your imprisonment, and I don't know what I could have done for you if you had not communicated, and obliged the priest to take out your name. Just now they are trying to annoy me with posters on the walls, but I take no notice."

"What do they want your excellency to do?"

"To allow long cloaks and low-crowned hats; you must know all about it."

"I only arrived at Madrid yesterday evening."

"Very good. Don't come here on Sunday, as my house is to be blown up."

"I should like to see that, my lord, so I will be in your hall at noon."

"I expect you will be in good company."

I duly went, and never had I seen it so full. The count was addressing the company, under the last poster threatening him with death, two very energetic lines were inscribed by the person who put up the poster, knowing that he was at the same time running his head into the noose:

     Si me cogen, me horqueran,
     Pero no me cogeran.

   "If they catch me, they will hang me,
   So I shall not let them catch me."

At dinner Donna Ignazia told me how glad she was to have me in the house, but she did not respond to all my amorous speeches after Philippe had left the room. She blushed and sighed, and then being obliged to say something, begged me to forget everything that had passed between us. I smiled, and said that I was sure she knew she was asking an impossibility. I added that even if I could forget the past I would not do so.

I knew that she was neither false nor hypocritical, and felt sure that her behaviour proceeded from devotion; but I knew this could not last long. I should have to conquer her by slow degrees. I had had to do so with other devotees who had loved me less than she, nevertheless, they had capitulated. I was therefore sure of Donna Ignazia.

After dinner she remained a quarter of an hour with me, but I refrained from any amorous attempts.

After my siesta I dressed, and went out without seeing her. In the evening when she came in for her father, who had supped with me, I treated her with the greatest politeness without shewing any ill-humour. The following day I behaved in the same manner. At dinner she told me she had broken with her lover at the beginning of Lent, and begged me not to see him if he called on me.

On Whit Sunday I called on the Count of Aranda, and Don Diego, who was exquisitely dressed, dined with me. I saw nothing of his daughter. I asked after her, and Don Diego replied, with a smile, that she had shut herself up in her room to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. He pronounced these words in a manner and with a smile that he would not have dared to use if he had been speaking to a fellow-Spaniard. He added that she would, no doubt, come down and sup with me, as he was going to sup with his brother.

"My dear Don Diego, don't let there be any false compliments between us. Before you go out, tell your daughter not to put herself out for me, and that I do not pretend to put my society in comparison with that of God. Tell her to keep her room to-night, and she can sup with me another time. I hope you will take my message to her."

"As you will have it so, you shall be obeyed."

After my siesta, the worthy man said that Donna Ignazia thanked me and would profit by my kindness, as she did not want to see anyone on that holy day.

"I am very glad she has taken me at my word, and to-morrow I will thank her for it."

I had some difficulty in shaping my lips to this reply; for this excess of devotion displeased me, and even made me tremble for her love. I could not help laughing, however, when Don Diego said that a wise father forgives an ecstasy of love. I had not expected such a philosophic remark from the mouth of a Spaniard.

The weather was unpleasant, so I resolved to stay indoors. I told Philippe that I should not want the carriage, and that he could go out. I told my Biscayan cook that I should not sup till ten. When I was alone I wrote for some time, and in the evening the mother lit my candles, instead of the daughter, so in the end I went to bed without any supper. At nine o'clock next morning, just as I was awaking, Donna Ignazia appeared, to my great astonishment, telling me how sorry she was to hear that I had not taken any supper.

"Alone, sad, and unhappy," I replied, "I felt that abstinence was the best thing for me."

"You look downcast."

"You alone can make me look cheerful."

Here my barber came in, and she left me. I then went to mass at the Church of the Good Success, where I saw all the handsome courtezans in Madrid. I dined with Don Diego, and when his daughter came in with dessert he told her that it was her fault I had gone supperless to bed.

"It shall not happen again," said she.

"Would you like to come with me to our Lady of Atocha?" said I.

"I should like it very much," she replied, with a side-glance at her father.

"My girl," said Don Diego, "true devotion and merriment go together, and the reason is that the truly devout person has trust in God and in the honesty of all men. Thus you can trust in Don Jaime as an honest man, though he has not the good fortune to be born in Spain."

I could not help laughing at this last sentence, but Don Diego was not offended. Donna Ignazia kissed her father's hands, and asked if she might bring her cousin too.

"What do you want to take the cousin for?" said Don Diego; "I will answer for Don Jaime."

"You are very kind, Don Diego, but if Ignazia likes her cousin to come I shall be delighted, provided it be the elder cousin, whom I like better than the younger."

After this arrangement the father went his way, and I sent Philippe to the stables to put in four mules.

When we were alone Ignazia asked me repentantly to forgive her.

"Entirely, if you will forgive me for loving you."

"Alas, dearest! I think I shall go mad if I keep up the battle any longer."

"There needs no battle, dearest Ignazia, either love me as I love you, or tell me to leave the house, and see you no more. I will obey you, but that will not make you happy."

"I know that. No, you shall not go from your own house. But allow me to tell you that you are mistaken in your estimate of my cousins' characters. I know what influenced you, but you do not know all. The younger is a good girl, and though she is ugly, she too has succumbed to love. But the elder, who is ten times uglier, is mad with rage at never having had a lover. She thought she had made you in love with her, and yet she speaks evil of you. She reproaches me for having yielded so easily and boasts that she would never have gratified your passion."

"Say no more, we must punish her; and the younger shall come."

"I am much obliged to you."

"Does she know that we love each other?"

"I have never told her, but she has guessed it, and pities me. She wants me to join her in a devotion to Our Lady de la Soledad, the effect of which would be a complete cure for us both."

"Then she is in love, too?"

"Yes; and she is unhappy in her love, for it is not returned. That must be a great grief."

"I pity her, and yet, with such a face, I do not know any man who would take compassion on her. The poor girl would do well to leave love alone. But as to you. . . ."

"Say nothing about me: my danger is greater than hers. I am forced to defend myself or to give in, and God knows there are some men whom it is impossible to ward off! God is my witness that in Holy Week I went to a poor girl with the smallpox, and touched her in the hope of catching it, and so losing my beauty; but God would not have it so, and my confessor blamed me, bidding me to do a penance I had never expected."

"Tell me what it is?"

"He told me that a handsome face is the index of a handsome soul, and is a gift of God, for which a woman should render thanks continually; that in attempting to destroy this beauty I had sinned, for I had endeavoured to destroy God's handiwork. After a good deal of rebuke in this style, he ordered me to put a little rouge on my cheeks whenever I felt myself looking pale. I had to submit, and I have bought a pot of rouge, but hitherto I have not felt obliged to use it. Indeed, my father might notice it, and I should not like to tell him that it is done by way of penance."

"Is your confessor a young man?"

"He is an old man of seventy."

"Do you tell him all your sins without reserve?"

"Certainly, for the smallest circumstance may be really a great sin."

"Does he ask you questions?"

"No, for he sees that I am telling him the whole truth. It is a great trial, but I have to submit to it."

"Have you had this confessor for long?"

"For two years. Before him I had a confessor who was quite unbearable. He asked me questions which made me quite indignant."

"What questions were these?"

"You must please excuse me telling you."

"Why do you go to confession so often?"

"Why? Would to God I had not good cause! but after all I only go once a week."

"That's too often."

"Not so, for when I am in mortal sin I cannot sleep at night. I am afraid of dying in my sleep."

"I pity you, dearest; I have a consolation which is denied you. I have an infinite trust in the infinite mercy of God."

The cousin arrived and we set out. We found a good many carriages in front of the church-door, and the church itself was full of devotees, both male and female. Amongst others I saw the Duchess of Villadorias, notorious for her andromania. When the 'furor uterinus' seized her, nothing could keep her back. She would rush at the man who had excited her, and he had no choice but to satisfy her passion. This had happened several times in public assemblies, and had given rise to some extraordinary scenes. I had seen her at a ball; she was still both young and pretty. As I entered the church I saw her kneeling on the stones of the church floor. She lifted her eyes, and gazed at me, as if doubtful whether she knew me or not, as she had only seen me in domino. After my devotees had prayed for half an hour, they rose to go, and the duchess rose also; and as soon as we were out of the church she asked me if I knew her. I replied in the affirmative, and she asked why I had not been to see her, and if I visited the Duchess of Benevento. I told her that I did not visit her grace, and that I should have the honour of paying her a call before long.

On our way I explained to my two companions the nature of the duchess's malady. Donna Ignazia asked me anxiously if I really meant to go and see her. She seemed reassured when I replied in the negative.

A common and to my mind a ridiculous question is which of the two sexes enjoys the generative act the more. Homer gives us Jupiter and Juno disputing on this point. Tiresias, who was once a woman, has given a correct though amusing decision on the point. A laconic answer has it that a woman enjoys the act the most because with her it is sharper, repeated more frequently, and finally because the battle is fought in her field. She is at the same time an active and passive agent, while action is indispensable to the pleasure of the man. But the most conclusive reason is that if the woman's pleasure were not the greater nature would be unjust, and she never is or can be unjust. Nothing in this universe is without its use, and no pleasure or pain is without its compensation or balance. If woman had not more pleasure than man she would not have more organs than he. The greater nervous power planted in the female organ is demonstrated by the andromania to which some women are subject, and which makes them either Messalines or martyrs. Men have nothing at all similar to this.

Nature has given to women this special enjoyment to compensate for the pains they have to undergo. What man would expose himself, for the pleasure he enjoys, to the pains of pregnancy and the dangers of childbed? But women will do so again and again; so it must be concluded that they believe the pleasure to outbalance the pain; and so it is clearly the woman who has the better share in the enjoyment. In spite of this, if I had the choice of being born again as a woman, I should say no; for in spite of my voluptuousness, a man has pleasures which a woman cannot enjoy. Though, indeed, rather than not be born again, I would be a woman, and even a brute, provided always that I had my memory, for without it I should no longer be myself.

We had some ices, and my two companions returned home with me, well pleased with the enjoyment I had given them without offending God. Donna Ignazia, who was delighted with my continence during the day, and apparently afraid of its not lasting, begged me to invite her cousin to supper. I agreed, and even did so with pleasure.

The cousin was ugly, and also a fool, but she had a great heart and was sympathetic. I knew that Donna Ignazia had told her all, and as she was no restraint on me I did not mind her being at supper, while Ignazia looked upon her as a safeguard.

The table had been laid for three, when I heard a step coming up the stairs. It was the father, and I asked him to sup with us. Don Diego was a pleasant man, as I have said, but what amused me most of all about him was his moral maxims. He knew or suspected that I was fond of his daughter, though in an honourable way; he thought my honour or his daughter's piety would be a sufficient safeguard. If he had suspected what had really happened, I do not think he would ever have allowed us to be together.

He sat beside his niece and facing his daughter, and did most of the talking, for your Spaniard, though grave, is eloquent, and fond of hearing the fine harmonies of his native tongue.

It was very hot, so I asked him to take off his waistcoat, and to tell his daughter to do just as she would if only he and his wife had been present.

Donna Ignazia had not to be entreated long before she took off her kerchief, but the poor cousin did not like having to shew us her bones and swarthy skin.

Donna Ignazia told her father how much she had enjoyed herself, and how they had seen the Duchess of Villadorias, who had asked me to come and see her.

The good man began to philosophise and to jest on her malady, and he told me some stories, germane to the question, which the girls pretended not to understand.

The good wine of La Mancha kept us at table till a late hour, and the time seemed to pass very quickly. Don Diego told his niece that she could sleep with his daughter, in the room we were in, as the bed was big enough for two. I hastened to add that if the ladies would do so I should be delighted; but Donna Ignazia blushed and said it would not do, as the room was only separated from mine by a glass door. At this I smiled at Don Diego, who proceeded to harangue his daughter in a manner which amused me extremely. He told her that I was at least twenty years older than herself, and that in suspecting me she had committed a greater sin than if she allowed me to take some slight liberty.

"I am sure," he added, "that when you go to confession next Sunday you will forget to accuse yourself of having wrongfully suspected Don Jaime of a dishonourable action."

Donna Ignazia looked at me affectionately, asked my pardon, and said she would do whatever her father liked. The cousin said nothing, and the father kissed his daughter, bade me a good night, and went away well pleased with the harangue he had delivered.

I suspected that Donna Ignazia expected me to make some attempt on her honour, and feeling sure that she would resist for the sake of appearance, I determined to leave her in peace. Next morning I got up and went into their room in the hope of playing some trick on them. However, the birds were flown, and I had no doubt that they had gone to hear mass.

Donna Ignazia came home by herself at ten o'clock. She found me alone, dressed, and writing. She told me she had been in the church for three hours.

"You have been to confession, I suppose?"

"No; I went last Sunday, and I shall wait till next Sunday."

"I am very glad that your confession will not be lengthened by any sins I have helped you to commit."

"You are wrong."

"Wrong? I understand; but you must know that I am not going to be damned for mere desires. I do not wish to torment you or to become a martyr myself. What you granted me has made me fall deeply in love with you, and it makes me shudder when I imagine that our love has become a subject of repentance with you. I have had a bad night; and it is time for me to think of my health. I must forget you, but to bring about that effect I will see you no longer. I will keep on the house, but I will not live in it. If your religion is an intelligent one, you will approve of my idea. Tell your confessor of it next Sunday, and you will see that he will approve it."

"You are right, but I cannot agree to it. You can go away if you like, and I shall say nothing, but I shall be the most unhappy girl in all Madrid."

As she spoke these words, two big tears rolled down her cheeks, and her face dropped; I was profoundly moved.

"I love you, dearest Ignazia, and I hope not to be damned for my love. I cannot see you without loving you and to this love some positive proof is essential; otherwise, I am unhappy. If I go you say you will be unhappy, and if I stay it is I that will be unhappy, my health will be ruined. But tell me which I shall do stay or go? Say."

"Stay."

"Then you must be as loving and tender as you were before."

"Alas! I promised to commit that sin no more. I tell you to stay, because I am sure that in eight or ten days we shall have become so accustomed to one another that I shall be able to love you like a father, and you will be able to take me in your arms without any amorous sentiments."

"Are you sure of this?"

"Yes, dearest, quite sure."

"You make a mistake."

"Let me be mistaken, and believe me I shall be glad to be mistaken."

"Unhappy devotee!"

"Why unhappy?"

"Nothing, nothing. I may be too long, I shall endanger . . . let us say no more about it. I will stay."

I went out more pained with her state than my own, and I felt that the best thing I could do would be to forget her, "for," said I to myself, "even if I do enjoy her once, Sunday will come again; she will confess, repent, and I shall have to begin all over again. She confessed her love, and flatters herself that she will be able to subdue it—a foolish hope, which could only exist in a mind under the dominion of prejudice."

I came home at noon, and Don Diego dined with me; his daughter did not appear till the dessert. I begged her to sit down, politely, but coldly. Her father asked her jestingly if I had paid her a visit in the night.

"I never suspected Don Jaime of such a thing," she replied, "and I only objected out of shyness."

I interrupted her by praising her modesty, and telling her that she would have done quite right to beware of me, if my sense of duty had not been stronger than any voluptuous desires inspired by her charms.

Don Diego pronounced this declaration of love as good as anything to be found in the "Morte d'Arthur."

His daughter said I was laughing at her, but Don Diego said he was certain that I was in earnest, and that I had known her before taking her to the ball.

"You are utterly mistaken," said Donna Ignazia, with some degree of fire.

"Your father is wiser than you, senora," I replied.

"What! How and when did you see me?"

"At the church where I heard mass, and you communicated, when you went out with your cousin. I followed you at some distance; you can guess the rest."

She was speechless, and her father enjoyed the consciousness of his superior intellect.

"I am going to see the bull fight," said he; "it's a fine day, and all Madrid will be there, so one must go early to get a good place. I advise you to go, as you have never seen a bull fight; ask Don Jaime to take you with him, Ignazia."

"Would you like to have my companionship?" said she, tenderly.

"Certainly I would, but you must bring your cousin, as I am in love with her."

Don Diego burst out laughing, but Ignazia said, slyly,

"It is not so impossible after all."

We went to see the splendid but barbarous spectacle in which Spaniards take so much delight. The two girls placed themselves in front of the only vacant box, and I sat behind on the second bench, which was a foot and a half higher than the first. There were already two ladies there, and much to my amusement one of them was the famous Duchess of Villadorias. She was in front of me, and sat in such a position that her head was almost between my legs. She recognized me, and said we were fortunate in meeting one another; and then noticing Donna Ignazia, who was close to her, she congratulated me in French on her charms, and asked me whether she was my mistress or my wife. I replied that she was a beauty before whom I sighed in vain. She replied, with a smile, that she was rather a sceptical person; and turning to Donna Ignazia began a pleasant and amorous discourse, thinking the girl to be as learned in the laws of love as herself. She whispered something in her ear which made Ignazia blush, and the duchess, becoming enthusiastic, told me I had chosen the handsomest girl in Madrid, and that she would be delighted to see us both at her country house.

I promised to come, as I was obliged to do, but I begged to be excused naming the day. Nevertheless, she made me promise to call on her at four o'clock the next day, telling me, much to my terror, that she would be alone. She was pretty enough, but too notorious a character; and such a visit would have given rise to talk.

Happily the fight began, and silence became general, for the Spaniards are passionately devoted of bull fighting.

So much has been written on the subject that my readers will pardon my giving a detailed account of the fight. I may say that the sport is, in my opinion, a most barbarous one, and likely to operate unfavourably on the national morals; the arena is sometimes drenched in the blood of bulls, horses, and even of the unfortunate picadores and matadores, whose sole defence is the red rag with which they irritate the bull.

When it was over I escorted the girls—who had enjoyed themselves immensely—back to the house, and made the ugly cousin stay to supper, as I foresaw that they would again sleep together.

We supped together, but it was a melancholy affair, for Don Diego was away, and I did not feel in the humour to amuse my company.

Donna Ignazia became pensive when, in reply to a question of hers, I said that it would be absolutely rude of me not to go to the duchess's.

"You will come with me some day," I added, "to dine at her country house."

"You need not look for that."

"Why not?"

"Because she is a madwoman. She talked to me in a way that would have offended me if I did not know that she fancied she was honouring me by laying aside her rank."

We rose from table, and after I had dismissed my man we sat on the balcony to wait for Don Diego and to enjoy the delicious evening breezes.

As we sat near to each other in the twilight, so favourable to lovers' vows, I looked into Donna Ignazia's eyes, and saw there that my hour had come. I clasped her to me with one arm, I clung with my lips to hers, and by the way she trembled I guessed the flame which consumed her.

"Will you go and see the duchess?"

"No, if you will promise me not to go to confession next Sunday."

"But what will he say if I do not go?"

"Nothing at all, if he understands his business. But let us talk it over a little."

We were so tightly clasped together that the cousin, like a good girl, left us, and went to the other end of the balcony, taking care to look away from us.

Without changing my position, in spite of the temptation to do so, I asked her if she felt in the humour to repent of the sin she was ready to commit.

"I was not thinking of repentance just then, but as you remind me of it, I must tell you that I shall certainly go to confession."

"And after you have been to confession will you love me as you love me now?"

"I hope God will give me strength to offend Him no more."

"I assure you that if you continue loving me God will not give you grace, yet I feel sure that on Sunday evening you will refuse me that which you are now ready to grant."

"Indeed I will, sweetheart; but why should we talk of that now?"

"Because if I abandon myself to pleasure now I shall be more in love with you than ever, and consequently more unhappy than ever, when the day of your repentance comes. So promise me that you will not go to confession whilst I remain at Madrid, or give the fatal order now, and bid me leave you. I cannot abandon myself to love to-day knowing that it will be refused me on Sunday."

As I remonstrated thus, I clasped her affectionately in my arms, caressing her most ardently; but before coming to the decisive action I asked her again whether she would promise not to go to confession next Sunday.

"You are cruel," said she, "I cannot make you that promise for my conscience sake."

At this reply, which I had quite expected, I remained motionless, feeling sure that she must be in a state of desperate irritation at the work half begun and not concluded. I, too, suffered, for I was at the door of the sanctuary, and a slight movement would have sent me into the inmost shrine; but I knew that her torments must be greater than mine, and that she could not resist long.

Donna Ignazia was indeed in a terrible state; I had not repulsed her, but I was perfectly inactive. Modesty prevented her asking me openly to continue, but she redoubled her caresses, and placed herself in an easier position, reproaching me with my cruelty. I do not know whether I could have held out much longer, but just then the cousin turned round and told us that Don Diego was coming in.

We hastened to arrange our toilette, and to sit in a decent position. The cousin came up to us, and Don Diego, after making a few remarks, left us on the balcony, wishing us a good night. I might have begun over again, but I clung to my system of repression, and after wishing the girls good night with a melancholy air, I went to bed.

I hoped Donna Ignazia would repent and come and keep me company, but I was disappointed. They left their room early in the morning, and at noon Don Diego came to dine with me, saying his daughter had such a bad headache that she had not even gone to mass.

"We must get her to eat something."

"No, I think abstinence will do her good, and in the evening I daresay she will be able to sup with you."

I went to keep her company by her bedside after I had taken my siesta. I did my best for three hours to convince her of her folly; but she kept her eyes closed, and said nothing, only sighing when I said something very touching.

I left her to walk in St. Jerome's Park, and told her that if she did not sup with me I should understand that she did not wish to see me again. This threat had its effect. She came to table at supper-time, but she looked pale and exhausted. She ate little, and said nothing, for she knew not what to say. I saw that she was suffering, and I pitied her from my heart.

Before going to bed she asked me if I had been to see the duchess. She seemed somewhat cheered when I answered in the negative. I told her that she might satisfy herself of the truth of my reply by asking Philippe, who had taken my note begging her grace to excuse me for that day.

"But will you go another day?"

"No, dearest, because I see it would grieve you."

She gave a sigh of content, and I embraced her gently, and she left me as sad as I was.

I could see that what I asked of her was a great deal; but I had good grounds for hope, as I knew her ardent disposition. It was not God and I that were disputing for her, but her confessor and I. If she had not been a Catholic I should have won her the first day.

She had told me that she would get into trouble with her confessor if she did not go to him as usual; she had too much of fine Spanish honour in her to tell him what was not true, or to endeavour to combine her love with her religion.

The Friday and the Saturday passed without any events of consequence. Her father, who could not blind himself to our love any longer, trusted, I suppose, to his daughter's virtue, and made her dine and sup with me every day. On Saturday evening Donna Ignazia left me sadder than ever, and turned her head away when I would have kissed her as usual. I saw what was the matter; she was going to communicate the next day. I admired her consistency, in spite of myself, and pitied her heartily; for I could guess the storm that must be raging in her breast. I began to repent having demanded all, and wished I had been contented with a little.

I wished to be satisfied with my own eyes, and got up early on Sunday morning and followed her. I knew that she would call for her cousin, so I went on to the church. I placed myself by the sacristy-door, where I could see without being seen.

I waited a quarter of an hour, then they came in, and after kneeling down for a few moments, separated, each going to her own confessor.

I only noticed Donna Ignazia; I saw her going to the confessional, and the confessor turning towards her.

I waited patiently. I thought the confession would never come to an end. "What is he saying?" I repeated to myself as I saw the confessor speaking to her now and again.

I could bear it no longer, and I was on the point of going away when I saw her rise from her knees.

Donna Ignazia, looking like a saint, came to kneel in the church, but out of my sight. I thought she would come forward to receive the Holy Communion at the end of the Mass that was being said, but instead of that she went towards the door, rejoined her cousin and they left the church. I was astonished. My heart was seized with a pang of remorse.

"It's all over," I said to myself. "The poor girl has made a sincere and full confession, she has avowed her love, and the priest's cruel duty has made him refuse her absolution.

"All is lost. What will come of it?"

"My peace of mind and hers require me to leave her.

"Wretch that I am, to have lost all for all! I should have made allowance for the peculiar Spanish character.

"I might have enjoyed her by surprise now and again; the difficulty would have added piquancy to the intrigue. I have behaved as if I were once more twenty, and I have lost all.

"At dinner she will be all sad and tearful. I must find some way out of this terrible situation."

Thus soliloquising, I came home ill pleased with the line of conduct I had adopted.

My hairdresser was waiting for me, but I sent him away, and told my cook not to serve my dinner till I ordered it; then, feeling the need of rest, I flung myself on my bed and slept profoundly till one o'clock.

I got up and ordered dinner to be brought in, and sent a message to the father and daughter that I was expecting them.

My surprise may be imagined when Donna Ignazia appeared in a costume of black velvet, adorned with ribbons and lace. In my opinion there is no more seductive costume in Europe when the wearer is pretty.

I also noticed that every feature of her face breathed peace and calm; I had never seen her looking so well, and I could not help congratulating her. She replied with a smile, and I gave her a kiss, which she took as meekly as a lamb.

Philippe arrived, and we sat down to table. I saw that my fair sweetheart had crossed the Rubicon; the day was won.

"I am going to be happy," said she, "but let us say nothing, and it will come of itself."

However, I did not conceal my bliss, and made love to her whenever the servant was out of the room. She was not only submissive, but even ardent.

Before we left the table she asked me if I still loved her.

"More than ever, darling; I adore you."

"Then take me to the bull fight."

"Quick! Fetch the hairdresser."

When my hair was done I made an elaborate toilette, and burning with impatience we set out on foot, as I was afraid we should not secure a good place if we waited till the carriage was ready. We found a fine box with only two persons in it, and Ignazia, after glancing round, said she was glad that the detestable duchess was not anywhere near us.

After some fine sport my mistress begged me to take her to the Prado, where all the best people in Madrid are to be seen.

Donna Ignazia leant on my arm, seemed proud to be thought mine, and filled me with delight.

All at once we met the Venetian ambassador and his favourite, Manucci. They had just arrived from Aranjuez. We greeted each other with due Spanish politeness, and the ambassador paid me a high compliment on the beauty of my companion. Donna Ignazia pretended not to understand, but she pressed my arm with Spanish delicacy.

After walking a short distance with us M. de Mocenigo said he hoped I would dine with him on the following day, and after I had nodded acquiescence in the French style we parted.

Towards the evening we took some ices and returned home, and the gentle pressure of my arm on the way prepared me for the bliss I was to enjoy.

We found Don Diego on the balcony waiting for us. He congratulated his daughter on her pleasant appearance and the pleasure she must have taken in my society.

Charmed with papa's good humour, I asked him to sup with us, and he accepted, and amused us with his witty conversation and a multitude of little tales that pleased me exceedingly. He made the following speech on leaving us, which I give word for word, but I cannot give the reader any idea of the inimitable Spanish gravity with which it was delivered.

"Amigo Senior Don Jaime, I leave you here to enjoy the cool air with my daughter. I am delighted at your loving her, and you may be assured that I shall place no obstacle in the way of your becoming my son-in-law as soon as you can shew your titles of nobility."

When he was gone, I said to his daughter,—

"I should be only too happy, if it could be managed; but you must know that in my country they only are called nobles who have an hereditary right to rule the state. If I had been born in Spain I should be noble, but as it is I adore you, and I hope you will make me happy."

"Yes, dearest, but we must be happy together; I cannot suffer any infidelity."

"I give you my word of honour that I will be wholly faithful to you."

"Come then, 'corazon mio', let us go in."

"No, let us put out the lights, and stay here a quarter of an hour. Tell me, my angel, whence comes this unexpected happiness?"

"You owe it to a piece of tyranny which drove me to desperation. God is good, and I am sure He would not have me become my own executioner. When I told my confessor that I could not help loving you, but that I could restrain myself from all excess of love, he replied that this self-confidence was misplaced, as I had already fallen. He wanted me to promise never to be alone with you again, and on my refusing to do so he would not give me absolution.

"I have never had such a piece of shame cast on me, but I laid it all in the hands of God, and said, 'Thy will be done.'

"Whilst I heard mass my mind was made up, and as long as you love me I shall be yours, and yours only. When you leave Spain and abandon me to despair, I shall find another confessor. My conscience holds me guiltless; this is my comfort. My cousin, whom I have told all, is astonished, but then she is not very clever."

After this declaration, which put me quite at my ease, and would have relieved me of any scruples if I had had them, I took her to my bed. In the morning, she left me tired out, but more in love with her than ever.





EPISODE 27 — 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
Chapter 7

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
Chapter 8

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.





EPISODE 28 — RETURN TO ROME





CHAPTER XIII

     Rome—The Actor's Punishment—Lord Baltimore—Naples—Sara
     Goudar—Departure of Betty—Agatha—Medina—Albergoni—Miss
     Chudleigh—The Prince of Francavilla—The Swimmers

As I fell over the Englishman I had struck my hand against a nail, and the fourth finger of my left hand was bleeding as if a vein had been opened. Betty helped me to tie a handkerchief around the wound, while Sir B—— M—— read the letter with great attention. I was much pleased with Betty's action, it shewed she was confident, and sure of her lover's forgiveness.

I took up my coat and carpet-bag, and went into the next room to change my linen, and dress for dinner. Any distress at the termination of my intrigue with Betty was amply compensated for by my joy at the happy ending of a troublesome affair which might have proved fatal for me.

I dressed myself, and then waited for half an hour, as I heard Betty and Sir B—— M—— speaking in English calmly enough, and I did not care to interrupt them. At last the Englishman knocked at my door, and came in looking humble and mortified. He said he was sure I had not only saved Betty, but had effectually cured her of her folly.

"You must forgive my conduct, sir," said he, "for I could not guess that the man I found with her was her saviour and not her betrayer. I thank Heaven which inspired you with the idea of catching hold of me from behind, as I should certainly have killed you the moment I set eyes on you, and at this moment I should be the most wretched of men. You must forgive me, sir, and become my friend."

I embraced him cordially, telling him that if I had been in his place I should have acted in a precisely similar manner.

We returned to the room, and found Betty leaning against the bed, and weeping bitterly.

The blood continuing to flaw from my wound, I sent for a surgeon who said that a vein had been opened, and that a proper ligature was necessary.

Betty still wept, so I told Sir B—— M—— that in my opinion she deserved his forgiveness.

"Forgiveness?" said he, "you may be sure I have already forgiven her, and she well deserves it. Poor Betty repented directly you shewed her the path she was treading, and the tears she is shedding now are tears of sorrow at her mistake. I am sure she recognizes her folly, and will never be guilty of such a slip again."

Emotion is infectious. Betty wept, Sir B—— M—— wept, and I wept to keep them company. At last nature called a truce, and by degrees our sobs and tears ceased and we became calmer.

Sir B—— M——, who was evidently a man of the most generous character, began to laugh and jest, and his caresses had great effect in calming Betty. We made a good dinner, and the choice Muscat put us all in the best of spirits.

Sir B—— M—— said we had better rest for a day or two; he had journeyed fifteen stages in hot haste, and felt in need of repose.

He told us that on arriving at Leghorn, and finding no Betty there, he had discovered that her trunk had been booked to Rome, and that the officer to whom it belonged had hired a horse, leaving a watch as a pledge for it. Sir B—— M—— recognized Betty's watch, and feeling certain that she was either on horseback with her seducer or in the wagon with her trunk, he immediately resolved to pursue.

"I provided myself," he added, "with two good pistols, not with the idea of using one against her, for my first thought about her was pity, and my second forgiveness; but I determined to blow out the scoundrel's brains, and I mean to do it yet. We will start for Rome to-morrow."

Sir B—— M——'s concluding words filled Betty with joy, and I believe she would have pierced her perfidious lover to the heart if he had been brought before her at that moment.

"We shall find him at Roland's," said I.

Sir B—— M—— took Betty in his arms, and gazed at me with an air of content, as if he would have shewn me the greatness of an English heart—a greatness which more than atones for its weakness.

"I understand your purpose," I said, "but you shall not execute your plans without me. Let me have the charge of seeing that justice is done you. If you will not agree, I shall start for Rome directly, I shall get there before you, and shall give the wretched actor warning of your approach. If you had killed him before I should have said nothing, but at Rome it is different, and you would have reason to repent of having indulged your righteous indignation. You don't know Rome and priestly justice. Come, give me your hand and your word to do nothing without my consent, or else I shall leave you directly."

Sir B—— M—— was a man of my own height but somewhat thinner, and five or six years older; the reader will understand his character without my describing it.

My speech must have rather astonished him, but he knew that my disposition was benevolent, and he could not help giving me his hand and his pledge.

"Yes, dearest," said Betty, "leave vengeance to the friend whom Heaven has sent us."

"I consent to do so, provided everything is done in concert between us."

After this we parted, and Sir B—— M——, being in need of rest, I went to tell the vetturino that we should start for Rome again on the following day.

"For Rome! Then you have found your pocketbook? It seems to me, my good sir, that you would have been wiser not to search for it."

The worthy man, seeing my hand done up in lint, imagined I had fought a duel, and indeed everybody else came to the same conclusion.

Sir B—— M—— had gone to bed, and I spent the rest of the day in the company of Betty, who was overflowing with the gratitude. She said we must forget what had passed between us, and be the best of friends for the rest of our days, without a thought of any further amorous relations. I had not much difficulty in assenting to this condition.

She burned with the desire for vengeance on the scoundrelly actor who had deceived her; but I pointed out that her duty was to moderate Sir B—— M——'s passions, as if he attempted any violence in Rome it might prove a very serious matter for him, besides its being to the disadvantage of his reputation to have the affair talked of.

"I promise you," I added, "to have the rogue imprisoned as soon as we reach Rome, and that ought to be sufficient vengeance for you. Instead of the advantages he proposed for himself, he will receive only shame and all the misery of a prison."

Sir B—— M—— slept seven or eight hours, and rose to find that a good deal of his rage had evaporated. He consented to abide by my arrangements, if he could have the pleasure of paying the fellow a visit, as he wanted to know him.

After this sensible decision and a good supper I went to my lonely couch without any regret, for I was happy in the consciousness of having done a good action.

We started at day-break the next morning, and when we reached Acquapendente we resolved to post to Rome. By the post the journey took twelve hours, otherwise we should have been three days on the road.

As soon as we reached Rome I went to the customhouse and put in the document relating to Betty's trunk. The next day it was duly brought to our inn and handed over to Betty.

As Sir B—— M—— had placed the case in my hands I went to the bargello, an important person at Rome, and an expeditious officer when he sees a case clearly and feels sure that the plaintiffs do not mind spending their money. The bargello is rich, and lives well; he has an almost free access to the cardinal-vicar, the governor, and even the Holy Father himself.

He gave me a private interview directly, and I told him the whole story, finally saying that all we asked for was that the rogue should be imprisoned and afterwards expelled from Rome.

"You see," I added, "that our demand is a very moderate one, and we could get all we want by the ordinary channels of the law; but we are in a hurry, and I want you to take charge of the whole affair. If you care to do so we shall be prepared to defray legal expenses to the extent of fifty crowns."

The bargello asked me to give him the bill of exchange and all the effects of the adventurer, including the letters.

I had the bill in my pocket and gave it him on the spot, taking a receipt in exchange. I told him to send to the inn for the rest.

"As soon as I have made him confess the facts you allege against him," said the bargello, "we shall be able to do something. I have already heard that he is at Roland's, and has been trying to get the Englishwoman's trunk. If you liked to spend a hundred crowns instead of fifty we could send him to the galleys for a couple of years."

"We will see about that," said I, "for the present we will have him into prison."

He was delighted to hear that the horse was not l'Etoile's property, and said that if I liked to call at nine o'clock he would have further news for me.

I said I would come. I really had a good deal to do at Rome. I wanted to see Cardinal Bernis in the first place, but I postponed everything to the affair of the moment.

I went back to the inn and was told by a valet de place, whom Sir B—— M—— had hired, that the Englishman had gone to bed.

We were in need of a carriage, so I summoned the landlord and was astonished to find myself confronted by Roland in person.

"How's this?" I said. "I thought you were still at the Place d'Espagne."

"I have given my old house to my daughter who has married a prosperous Frenchman, while I have taken this palace where there are some magnificent rooms."

"Has your daughter many foreigners staying at her house now?"

"Only one Frenchman, the Comte de l'Etoile, who is waiting for his equipage to come on. He has an excellent horse, and I am thinking of buying it from him."

"I advise you to wait till to-morrow, and to say nothing about the advice I have given you."

"Why should I wait?"

"I can't say any more just now."

This Roland was the father of the Therese whom I had loved nine years before, and whom my brother Jean had married in 1762, a year after my departure. Roland told me that my brother was in Rome with Prince Beloselski, the Russian ambassador to the Court of Saxony.

"I understood that my brother could not come to Rome."

"He came with a safe-conduct which the Dowager Electress of Saxony obtained for him from the Holy Father. He wants his case to be re-tried, and there he makes a mistake, for if it were heard a hundred times the sentence would continue the same. No one will see him, everyone avoids him, even Mengs will have nothing to say to him."

"Mengs is here, is he? I though he had been at Madrid."

"He has got leave of absence for a year, but his family remains in Spain."

After hearing all this news which was far from pleasant to me, as I did not wish to see Mengs or my brother, I went to bed, leaving orders that I was to be roused in time for dinner.

In an hour's time I was awakened by the tidings that some one was waiting to give me a note. It was one of the bargello's men, who had come to take over l'Etoile's effects.

At dinner I told Sir B—— M—— what I had done, and we agreed that he should accompany me to the bargello's in the evening.

In the afternoon we visited some of the principal palaces, and after taking Betty back to the inn we went to the bargello, who told us our man was already in prison, and that it would cost very little to send him to the galleys.

"Before making up my mind I should like to speak to him," said Sir B—— M——.

"You can do so to-morrow. He confessed everything without any trouble, and made a jest of it, saying he was not afraid of any consequences, as the young lady had gone with him of her own free will. I shewed him the bill of exchange, but he evinced no emotion whatever. He told me that he was an actor by profession, but also a man of rank. As to the horse, he said he was at perfect liberty to sell it, as the watch he had left in pledge was worth more than the beast."

I had forgotten to inform the bargello that the watch aforesaid belonged to Betty.

We gave the worthy official fifty crowns, and supped with Betty, who had, as I have remarked, recovered her trunk, and had been busying herself in putting her things to rights.

She was glad to hear that the rascal was in prison, but she did not seem to wish to pay him a visit.

We went to see him in the afternoon of the next day.

The bargello had assigned us an advocate, who made out a document demanding payment by the prisoner of the expenses of the journey, and of his arrest, together with a certain sum as compensation to the person whom he had deceived, unless he could prove his right to the title of count in the course of six weeks.

We found l'Etoile with this document in his hand; someone was translating it for him into French.

As soon as the rascal saw me, he said, with a laugh, that I owed him twenty-five Louis as he had left Betty to sleep with me.

The Englishman told him he lied; it was he that had slept with her.

"Are you Betty's lover?" asked l'Etoile.

"Yes, and if I had caught you with her I should have blown out your brains, for you have deceived her doubly; you're only a beggarly actor."

"I have three thousand crowns."

"I will pay six thousand if the bill proves to be a good one. In the meanwhile you will stay here, and if it be false, as I expect it is, you will go to the galleys."

"Very good."

"I shall speak to my counsel."

We went out and called on the advocate, for Sir B—— M—— had a lively desire to send the impudent rascal to the galleys. However, it could not be done, for l'Etoile said he was quite ready to give up the bill, but that he expected Sir B—— M—— to pay a crown a day for his keep while he remained in prison.

Sir B—— M—— thought he would like to see something of Rome, as he was there, and was obliged to buy almost everything as he had left his belongings behind him, while Betty was well provided for as her trunk was of immense capacity. I went with them everywhere; it was not exactly the life I liked, but there would be time for me to please myself after they had gone. I loved Betty without desiring her, and I had taken a liking to the Englishman who had an excellent heart. At first he wanted to stay a fortnight at Rome, and then to return to Leghorn; but his friend Lord Baltimore, who had come to Rome in the meanwhile, persuaded him to pay a short visit to Naples.

This nobleman, who had with him a very pretty Frenchwoman and two servants, said he would see to the journey, and that I must join the party. I had made his acquaintance at London.

I was glad to have the opportunity of seeing Naples again. We lodged at the "Crocielles" at Chiaggia, or Chiaja, as the Neapolitans call it.

The first news I heard was the death of the Duke of Matalone and the marriage of his widow with Prince Caramanica.

This circumstance put an end to some of my hopes, and I only thought of amusing myself with my friends, as if I had never been at Naples before. Lord Baltimore had been there several times, but his mistress, Betty, and Sir B—— M——, were strangers, and wanted to see everything. I accordingly acted as cicerone, for which part I and my lord, too, were much better qualified than the tedious and ignorant fellows who had an official right to that title.

The day after our arrival I was unpleasantly surprised to see the notorious Chevalier Goudar, whom I had known at London. He called on Lord Baltimore.

This famous rout had a house at Pausilippo, and his wife was none other than the pretty Irish girl Sara, formerly a drawer in a London tavern. The reader has been already introduced to her. Goudar knew I had met her, so he told me who she was, inviting us all to dine with him the next day.

Sara skewed no surprise nor confusion at the sight of me, but I was petrified. She was dressed with the utmost elegance, received company admirably, spoke Italian with perfect correctness, talked sensibly, and was exquisitely beautiful; I was stupefied; the metamorphosis was so great.

In a quarter of an hour five or six ladies of the highest rank arrived, with ten or twelve dukes, princes, and marquises, to say nothing of a host of distinguished strangers.

The table was laid for thirty, but before dinner Madame Goudar seated herself at the piano, and sang a few airs with the voice of a siren, and with a confidence that did not astonish the other guests as they knew her, but which astonished me extremely, for her singing was really admirable.

Goudar had worked this miracle. He had been educating her to be his wife for six or seven years.

After marrying her he had taken her to Paris, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, etc., everywhere seeking fortune, but in vain. Finally he had come to Naples, where he had brought his wife into the fashion of obliging her to renounce in public the errors of the Anglican heresy. She had been received into the Catholic Church under the auspices of the Queen of Naples. The amusing part in all this was that Sara, being an Irishwoman, had been born a Catholic, and had never ceased to be one.

All the nobility, even to the Court, went to see Sara, while she went nowhere, for no one invited her. This kind of thing is a characteristic of nobility all the world over.

Goudar told me all these particulars, and confessed that he only made his living by gaming. Faro and biribi were the only pillars of his house; but they must have been strong ones, for he lived in great style.

He asked me to join with him, and I did not care to refuse; my purse was fast approaching total depletion, and if it were not for this resource I could not continue living in the style to which I had been accustomed.

Having taken this resolution I declined returning to Rome with Betty and Sir B—— M——, who wanted to repay me all I had spent on her account. I was not in a position to be ostentatious, so I accepted his generous offer.

Two months later I heard that l'Etoile had been liberated by the influence of Cardinal Bernis, and had left Rome. Next year I heard at Florence that Sir B—— M—— had returned to England, where no doubt he married Betty as soon as he became a widower.

As for the famous Lord Baltimore he left Naples a few days after my friends, and travelled about Italy in his usual way. Three years later he paid for his British bravado with his life. He committed the wild imprudence of traversing the Maremma in August, and was killed by the poisonous exhalations.

I stopped at "Crocielles," as all the rich foreigners came to live there. I was thus enabled to make their acquaintance, and put them in the way of losing their money at Goudar's. I did not like my task, but circumstances were too strong for me.

Five or six days after Betty had left I chanced to meet the Abby Gama, who had aged a good deal, but was still as gay and active as ever. After we had told each other our adventures he informed me that, as all the differences between the Holy See and the Court of Naples had been adjusted, he was going back to Rome.

Before he went, however, he said he should like to present me to a lady whom he was sure I should be very glad to see again.

The first persons I thought of were Donna Leonilda, or Donna Lucrezia, her mother; but what was my surprise to see Agatha, the dancer with whom I had been in love at Turin after abandoning the Corticelli.

Our delight was mutual, and we proceeded to tell each other the incidents of our lives since we had parted.

My tale only lasted a quarter of an hour, but Agatha's history was a long one.

She had only danced a year at Naples. An advocate had fallen in love with her, and she shewed me four pretty children she had given him. The husband came in at supper-time, and as she had often talked to him about me he rushed to embrace me as soon as he heard my name. He was an intelligent man, like most of the pagletti of Naples. We supped together like old friends, and the Abbe Gama going soon after supper I stayed with them till midnight, promising to join them at dinner the next day.

Although Agatha was in the very flower of her beauty, the old fires were not rekindled in me. I was ten years older. My coolness pleased me, for I should not have liked to trouble the peace of a happy home.

After leaving Agatha I proceeded to Goudar's, in whose bank I took a strong interest. I found a dozen gamesters round the table, but what was my surprise to recognize in the holder of the bank Count Medini.

Three or four days before this Medini had been expelled from the house of M. de Choiseul, the French ambassador; he had been caught cheating at cards. I had also my reason to be incensed against him; and, as the reader may remember, we had fought a duel.

On glancing at the bank I saw that it was at the last gasp. It ought to have held six hundred ounces, and there were scarcely a hundred. I was interested to the extent of a third.

On examining the face of the punter who had made these ravages I guessed the game. It was the first time I had seen the rascal at Goudar's.

At the end of the deal Goudar told me that this punter was a rich Frenchman who had been introduced by Medini. He told me I should not mind his winning that evening, as he would be sure to lose it all and a good deal more another time.

"I don't care who the punter is," said I, "it is not of the slightest consequence to me, as I tell you plainly that as long as Medini is the banker I will have nothing to do with it."

"I have told Medini about it and wanted to take a third away from the bank, but he seemed offended and said he would make up any loss to you, but that he could not have the bank touched."

"Very good, but if he does not bring me my money by to-morrow morning there will be trouble. Indeed, the responsibility lies with you, for I have told you that as long as Medini deals I will have nothing to do with it."

"Of course you have a claim on me for two hundred ounces, but I hope you will be reasonable; it would be rather hard for me to lose two-thirds."

Knowing Goudar to be a greater rascal than Medini, I did not believe a word he said; and I waited impatiently for the end of the game.

At one o'clock it was all over. The lucky punter went off with his pockets full of gold, and Medini, affecting high spirits, which were very much out of place, swore his victory should cost him dear.

"Will you kindly give me my two hundred ounces," said I, "for, of course, Gondar told you that I was out of it?"

"I confess myself indebted to you for that amount, as you absolutely insist, but pray tell me why you refuse to be interested in the bank when I am dealing."

"Because I have no confidence in your luck."

"You must see that your words are capable of a very unpleasant interpretation."

"I can't prevent your interpreting my words as you please, but I have a right to my own opinion. I want my two hundred ounces, and I am quite willing to leave you any moneys you propose to make out of the conqueror of to-night. You must make your arrangements with M. Goudar, and by noon to-morrow, you, M. Goudar, will bring me that sum."

"I can't remit you the money till the count gives it me, for I haven't got any money."

"I am sure you will have some money by twelve o'clock to-morrow morning. Goodnight."

I would not listen to any of their swindling arguments, and went home without the slightest doubt that they were trying to cheat me. I resolved to wash my hands of the whole gang as soon as I had got my money back by fair means or foul.

At nine the next morning I received a note from Medini, begging me to call on him and settle the matter. I replied that he must make his arrangements with Goudar, and I begged to be excused calling on him.

In the course of an hour he paid me a visit, and exerted all his eloquence to persuade me to take a bill for two hundred ounces, payable in a week. I gave him a sharp refusal, saying that my business was with Goudar and Gondar only, and that unless I received the money by noon I should proceed to extremities. Medini raised his voice, and told me that my language was offensive; and forthwith I took up a pistol and placed it against his cheek, ordering him to leave the room. He turned pale, and went away without a word.

At noon I went to Gondar's without my sword, but with two good pistols in my pocket. Medini was there, and began by reproaching me with attempting to assassinate him in my own house.

I took no notice of this, but told Gondar to give me my two hundred ounces.

Goudar asked Medini to give him the money.

There would undoubtedly have been a quarrel, if I had not been prudent enough to leave the room, threatening Gondar with ruin if he did not send on the money directly.

Just as I was leaving the house, the fair Sara put her head out of the window, and begged me to come up by the back stairs and speak to her.

I begged to be excused, so she said she would come down, and in a moment she stood beside me.

"You are in the right about your money," she said, "but just at present my husband has not got any; you really must wait two or three days, I will guarantee the payment."

"I am really sorry," I replied, "not to be able to oblige such a charming woman, but the only thing that will pacify me is my money, and till I have had it, you will see me no more in your house, against which I declare war."

Thereupon she drew from her finger a diamond ring, worth at least four hundred ounces, and begged me to accept it as a pledge.

I took it, and left her after making my bow. She was doubtless astonished at my behaviour, for in her state of deshabille she could not have counted on my displaying such firmness.

I was very well satisfied with my victory, and went to dine with the advocate, Agatha's husband. I told him the story, begging him to find someone who would give me two hundred ounces on the ring.

"I will do it myself," said he; and he gave me an acknowledgment and two hundred ounces on the spot. He then wrote in my name a letter to Goudar, informing him that he was the depositary of the ring.

This done, I recovered my good temper.

Before dinner Agatha took me into her boudoir and shewed me all the splendid jewels I had given her when I was rich and in love.

"Now I am a rich woman," said she, "and my good fortune is all your making; so take back what you gave me. Don't be offended; I am so grateful to you, and my good husband and I agreed on this plan this morning."

To take away any scruples I might have, she shewed me the diamonds her husband had given her; they had belonged to his first wife and were worth a considerable sum.

My gratitude was too great for words, I could only press her hand, and let my eyes speak the feelings of my heart. Just then her husband came in.

It had evidently been concerted between them, for the worthy man embraced me, and begged me to accede to his wife's request.

We then joined the company which consisted of a dozen or so of their friends, but the only person who attracted my attention was a very young man, whom I set down at once as in love with Agatha. His name was Don Pascal Latilla; and I could well believe that he would be successful in love, for he was intelligent, handsome, and well-mannered. We became friends in the course of the meal.

Amongst the ladies I was greatly pleased with one young girl. She was only fourteen, but she looked eighteen. Agatha told me she was studying singing, intending to go on the stage as she was so poor.

"So pretty, and yet poor?"

"Yes, for she will have all or nothing; and lovers of that kind are rare in Naples."

"But she must have some lover?"

"If she has, no one has heard of him. You had better make her acquaintance and go and see her. You will soon be friends."

"What's her name?"

"Callimena. The lady who is speaking to her is her aunt, and I expect they are talking about you."

We sat down to the enjoyment of a delicate and abundant meal. Agatha, I could see, was happy, and delighted to shew me how happy she was. The old Abbe Gama congratulated himself on having presented me. Don Pascal Latilla could not be jealous of the attentions paid me by his idol, for I was a stranger, and they were my due; while her husband prided himself on his freedom from those vulgar prejudices to which so many Neapolitans are subject.

In the midst of all this gaiety I could not help stealing many a furtive glance towards Callimena. I addressed her again and again, and she answered me politely but so briefly as to give me no opportunity of displaying my powers in the way of persiflage.

I asked if her name was her family name or a pseudonym.

"It is my baptismal name."

"It is Greek; but, of course, you know what it means?"

"No."

"Mad beauty, or fair moon."

"I am glad to say that I have nothing in common with my name."

"Have you any brothers or sisters?"

"I have only one married sister, with whom you may possibly be acquainted."

"What is her name, and who is her husband?"

"Her husband is a Piedmontese, but she does not live with him."

"Is she the Madame Slopis who travels with Aston?"

"Exactly."

"I can give you good news of her."

After dinner I asked Agatha how she came to know Callimena.

"My husband is her godfather."

"What is her exact age?"

"Fourteen."

"She's a simple prodigy! What loveliness!"

"Her sister is still handsomer."

"I have never seen her."

A servant came in and said M. Goudar would like to have a little private conversation with the advocate.

The advocate came back in a quarter of an hour, and informed me that Goudar had given him the two hundred ounces, and that he had returned him the ring.

"Then that's all settled, and I am very glad of it. I have certainly made an eternal enemy of him, but that doesn't trouble me much."

We began playing, and Agatha made me play with Callimena, the freshness and simplicity of whose character delighted me.

I told her all I knew about her sister, and promised I would write to Turin to enquire whether she were still there. I told her that I loved her, and that if she would allow me, I would come and see her. Her reply was extremely satisfactory.

The next morning I went to wish her good day. She was taking a music lesson from her master. Her talents were really of a moderate order, but love made me pronounce her performance to be exquisite.

When the master had gone, I remained alone with her. The poor girl overwhelmed me with apologies for her dress, her wretched furniture, and for her inability to give me a proper breakfast.

"All that make you more desirable in my eyes, and I am only sorry that I cannot offer you a fortune."

As I praised her beauty, she allowed me to kiss her ardently, but she stopped my further progress by giving me a kiss as if to satisfy me.

I made an effort to restrain my ardour, and told her to tell me truly whether she had a lover.

"Not one."

"And have you never had one?"

"Never."

"Not even a fancy for anyone?"

"No, never."

"What, with your beauty and sensibility, is there no man in Naples who has succeeded in inspiring you with desire?"

"No one has ever tried to do so. No one has spoken to me as you have, and that is the plain truth."

"I believe you, and I see that I must make haste to leave Naples, if I would not be the most unhappy of men."

"What do you mean?"

"I should love you without the hope of possessing you, and thus I should be most unhappy."

"Love me then, and stay. Try and make me love you. Only you must moderate your ecstacies, for I cannot love a man who cannot exercise self-restraint."

"As just now, for instance?"

"Yes. If you calm yourself I shall think you do so for my sake, and thus love will tread close on the heels of gratitude."

This was as much as to tell me that though she did not love me yet I had only to wait patiently, and I resolved to follow her advice. I had reached an age which knows nothing of the impatient desires of youth.

I gave her a tender embrace, and as I was getting up to go I asked her if she were in need of money.

This question male her blush, and she said I had better ask her aunt, who was in the next room.

I went in, and was somewhat astonished to find the aunt seated between two worthy Capuchins, who were talking small talk to her while she worked at her needle. At a little distance three young girls sat sewing.

The aunt would have risen to welcome me, but I prevented her, asked her how she did, and smilingly congratulated her on her company. She smiled back, but the Capuchins sat as firm as two stocks, without honouring me with as much as a glance.

I took a chair and sat down beside her.

She was near her fiftieth year, though some might have doubted whether she would ever see it again; her manner was good and honest, and her features bore the traces of the beauty that time had ruined.

Although I am not a prejudiced man, the presence of the two evil-smelling monks annoyed me extremely. I thought the obstinate way in which they stayed little less than an insult. True they were men like myself, in spite of their goats' beards and dirty frocks, and consequently were liable to the same desires as I; but for all that I found them wholly intolerable. I could not shame them without shaming the lady, and they knew it; monks are adepts at such calculations.

I have travelled all over Europe, but France is the only country in which I saw a decent and respectable clergy.

At the end of a quarter of an hour I could contain myself no longer, and told the aunt that I wished to say something to her in private. I thought the two satyrs would have taken the hint, but I counted without my host. The aunt arose, however, and took me into the next room.

I asked my question as delicately as possible, and she replied,—

"Alas! I have only too great a need of twenty ducats (about eighty francs) to pay my rent."

I gave her the money on the spot, and I saw that she was very grateful, but I left her before she could express her feelings.

Here I must tell my readers (if I ever have any) of an event which took place on that same day.

As I was dining in my room by myself, I was told that a Venetian gentleman who said he knew me wished to speak to me.

I ordered him to be shewn in, and though his face was not wholly unknown to me I could not recollect who he was.

He was tall, thin and wretched, misery and hunger spewing plainly in his every feature; his beard was long, his head shaven, his robe a dingy brown, and bound about him with a coarse cord, whence hung a rosary and a dirty handkerchief. In the left hand he bore a basket, and in the right a long stick; his form is still before me, but I think of him not as a humble penitent, but as a being in the last state of desperation; almost an assassin.

"Who are you?" I said at length. "I think I have seen you before, and yet . . ."

"I will soon tell you my name and the story of my woes; but first give me something to eat, for I am dying of hunger. I have had nothing but bad soup for the last few days."

"Certainly; go downstairs and have your dinner, and then come back to me; you can't eat and speak at the same time."

My man went down to give him his meal, and I gave instructions that I was not to be left alone with him as he terrified me.

I felt sure that I ought to know him, and longed to hear his story.

In three quarters of an hour he came up again, looking like some one in a high fever.

"Sit down," said I, "and speak freely."

"My name is Albergoni."

"What!"

Albergoni was a gentleman of Padua, and one of my most intimate friends twenty-five years before. He was provided with a small fortune, but an abundance of wit, and had a great leaning towards pleasure and the exercise of satire. He laughed at the police and the cheated husbands, indulged in Venus and Bacchus to excess, sacrificed to the god of pederasty, and gamed incessantly. He was now hideously ugly, but when I knew him first he was a very Antinous.

He told me the following story:

"A club of young rakes, of whom I was one, had a casino at the Zuecca; we passed many a pleasant hour there without hurting anyone. Some one imagined that these meetings were the scenes of unlawful pleasures, the engines of the law were secretly directed against us, and the casino was shut up, and we were ordered to be arrested. All escaped except myself and a man named Branzandi. We had to wait for our unjust sentence for two years, but at last it appeared. My wretched fellow was condemned to lose his head, and afterwards to be burnt, while I was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment 'in carcere duro'. In 1765 I was set free, and went to Padua hoping to live in peace, but my persecutors gave me no rest, and I was accused of the same crime. I would not wait for the storm to burst, so I fled to Rome, and two years afterwards the Council of Ten condemned me to perpetual banishment.

"I might bear this if I had the wherewithal to live, but a brother-in-law of mine has possessed himself of all I have, and the unjust Tribunal winks at his misdeeds.

"A Roman attorney made me an offer of an annuity of two pawls a day on the condition that I should renounce all claims on my estate. I refused this iniquitous condition, and left Rome to come here and turn hermit. I have followed this sorry trade for two years, and can bear it no more."

"Go back to Rome; you can live on two pawls a day."

"I would rather die."

I pitied him sincerely, and said that though I was not a rich man he was welcome to dine every day at my expense while I remained in Naples, and I gave him a sequin.

Two or three days later my man told me that the poor wretch had committed suicide.

In his room were found five numbers, which he bequeathed to Medini and myself out of gratitude for our kindness to him. These five numbers were very profitable to the Lottery of Naples, for everyone, myself excepted, rushed to get them. Not a single one proved a winning number, but the popular belief that numbers given by a man before he commits suicide are infallible is too deeply rooted among the Neapolitans to be destroyed by such a misadventure.

I went to see the wretched man's body, and then entered a cafe. Someone was talking of the case, and maintaining that death by strangulation must be most luxurious as the victim always expires with a strong erection. It might be so, but the erection might also be the result of an agony of pain, and before anyone can speak dogmatically on the point he must first have had a practical experience.

As I was leaving the cafe I had the good luck to catch a handkerchief thief in the act; it was about the twentieth I had stolen from me in the month I had spent at Naples. Such petty thieves abound there, and their skill is something amazing.

As soon as he felt himself caught, he begged me not to make any noise, swearing he would return all the handkerchiefs he had stolen from me, which, as he confessed, amounted to seven or eight.

"You have stolen more than twenty from me."

"Not I, but some of my mates. If you come with me, perhaps we shall be able to get them all back."

"Is it far off?"

"In the Largo del Castello. Let me go; people are looking at us."

The little rascal took me to an evil-looking tavern, and shewed me into a room, where a man asked me if I wanted to buy any old things. As soon as he heard I had come for my handkerchiefs, he opened a big cupboard full of handkerchiefs, amongst which I found a dozen of mine, and bought them back for a trifle.

A few days after I bought several others, though I knew they were stolen.

The worthy Neapolitan dealer seemed to think me trustworthy, and three or four days before I left Naples he told me that he could sell me, for ten or twelve thousand ducats, commodities which would fetch four times that amount at Rome or elsewhere.

"What kind of commodities are they?"

"Watches, snuff-boxes, rings, and jewels, which I dare not sell here."

"Aren't you afraid of being discovered?"

"Not much, I don't tell everyone of my business."

I thanked him, but I would not look at his trinkets, as I was afraid the temptation of making such a profit would be too great.

When I got back to my inn I found some guests had arrived, of whom a few were known to me. Bartoldi had arrived from Dresden with two young Saxons, whose tutor he was. These young noblemen were rich and handsome, and looked fond of pleasure.

Bartoldi was an old friend of mine. He had played Harlequin at the King of Poland's Italian Theatre. On the death of the monarch he had been placed at the head of the opera-buffa by the dowager electress, who was passionately fond of music.

Amongst the other strangers were Miss Chudleigh, now Duchess of Kingston, with a nobleman and a knight whose names I have forgotten.

The duchess recognized me at once, and seemed pleased that I paid my court to her. An hour afterwards Mr. Hamilton came to see her, and I was delighted to make his acquaintance. We all dined together. Mr. Hamilton was a genius, and yet he ended by marrying a mere girl, who was clever enough to make him in love with her. Such a misfortune often comes to clever men in their old age. Marriage is always a folly; but when a man marries a young woman at a time of life when his physical strength is running low, he is bound to pay dearly for his folly; and if his wife is amorous of him she will kill him even years ago I had a narrow escape myself from the same fate.

After dinner I presented the two Saxons to the duchess; they gave her news of the dowager electress, of whom she was very fond. We then went to the play together. As chance would have it, Madame Goudar occupied the box next to ours, and Hamilton amused the duchess by telling the story of the handsome Irishwoman, but her grace did not seem desirous of making Sara's acquaintance.

After supper the duchess arranged a game of quinze with the two Englishmen and the two Saxons. The stakes were small, and the Saxons proved victorious. I had not taken any part in the game, but I resolved to do so the next evening.

The following day we dined magnificently with the Prince of Francavilla, and in the afternoon he took us to the bath by the seashore, where we saw a wonderful sight. A priest stripped himself naked, leapt into the water, and without making the slightest movement floated on the surface like a piece of deal. There was no trick in it, and the marvel must be assigned to some special quality in his organs of breathing. After this the prince amused the duchess still more pleasantly. He made all his pages, lads of fifteen to seventeen, go into the water, and their various evolutions afforded us great pleasure. They were all the sweethearts of the prince, who preferred Ganymede to Hebe.

The Englishmen asked him if if he would give us the same spectacle, only substituting nymphs for the 'amoyini', and he promised to do so the next day at his splendid house near Portici, where there was a marble basin in the midst of the garden.





CHAPTER XIV

     My Amours with Gallimena—Journey to Soyento—Medini—
     Goudar—Miss Chudleigh—The Marquis Petina—Gaetano—Madame
     Cornelis's Son—An Anecdote of Sara Goudar—The Florentines
     Mocked by the King—My Journey to Salerno, Return to Naples,
     and Arrival at Rome

The Prince of Francavilla was a rich Epicurean, whose motto was 'Fovet et favet'.

He was in favour in Spain, but the king allowed him to live at Naples, as he was afraid of his initiating the Prince of Asturias, his brothers, and perhaps the whole Court, into his peculiar vices.

The next day he kept his promise, and we had the pleasure of seeing the marble basin filled with ten or twelve beautiful girls who swam about in the water.

Miss Chudleigh and the two other ladies pronounced this spectacle tedious; they no doubt preferred that of the previous day.

In spite of this gay company I went to see Callimena twice a day; she still made me sigh in vain.

Agatha was my confidante; she would gladly have helped me to attain my ends, but her dignity would not allow of her giving me any overt assistance. She promised to ask Callimena to accompany us on an excursion to Sorento, hoping that I should succeed in my object during the night we should have to spend there.

Before Agatha had made these arrangements, Hamilton had made similar ones with the Duchess of Kingston, and I succeeded in getting an invitation. I associated chiefly with the two Saxons and a charming Abbe Guliani, with whom I afterwards made a more intimate acquaintance at Rome.

We left Naples at four o'clock in the morning, in a felucca with twelve oars, and at nine we reached Sorrento.

We were fifteen in number, and all were delighted with this earthly paradise.

Hamilton took us to a garden belonging to the Duke of Serra Capriola, who chanced to be there with his beautiful Piedmontese wife, who loved her husband passionately.

The duke had been sent there two months before for having appeared in public in an equipage which was adjudged too magnificent. The minister Tanucci called on the king to punish this infringement of the sumptuary laws, and as the king had not yet learnt to resist his ministers, the duke and his wife were exiled to this earthly paradise. But a paradise which is a prison is no paradise at all; they were both dying of ennui, and our arrival was balm in Gilead to them.

A certain Abbe Bettoni, whose acquaintance I had made nine years before at the late Duke of Matalone's, had come to see them, and was delighted to meet me again.

The abbe was a native of Brescia, but he had chosen Sorento as his residence. He had three thousand crowns a year, and lived well, enjoying all the gifts of Bacchus, Ceres, Comus, and Venus, the latter being his favourite divinity. He had only to desire to attain, and no man could desire greater pleasure than he enjoyed at Sorento. I was vexed to see Count Medini with him; we were enemies, and gave each other the coldest of greetings.

We were twenty-two at table and enjoyed delicious fare, for in that land everything is good; the very bread is sweeter than elsewhere. We spent the afternoon in inspecting the villages, which are surrounded by avenues finer than the avenues leading to the grandest castles in Europe.

Abbe Bettoni treated us to lemon, coffee, and chocolate ices, and some delicious cream cheese. Naples excels in these delicacies, and the abbe had everything of the best. We were waited on by five or six country girls of ravishing beauty, dressed with exquisite neatness. I asked him whether that were his seraglio, and he replied that it might be so, but that jealousy was unknown, as I should see for myself if I cared to spend a week with him.

I envied this happy man, and yet I pitied him, for he was at least twelve years older than I, and I was by no means young. His pleasures could not last much longer.

In the evening we returned to the duke's, and sat down to a supper composed of several kinds of fish.

The air of Sorento gives an untiring appetite, and the supper soon disappeared.

After supper my lady proposed a game at faro, and Bettoni, knowing Medini to be a professional gamester, asked him to hold the bank. He begged to be excused, saying he had not enough money, so I consented to take his place.

The cards were brought in, and I emptied my poor purse on the table. It only held four hundred ounces, but that was all I possessed.

The game began; and on Medini asking me if I would allow him a share in the bank, I begged him to excuse me on the score of inconvenience.

I went on dealing till midnight, and by that time I had only forty ounces left. Everybody had won except Sir Rosebury, who had punted in English bank notes, which I had put into my pocket without counting.

When I got to my room I thought I had better look at the bank notes, for the depletion of my purse disquieted me. My delight may be imagined. I found I had got four hundred and fifty pounds—more than double what I had lost.

I went to sleep well pleased with my day's work, and resolved not to tell anyone of my good luck.

The duchess had arranged for us to start at nine, and Madame de Serra Capriola begged us to take coffee with her before going.

After breakfast Medini and Bettoni came in, and the former asked Hamilton whether he would mind his returning with us. Of course, Hamilton could not refuse, so he came on board, and at two o'clock I was back at my inn. I was astonished to be greeted in my antechamber by a young lady, who asked me sadly whether I remembered her. She was the eldest of the five Hanoverians, the same that had fled with the Marquis dells Petina.

I told her to come in, and ordered dinner to be brought up.

"If you are alone," she said, "I should be glad to share your repast."

"Certainly; I will order dinner for two."

Her story was soon told. She had come to Naples with her husband, whom her mother refused to recognize. The poor wretch had sold all he possessed, and two or three months after he had been arrested on several charges of forgery. His poor mate had supported him in prison for seven years. She had heard that I was at Naples, and wanted me to help her, not as the Marquis della Petina wished, by lending him money, but by employing my influence with the Duchess of Kingston to make that lady take her to England with her in her service.

"Are you married to the marquis?"

"No."

"Then how could you keep him for seven years?"

"Alas . . . . You can think of a hundred ways, and they would all be true."

"I see."

"Can you procure me an interview with the duchess?"

"I will try, but I warn you that I shall tell her the simple truth."

"Very good."

"Come again to-morrow."

At six o'clock I went to ask Hamilton how I could exchange the English notes I had won, and he gave me the money himself.

Before supper I spoke to the duchess about the poor Hanoverian. My lady said she remembered seeing her, and that she would like to have a talk with her before coming to any decision. I brought the poor creature to her the next day, and left them alone. The result of the interview was that the duchess took her into her service in the place of a Roman girl, and the Hanoverian went to England with her. I never heard of her again, but a few days after Petina sent to beg me to come and see him in prison, and I could not refuse. I found him with a young man whom I recognized as his brother, though he was very handsome and the marquis very ugly; but the distinction between beauty and ugliness is often hard to point out.

This visit proved a very tedious one, for I had to listen to a long story which did not interest me in the least.

As I was going out I was met by an official, who said another prisoner wanted to speak to me.

"What's his name?"

"His name is Gaetano, and he says he is a relation of yours."

My relation and Gaetano! I thought it might be the abbe.

I went up to the first floor, and found a score of wretched prisoners sitting on the ground roaring an obscene song in chorus.

Such gaiety is the last resource of men condemned to imprisonment on the galleys; it is nature giving her children some relief.

One of the prisoners came up to me and greeted me as "gossip." He would have embraced me, but I stepped back. He told me his name, and I recognized in him that Gaetano who had married a pretty woman under my auspices as her godfather. The reader may remember that I afterwards helped her to escape from him.

"I am sorry to see you here, but what can I do for you?"

"You can pay me the hundred crowns you owe me, for the goods supplied to you at Paris by me."

This was a lie, so I turned my back on him, saying I supposed imprisonment had driven him mad.

As I went away I asked an official why he had been imprisoned, and was told it was for forgery, and that he would have been hanged if it had not been for a legal flaw. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life.

I dismissed him from my mind, but in the afternoon I had a visit from an advocate who demanded a hundred crowns on Gaetano's behalf, supporting his claim by the production of an immense ledger, where my name appeared as debtor on several pages.

"Sir," said I, "the man is mad; I don't owe him anything, and the evidence of this book is utterly worthless.

"You make a mistake, sir," he replied; "this ledger is good evidence, and our laws deal very favorably with imprisoned creditors. I am retained for them, and if you do not settle the matter by to-morrow I shall serve you with a summons."

I restrained my indignation and asked him politely for his name and address. He wrote it down directly, feeling quite certain that his affair was as good as settled.

I called on Agatha, and her husband was much amused when I told my story.

He made me sign a power of attorney, empowering him to act for me, and he then advised the other advocate that all communications in the case must be made to him alone.

The 'paglietti' who abound in Naples only live by cheating, and especially by imposing on strangers.

Sir Rosebury remained at Naples, and I found myself acquainted with all the English visitors. They all lodged at "Crocielles," for the English are like a flock of sheep; they follow each other about, always go to the came place, and never care to shew any originality. We often arranged little trips in which the two Saxons joined, and I found the time pass very pleasantly. Nevertheless, I should have left Naples after the fair if my love for Callimena had not restrained me. I saw her every day and made her presents, but she only granted me the slightest of favours.

The fair was nearly over, and Agatha was making her preparations for going to Sorento as had been arranged. She begged her husband to invite a lady whom he had loved before marrying her while she invited Pascal Latilla for herself, and Callimena for me.

There were thus three couples, and the three gentlemen were to defray all expenses.

Agatha's husband took the direction of everything.

A few days before the party I saw, to my surprise, Joseph, son of Madame Cornelis and brother of my dear Sophie.

"How did you come to Naples? Whom are you with?"

"I am by myself. I wanted to see Italy, and my mother gave me this pleasure. I have seen Turin, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Venice, and Rome; and after I have done Italy I shall see Switzerland and Germany, and then return to England by way of Holland."

"How long is this expedition to take?"

"Six months."

"I suppose you will be able to give a full account of everything when you go back to London?"

"I hope to convince my mother that the money she spent was not wasted."

"How much do you think it will cost you?"

"The five hundred guineas she gave me, no more."

"Do you mean to say you are only going to spend five hundred guineas in six months? I can't believe it."

"Economy works wonders."

"I suppose so. How have you done as to letters of introduction in all these countries of which you now know so much?"

"I have had no introductions. I carry an English passport, and let people think that I am English."

"Aren't you afraid of getting into bad company?"

"I don't give myself the chance. I don't speak to anyone, and when people address me I reply in monosyllables. I always strike a bargain before I eat a meal or take a lodging. I only travel in public conveyances."

"Very good. Here you will be able to economize; I will pay all your expenses, and give you an excellent cicerone, one who will cost you nothing."

"I am much obliged, but I promised my mother not to accept anything from anybody."

"I think you might make an exception in my case."

"No. I have relations in Venice, and I would not take so much as a single dinner from them. When I promise, I perform."

Knowing his obstinacy, I did not insist. He was now a young man of twenty-three, of a delicate order of prettiness, and might easily have been taken for a girl in disguise if he had not allowed his whiskers to grow.

Although his grand tour seemed an extravagant project, I could not help admiring his courage and desire to be well informed.

I asked him about his mother and daughter, and he replied to my questions without reserve.

He told me that Madame Cornelis was head over ears in debts, and spent about half the year in prison. She would then get out by giving fresh bills and making various arrangements with her creditors, who knew that if they did not allow her to give her balls, they could not expect to get their money.

My daughter, I heard, was a pretty girl of seventeen, very talented, and patronized by the first ladies in London. She gave concerts, but had to bear a good deal from her mother.

I asked him to whom she was to have been married, when she was taken from the boarding school. He said he had never heard of anything of the kind.

"Are you in any business?"

"No. My mother is always talking of buying a cargo and sending me with it to the Indies, but the day never seems to come, and I am afraid it never will come. To buy a cargo one must have some money, and my mother has none."

In spite of his promise, I induced him to accept the services of my man, who shewed him all the curiosities of Naples in the course of a week.

I could not make him stay another week. He set out for Rome, and wrote to me from there that he had left six shirts and a great coat behind him. He begged me to send them on, but he forgot to give me his address.

He was a hare-brained fellow, and yet with the help of two or three sound maxims he managed to traverse half Europe without coming to any grief.

I had an unexpected visit from Goudar, who knew the kind of company I kept, and wanted me to ask his wife and himself to dinner to meet the two Saxons and my English friends.

I promised to oblige him on the understanding that there was to be no play at my house, as I did not want to be involved in any unpleasantness. He was perfectly satisfied with this arrangement, as he felt sure his wife would attract them to his house, where, as he said, one could play without being afraid of anything.

As I was going to Sorento the next day, I made an appointment with him for a day after my return.

This trip to Sorento was my last happy day.

The advocate took us to a house where we were lodged with all possible comfort. We had four rooms; the first was occupied by Agatha and her husband, the second by Callimena and the advocate's old sweetheart, the third by Pascal Latilla, and the fourth by myself.

After supper we went early to bed, and rising with the sun we went our several ways; the advocate with his old sweetheart, Agatha with Pascal, and I with Callimena. At noon we met again to enjoy a delicious dinner, and then the advocate took his siesta, while Pascal went for a walk with Agatha and her husband's sweetheart, and I wandered with Callimena under the shady alleys where the heat of the sun could not penetrate. Here it was that Callimena consented to gratify my passion. She gave herself for love's sake alone, and seemed sorry she had made me wait so long.

On the fourth day we returned to Naples in three carriages, as there was a strong wind. Callimena persuaded me to tell her aunt what had passed between us, that we might be able to meet without any restraint for the future.

I approved of her idea, and, not fearing to meet with much severity from the aunt, I took her apart and told her all that had passed, making her reasonable offers.

She was a sensible woman, and heard what I had to say with great good humour. She said that as I seemed inclined to do something for her niece, she would let me know as soon as possible what she wanted most. I remarked that as I should soon be leaving for Rome, I should like to sup with her niece every evening. She thought this a very natural wish on my part, and so we went to Callimena, who was delighted to hear the result of our interview.

I lost no time, but supped and passed that night with her. I made her all my own by the power of my love, and by buying her such things as she most needed, such as linen, dresses, etc. It cost me about a hundred louis, and in spite of the smallness of my means I thought I had made a good bargain. Agatha, whom I told of my good luck, was delighted to have helped me to procure it.

Two or three days after I gave a dinner to my English friends, the two Saxons, Bartoldi their governor, and Goudar and his wife.

We were all ready, and only waiting for M. and Madame Goudar, when I saw the fair Irishwoman come in with Count Medini. This piece of insolence made all the blood in my body rush to my head. However, I restrained myself till Goudar came in, and then I gave him a piece of my mind. It had been agreed that his wife should come with him. The rascally fellow prevaricated, and tried hard to induce me to believe that Medini had not plotted the breaking of the bank, but his eloquence was in vain.

Our dinner was a most agreeable one, and Sara cut a brilliant figure, for she possessed every pleasing quality that can make a woman attractive. In good truth, this tavern girl would have filled a throne with any queen; but Fortune is blind.

When the dinner was over, M. de Buturlin, a distinguished Russian, and a great lover of pretty women, paid me a visit. He had been attracted by the sweet voice of the fair Sara, who was singing a Neapolitan air to the guitar. I shone only with a borrowed light, but I was far from being offended. Buturlin fell in love with Sara on the spot, and a few months after I left he got her for five hundred Louis, which Goudar required to carry out the order he had received, namely, to leave Naples in three days.

This stroke came from the queen, who found out that the king met Madame Goudar secretly at Procida. She found her royal husband laughing heartily at a letter which he would not shew her.

The queen's curiosity was excited, and at last the king gave in, and her majesty read the following:

"Ti aspettero nel medesimo luogo, ed alla stessa ora, coll' impazienza medesima che ha una vacca che desidera l'avicinamento del toro."

"Chi infamia!" cried the queen, and her majesty gave the cow's husband to understand that in three days he would have to leave Naples, and look for bulls in other countries.

If these events had not taken place, M. de Buturlin would not have made so good a bargain.

After my dinner, Goudar asked all the company to sup with him the next evening. The repast was a magnificent one, but when Medini sat down at the end of a long table behind a heap of gold and a pack of cards, no punters came forward. Madame Goudar tried in vain to make the gentlemen take a hand. The Englishmen and the Saxons said politely that they should be delighted to play if she or I would take the bank, but they feared the count's extraordinary fortune.

Thereupon Goudar had the impudence to ask me to deal for a fourth share.

"I will not deal under a half share," I replied, "though I have no confidence in my luck."

Goudar spoke to Medini, who got up, took away his share, and left me the place.

I had only two hundred ounces in my purse. I placed them beside Goudar's two hundred, and in two hours my bank was broken, and I went to console myself with my Callimena.

Finding myself penniless I decided to yield to the pressure of Agatha's husband, who continued to beg me to take back the jewelry I had given his wife. I told Agatha I would never have consented if fortune had been kinder to me. She told her husband, and the worthy man came out of his closet and embraced me as if I had just made his fortune.

I told him I should like to have the value of the jewels, and the next day I found myself once more in possession of fifteen thousand francs. From that moment I decided to go to Rome, intending to stop there for eight months; but before my departure the advocate said he must give me a dinner at a casino which he had at Portici.

I had plenty of food for thought when I found myself in the house where I had made a small fortune by my trick with the mercury five-and-twenty years ago.

The king was then at Portici with his Court, and our curiosity attracting us we were witnesses of a most singular spectacle.

The king was only nineteen and loved all kinds of frolics. He conceived a desire to be tossed in a blanket! Probably few crowned heads have wished to imitate Sancho Panza in this manner.

His majesty was tossed to his heart's content; but after his aerial journeys he wished to laugh at those whom he had amused. He began by proposing that the queen should take part in the game; on her replying by shrieks of laughter, his majesty did not insist.

The old courtiers made their escape, greatly to my regret, for I should have liked to see them cutting capers in the air, specially Prince Paul Nicander, who had been the king's tutor, and had filled him with all his own prejudices.

When the king saw that his old followers had fled, he was reduced to asking the young nobles present to play their part.

I was not afraid for myself, as I was unknown, and not of sufficient rank to merit such an honour.

After three or four young noblemen had been tossed, much to the amusement of the queen and her ladies, the king cast his eyes on two young Florentine nobles who had lately arrived at Naples. They were with their tutor, and all three had been laughing heartily at the disport of the king and his courtiers.

The monarch came up and accosted them very pleasantly, proposing that they should take part in the game.

The wretched Tuscans had been baked in a bad oven; they were undersized, ugly, and humpbacked.

His majesty's proposal seemed to put them on thorns. Everybody listened for the effects of the king's eloquence; he was urging them to undress, and saying that it would be unmannerly to refuse; there could be no humiliation in it, he said, as he himself had been the first to submit.

The tutor felt that it would not do to give the king a refusal, and told them that they must give in, and thereupon the two Florentines took off their clothes.

When the company saw their figures and doleful expressions, the laughter became general. The king took one of them by the hand, observing in an encouraging manner that there would be no danger; and as a special honour he held one of the corners of the blanket himself. But, for all that, big tears rolled down the wretched young man's cheeks.

After three or four visits to the ceiling, and amusing everyone by the display of his long thin legs, he was released, and the younger brother went to the torture smilingly, for which he was rewarded by applause.

The governor, suspecting that his majesty destined him for the same fate, had slipped out; and the king laughed merrily when he heard of his departure.

Such was the extraordinary spectacle we enjoyed—a spectacle in every way unique.

Don Pascal Latilla, who had been lucky enough to avoid his majesty's notice, told us a number of pleasant anecdotes about the king; all shewed him in the amiable light of a friend of mirth and an enemy to all pomp and stateliness, by which kings are hedged in generally. He assured us that no one could help liking him, because he always preferred to be treated as a friend rather than a monarch.

"He is never more grieved," said Pascal, "than when his minister Tanucci shews him that he must be severe, and his greatest joy is to grant a favour."

Ferdinand had not the least tincture of letters, but as he was a man of good sense he honoured lettered men most highly, indeed anyone of merit was sure of his patronage. He revered the minister Marco, he had the greatest respect for the memory of Lelio Caraffa, and of the Dukes of Matalone, and he had provided handsomely for a nephew of the famous man of letters Genovesi, in consideration of his uncle's merits.

Games of chance were forbidden; and one day he surprised a number of the officers of his guard playing at faro. The young men were terrified at the sight of the king, and would have hidden their cards and money.

"Don't put yourselves out," said the kindly monarch, "take care that Tanucci doesn't catch you, but don't mind me."

His father was extremely fond of him up to the time when he was obliged to resist the paternal orders in deference to State reasons.

Ferdinand knew that though he was the King of Spain's son, he was none the less king of the two Sicilies, and his duties as king had the prerogative over his duties as son.

Some months after the suppression of the Jesuits, he wrote his father a letter, beginning:

"There are four things which astonish me very much. The first is that though the Jesuits were said to be so rich, not a penny was found upon them at the suppression; the second, that though the Scrivani of Naples are supposed to take no fees, yet their wealth is immense; the third, that while all the other young couples have children sooner or later, we have none; and the fourth, that all men die at last, except Tanucci, who, I believe, will live on in 'saecula saeculorum'."

The King of Spain shewed this letter to all the ministers and ambassadors, that they might see that his son was a clever man, and he was right; for a man who can write such a letter must be clever.

Two or three days later, the Chevalier de Morosini, the nephew of the procurator, and sole heir of the illustrious house of Morosini, came to Naples accompanied by his tutor Stratico, the professor of mathematics at Padua, and the same that had given me a letter for his brother, the Pisan professor. He stayed at the "Crocielles," and we were delighted to see one another again.

Morosini, a young man of nineteen, was travelling to complete his education. He had spent three years at Turin academy, and was now under the superintendence of a man who could have introduced him to the whole range of learning, but unhappily the will was wanting in the pupil. The young Venetian loved women to excess, frequented the society of young rakes, and yawned in good company. He was a sworn foe to study, and spent his money in a lavish manner, less from generosity than from a desire to be revenged on his uncle's economies. He complained of being still kept in tutelage; he had calculated that he could spend eight hundred sequins a month, and thought his allowance of two hundred sequins a month an insult. With this notion, he set himself to sow debts broadcast, and only laughed at his tutor when he mildly reproached him for his extravagance, and pointed out that if he were saving for the present, he would be able to be all the more magnificent on his return to Venice. His uncle had made an excellent match for him; he was to marry a girl who was extremely pretty, and also the heiress of the house of Grimani de Servi.

The only redeeming feature in the young man's character was that he had a mortal hatred of all kinds of play.

Since my bank had been broken I had been at Goudar's, but I would not listen to his proposal that I should join them again. Medini had become a sworn foe of mine. As soon as I came, he would go away, but I pretended not to notice him. He was at Goudar's when I introduced Morosini and his mentor, and thinking the young man good game he became very intimate with him. When he found out that Morosini would not hear of gaming, his hatred of me increased, for he was certain that I had warned the rich Venetian against him.

Morosini was much taken with Sara's charms, and only thought of how he could possess her. He was still a young man, full of romantic notions, and she would have become odious in his eyes if he could have guessed that she would have to be bought with a heavy price.

He told me several times that if a woman proposed payment for her favours, his disgust would expel his love in a moment. As he said, and rightly, he was as good a man as Madame Goudar was a woman.

This was distinctly a good point in his character; no woman who gave her favours in exchange for presents received could hope to dupe him. Sara's maxims were diametrically opposed to his; she looked on her love as a bill of exchange.

Stratico was delighted to see him engaged in this intrigue, for the chief point in dealing with him was to keep him occupied. If he had no distractions he took refuge in bad company or furious riding. He would sometimes ride ten or twelve stages at full gallop, utterly ruining the horses. He was only too glad to make his uncle pay for them, as he swore he was an old miser.

After I had made up my mind to leave Naples, I had a visit from Don Pascal Latilla, who brought with him the Abbe Galiani, whom I had known at Paris.

It may be remembered that I had known his brother at St. Agatha's, where I had stayed with him, and left him Donna Lucrezia Castelli.

I told him that I had intended to visit him, and asked if Lucrezia were still with him.

"She lives at Salerno," said he, "with her daughter the Marchioness C——."

I was delighted to hear the news; if it had not been for the abbe's visit, I should never have heard what had become of these ladies.

I asked him if he knew the Marchioness C——.

"I only know the marquis," he replied, "he is old and very rich."

That was enough for me.

A couple of days afterwards Morosini invited Sara, Goudar, two young gamesters, and Medini, to dinner. The latter had not yet given up hopes of cheating the chevalier in one way or another.

Towards the end of dinner it happened that Medini differed in opinion from me, and expressed his views in such a peremptory manner that I remarked that a gentleman would be rather more choice in his expressions.

"Maybe," he replied, "but I am not going to learn manners from you."

I constrained myself, and said nothing, but I was getting tired of his insolence; and as he might imagine that my resentment was caused by fear, I determined on disabusing him.

As he was taking his coffee on the balcony overlooking the sea, I came up to him with my cup in my hand, and said that I was tired of the rudeness with which he treated me in company.

"You would find me ruder still," he replied, "if we could meet without company."

"I think I could convince you of your mistake if we could have a private meeting."

"I should very much like to see you do it."

"When you see me go out, follow me, and don't say a word to anyone."

"I will not fail."

I rejoined the company, and walked slowly towards Pausilippo. I looked back and saw him following me; and as he was a brave fellow, and we both had our swords, I felt sure the thing would soon be settled.

As soon as I found myself in the open country, where we should not be interrupted, I stopped short.

As he drew near I attempted a parley, thinking that we might come to a more amicable settlement; but the fellow rushed on me with his sword in one hand and his hat in the other.

I lunged out at him, and instead of attempting to parry he replied in quart. The result was that our blades were caught in each other's sleeves; but I had slit his arm, while his point had only pierced the stuff of my coat.

I put myself on guard again to go on, but I could see he was too weak to defend himself, so I said if he liked I would give him quarter.

He made no reply, so I pressed on him, struck him to the ground, and trampled on his body.

He foamed with rage, and told me that it was my turn this time, but that he hoped I would give him his revenge.

"With pleasure, at Rome, and I hope the third lesson will be more effectual than the two I have already given you."

He was losing a good deal of blood, so I sheathed his sword for him and advised him to go to Goudar's house, which was close at hand, and have his wound attended to.

I went back to "Crocielles" as if nothing had happened. The chevalier was making love to Sara, and the rest were playing cards.

I left the company an hour afterwards without having said a word about my duel, and for the last time I supped with Callimena. Six years later I saw her at Venice, displaying her beauty and her talents on the boards of St. Benedict's Theatre.

I spent a delicious night with her, and at eight o'clock the next day I went off in a post-chaise without taking leave of anyone.

I arrived at Salerno at two o'clock in the afternoon, and as soon as I had taken a room I wrote a note to Donna Lucrezia Castelli at the Marquis C——'s.

I asked her if I could pay her a short visit, and begged her to send a reply while I was taking my dinner.

I was sitting down to table when I had the pleasure of seeing Lucrezia herself come in. She gave a cry of delight and rushed to my arms.

This excellent woman was exactly my own age, but she would have been taken for fifteen years younger.

After I had told her how I had come to hear about her I asked for news of our daughter.

"She is longing to see you, and her husband too; he is a worthy old man, and will be so glad to know you."

"How does he know of my existence?"

"Leonilda has mentioned your name a thousand times during the five years they have been married. He is aware that you gave her five thousand ducats. We shall sup together."

"Let us go directly; I cannot rest till I have seen my Leonilda and the good husband God has given her. Have they any children?"

"No, unluckily for her, as after his death the property passes to his relations. But Leonilda will be a rich woman for all that; she will have a hundred thousand ducats of her own."

"You have never married."

"No."

"You are as pretty as you were twenty-six years ago, and if it had not been for the Abbe Galiani I should have left Naples without seeing you."

I found Leonilda had developed into a perfect beauty. She was at that time twenty-three years old.

Her husband's presence was no constraint upon her; she received me with open arms, and put me completely at my ease.

No doubt she was my daughter, but in spite of our relationship and my advancing years I still felt within my breast the symptoms of the tenderest passion for her.

She presented me to her husband, who suffered dreadfully from gout, and could not stir from his arm-chair.

He received me with smiling face and open arms, saying,—

"My dear friend, embrace me."

I embraced him affectionately, and in our greeting I discovered that he was a brother mason. The marquis had expected as much, but I had not; for a nobleman of sixty who could boast that he had been enlightened was a 'rara avis' in the domains of his Sicilian majesty thirty years ago.

I sat down beside him and we embraced each other again, while the ladies looked on amazed, wondering to see us so friendly to each other.

Donna Leonilda fancied that we must be old friends, and told her husband how delighted she was. The old man burst out laughing, and Lucrezia suspecting the truth bit her lips and said nothing. The fair marchioness reserved her curiosity for another reason.

The marquis had seen the whole of Europe. He had only thought of marrying on the death of his father, who had attained the age of ninety. Finding himself in the enjoyment of thirty thousand ducats a year he imagined that he might yet have children in spite of his advanced age. He saw Leonilda, and in a few days he made her his wife, giving her a dowry of a hundred thousand ducats. Donna Lucrezia went to live with her daughter. Though the marquis lived magnificently, he found it difficult to spend more than half his income.

He lodged all his relations in his immense palace; there were three families in all, and each lived apart.

Although they were comfortably off they were awaiting with impatience the death of the head of the family, as they would then share his riches. The marquis had only married in the hope of having an heir; and these hopes he could no longer entertain. However, he loved his wife none the less, while she made him happy by her charming disposition.

The marquis was a man of liberal views like his wife, but this was a great secret, as free thought was not appreciated at Salerno. Consequently, any outsider would have taken the household for a truly Christian one, and the marquis took care to adopt in appearance all the prejudices of his fellow-countrymen.

Donna Lucrezia told me all this three hours after as we walked in a beautiful garden, where her husband had sent us after a long conversation on subjects which could not have been of any interest to the ladies. Nevertheless, they did not leave us for a moment, so delighted were they to find that the marquis had met a congenial spirit.

About six o'clock the marquis begged Donna Lucrezia to take me to the garden and amuse me till the evening. His wife he asked to stay, as he had something to say to her.

It was in the middle of August and the heat was great, but the room on the ground floor which we occupied was cooled by a delicious breeze.

I looked out of the window and noticed that the leaves on the trees were still, and that no wind was blowing; and I could not help saying to the marquis that I was astonished to find his room as cool as spring in the heats of summer.

"Your sweetheart will explain it to you," said he.

We went through several apartments, and at last reached a closet, in one corner of which was a square opening.

From it rushed a cold and even violent wind. From the opening one could go down a stone staircase of at least a hundred steps, and at the bottom was a grotto where was the source of a stream of water as cold as ice. Donna Lucrezia told me it would be a great risk to go down the steps without excessively warm clothing.

I have never cared to run risks of this kind. Lord Baltimore, on the other hand, would have laughed at the danger, and gone, maybe, to his death. I told my old sweetheart that I could imagine the thing very well from the description, and that I had no curiosity to see whether my imagination were correct.

Lucrezia told me I was very prudent, and took me to the garden.

It was a large place, and separated from the garden common to the three other families who inhabited the castle. Every flower that can be imagined was there, fountains threw their glittering sprays, and grottoes afforded a pleasing shade from the sun.

The alleys of this terrestrial paradise were formed of vines, and the bunches of grapes seemed almost as numerous as the leaves.

Lucrezia enjoyed my surprise, and I told her that I was not astonished at being more moved by this than by the vines of Tivoli and Frascati. The immense rather dazzles the eyes than moves the heart.

She told me that her daughter was happy, and that the marquis was an excellent man, and a strong man except for the gout. His great grief was that he had no children. Amongst his dozen of nephews there was not one worthy of succeeding to the title.

"They are all ugly, awkward lads, more like peasants than noblemen; all their education has been given them by a pack of ignorant priests; and so it is not to be wondered that the marquis does not care for them much."

"But is Leonilda really happy?"

"She is, though her husband cannot be quite so ardent as she would like at her age."

"He doesn't seem to me to be a very jealous man."

"He is entirely free from jealousy, and if Leonilda would take a lover I am sure he would be his best friend. And I feel certain he would be only too glad to find the beautiful soil which he cannot fertile himself fertilized by another."

"Is it positively certain that he is incapable of begetting a child?"

"No, when he is well he does his best; but there seems no likelihood of his ardour having any happy results. There was some ground to hope in the first six months of the marriage, but since he has had the gout so badly there seems reason to fear lest his amorous ecstasies should have a fatal termination. Sometimes he warts to approach her, but she dare not let him, and this pains her very much."

I was struck with a lively sense of Lucrezia's merits, and was just revealing to her the sentiments which she had re-awakened in my breast, when the marchioness appeared in the garden, followed by a page and a young lady.

I affected great reverence as she came up to us; and as if we had given each other the word, she answered me in atone of ceremonious politeness.

"I have come on an affair of the highest importance," she said, "and if I fail I shall for ever lose the reputation of a diplomatist?"

"Who is the other diplomatist with whom you are afraid of failing?"

"'Tis yourself."

"Then your battle is over, for I consent before I know what you ask. I only make a reserve on one point."

"So much the worse, as that may turn out to be just what I want you to do. Tell me what it is."

"I was going to Rome, when the Abbe Galiani told me that Donna Lucrezia was here with you."

"And can a short delay interfere with your happiness? Are you not your own master?"

"Smile on me once more; your desires are orders which must be obeyed. I have always been my own master, but I cease to be so from this moment, since I am your most humble servant."

"Very good. Then I command you to come and spend a few days with us at an estate we have at a short distance. My husband will have himself transported here. You will allow me to send to the inn for your luggage?"

"Here, sweet marchioness, is the key to my room. Happy the mortal whom you deign to command."

Leonilda gave the key to the page, a pretty boy, and told him to see that all my belongings were carefully taken to the castle.

Her lady-in-waiting was very fair. I said so to Leonilda in French, not knowing that the young lady understood the language, but she smiled and told her mistress that we were old acquaintances.

"When had I the pleasure of knowing you, mademoiselle?"

"Nine year ago. You have often spoken to me and teased me."

"Where, may I ask?"

"At the Duchess of Matalone's."

"That may be, and I think I do begin to remember, but I really cannot recollect having teased you."

The marchioness and her mother were highly amused at this conversation, and pressed the girl to say how I had teased her. She confined herself, however, to saying that I had played tricks on her. I thought I remembered having stolen a few kisses, but I left the ladies to think what they liked.

I was a great student of the human heart, and felt that these reproaches of Anastasia's (such was her name) were really advances, but unskillfully made, for if she had wanted more of me, she should have held her peace and bided her time.

"It strikes me," said I, "that you were much smaller in those days."

"Yes, I was only twelve or thirteen. You have changed also."

"Yes, I have aged."

We began talking about the late Duke of Matalone, and Anastasia left us.

We sat down in a charming grotto, and began styling each other papa and daughter, and allowing ourselves liberties which threatened to lead to danger.

The marchioness tried to calm my transports by talking of her good husband.

Donna Lucrezia remarked our mutual emotion as I held Leonilda in my arms, and warned us to be careful. She then left us to walk in a different part of the garden.

Her words had the contrary effect to what was intended, for as soon as she left us in so opportune a manner, although we had no intention of committing the double crime, we approached too near to each other, and an almost involuntary movement made, the act complete.

We remained motionless, looking into one another's eyes, in mute astonishment, as we confessed afterwards, to find neither guilt nor repentance in our breasts.

We rearranged our position, and the marchioness sitting close to me called me her dear husband, while I called her my dear wife.

The new bond between us was confirmed by affectionate kisses. We were absorbed and silent, and Lucrezia was delighted to find us so calm when she returned.

We had no need to warn each other to observe secrecy. Donna Lucrezia was devoid of prejudice, but there was no need to give her a piece of useless information.

We felt certain that she had left us alone, so as not to be a witness of what we were going to do.

After some further conversation we went back to the palace with Anastasia, whom we found in the alley by herself.

The marquis received his wife with joy, congratulating her on the success of her negotiations. He thanked me for my compliance, and assured me I should have a comfortable apartment in his country house.

"I suppose you will not mind having our friend for a neighbor?" he said to Lucrezia.

"No," said she; "but we will be discreet, for the flower of our lives has withered."

"I shall believe as much of that as I please."

The worthy man dearly loved a joke.

The long table was laid for five, and as soon as dinner was served an old priest came in and sat down. He spoke to nobody, and nobody spoke to him.

The pretty page stood behind the marchioness, and we were waited on by ten or twelve servants.

I had only a little soup at dinner, so I ate like an ogre, for I was very hungry, and the marquis's French cook was a thorough artist.

The marquis exclaimed with delight as I devoured one dish after another. He told me that the only fault in his wife that she was a very poor eater like her mother. At dessert the wine began to take effect, and our conversation, which was conducted in French, became somewhat free. The old priest took no notice, as he only understood Italian, and he finally left us after saying the 'agimus'.

The marquis told me that this ecclesiastic had been a confessor to the palace for the last twenty years, but had never confessed anybody. He warned me to take care what I said before him if I spoke Italian, but he did not know a word of French.

Mirth was the order of the day, and I kept the company at table till an hour after midnight.

Before we parted for the night the marquis told me that we would start in the afternoon, and that he should arrive an hour before us. He assured his wife that he was quite well, and that he hoped to convince her that I had made him ten years younger. Leonilda embraced him tenderly, begging him to be careful of his health.

"Yes, yes," said he, "but get ready to receive me."

I wished them a good night, and a little marquis at nine months from date.

"Draw the bill," said he to me, "and to-morrow I will accept it."

"I promise you," said Lucrezia, "to do my best to ensure your meeting your obligations."

Donna Lucrezia took me to my room, where she handed me over to the charge of an imposing-looking servant, and wished me a good night.

I slept for eight hours in a most comfortable bed, and when I was dressed Lucrezia took me to breakfast with the marchioness, who was at her toilette.

"Do you think I may draw my bill at nine months?" said I.

"It will very probably be met," said she.

"Really?"

"Yes, really; and it will be to you that my husband will owe the happiness he has so long desired. He told me so when he left me an hour ago.

"I shall be delighted to add to your mutual happiness."

She looked so fresh and happy that I longed to kiss her, but I was obliged to restrain myself as she was surrounded by her pretty maids.

The better to throw any spies off the scent I began to make love to Anastasia, and Leonilda pretended to encourage me.

I feigned a passionate desire, and I could see that I should not have much trouble in gaining my suit. I saw I should have to be careful if I did not want to be taken at my word; I could not bear such a surfeit of pleasures.

We went to breakfast with the marquis, who was delighted to see us. He was quite well, except the gout which prevented his walking.

After breakfast we heard mass, and I saw about twenty servants in the chapel. After the service I kept the marquis company till dinner-time. He said I was very good to sacrifice the company of the ladies for his sake.

After dinner we set out for his country house; I in a carriage with the two ladies, and the marquis in a litter borne by two mules.

In an hour and a half we arrived at his fine and well-situated castle.

The first thing the marchioness did was to take me into the garden, where my ardour returned and she once more abandoned herself to me.

We agreed that I should only go to her room to court Anastasia, as it was necessary to avoid the slightest suspicion.

This fancy of mine for his wife's maid amused the marquis, for his wife kept him well posted in the progress of our intrigue.

Donna Lucrezia approved of the arrangement as she did not want the marquis to think that I had only come to Salerno for her sake. My apartments were next to Leonilda's, but before I could get into her room I should be obliged to pass through that occupied by Anastasia, who slept with another maid still prettier than herself.

The marquis came an hour later, and he said he would get his people to carry him in an arm-chair round the gardens, so that he might point out their beauties to me. After supper he felt tired and went to bed, leaving me to entertain the ladies.

After a few moments' conversation, I led the marchioness to her room, and she said I had better go to my own apartment through the maids' room, telling Anastasia to shew me the way.

Politeness obliged me to shew myself sensible of such a favour, and I said I hoped she would not be so harsh as to lock her door upon me.

"I shall lock my door," said she, "because it is my duty to do so. This room is my mistress's closet, and my companion would probably make some remark if I left the door open contrary to my usual custom."

"Your reasons are too good for me to overcome, but will you not sit down beside me for a few minutes and help me to recollect how I used to tease you?"

"I don't want you to recollect anything about it; please let me go."

"You must please yourself," said I; and after embracing her and giving her a kiss, I wished her good night.

My servant came in as she went out, and I told him that I would sleep by myself for the future.

The next day the marchioness laughingly repeated the whole of my conversation with Anastasia.

"I applauded her virtuous resistance, but I said she might safely assist at your toilette every evening."

Leonilda gave the marquis a full account of my talk with Anastasia. The old man thought I was really in love with her, and had her in to supper for my sake, so I was in common decency bound to play the lover. Anastasia was highly pleased at my preferring her to her charming mistress, and at the latter's complaisance towards our love-making.

The marquis in his turn was equally pleased as he thought the intrigue would make me stay longer at his house.

In the evening Anastasia accompanied me to my room with a candle, and seeing that I had no valet she insisted combing my hair. She felt flattered at my not presuming to go to bed in her presence, and kept me company for an hour; and as I was not really amorous of her, I had no difficulty in playing the part of the timid lover. When she wished me good night she was delighted to find my kisses as affectionate but not so daring as those of the night before.

The marchioness said, the next morning, that if the recital she had heard were true, she was afraid Anastasia's company tired me, as she very well knew that when I really loved I cast timidity to the winds.

"No, she doesn't tire me at all; she is pretty and amusing. But how can you imagine that I really love her, when you know very well that the whole affair is only designed to cast dust in everyone's eyes?"

"Anastasia fully believes that you adore her, and indeed I am not sorry that you should give her a little taste for gallantry."

"If I can persuade her to leave her door open I can easily visit you, for she will not imagine for a moment that after leaving her I go to your room instead of my own."

"Take care how you set about it."

"I will see what I can do this evening."

The marquis and Lucrezia had not the slightest doubt that Anastasia spent every night with me, and they were delighted at the idea.

The whole of the day I devoted to the worthy marquis, who said my company made him happy. It was no sacrifice on my part, for I liked his principles and his way of thinking.

On the occasion of my third supper with Anastasia I was more tender than ever, and she was very much astonished to find that I had cooled down when I got to my room.

"I am glad to see you so calm," said she, "you quite frightened me at supper."

"The reason is that I know you think yourself in danger when you are alone with me."

"Not at all; you are much more discreet than you were nine years ago."

"What folly did I commit then?"

"No folly, but you did not respect my childhood."

"I only gave you a few caresses, for which I am now sorry, as you are frightened of me, and persist in locking your door."

"I don't mistrust you, but I have told you my reasons for locking the door. I think that you must mistrust me, as you won't go to bed while I am in the room."

"You must think me very presumptuous. I will go to bed, but you must not leave me without giving me a kiss."

"I promise to do so."

I went to bed, and Anastasia spent half an hour beside me. I had a good deal of difficulty in controlling myself, but I was afraid of her telling the marchioness everything.

As she left me she gave me such a kind embrace that I could bear it no longer, and guiding her hand I skewed her the power she exercised over me. She then went away, and I shall not say whether my behaviour irritated or pleased her.

The next day I was curious to know how much she had told the marchioness, and on hearing nothing of the principal fact I felt certain she would not lock her door that evening.

When the evening came I defied her to skew the same confidence in me as I had shewn in her. She replied that she would do so with pleasure, if I would blow out my candle and promise not to put my hand on her. I easily gave her the required promise, for I meant to keep myself fresh for Leonilda.

I undressed hastily, followed her with bare feet, and laid myself beside her.

She took my hands and held them, to which I offered no resistance. We were afraid of awakening her bedfellow, and kept perfect silence. Our lips however gave themselves free course, and certain motions, natural under the circumstances, must have made her believe that I was in torments. The half hour I passed beside her seemed extremely long to me, but it must have been delicious to her, as giving her the idea that she could do what she liked with me.

When I left her after we had shared an ecstatic embrace, I returned to my room, leaving the door open. As soon as I had reason to suppose that she was asleep, I returned, and passed through her room to Leonilda's. She was expecting me, but did not know of my presence till I notified it with a kiss.

After I had given her a strong proof of my love, I told her of my adventure with Anastasia, and then our amorous exploits began again, and I did not leave her till I had spent two most delicious hours. We agreed that they should not be the last, and I returned to my room on tiptoe as I had come.

I did not get up till noon, and the marquis and his wife jested with me at dinner on the subject of my late rising. At supper it was Anastasia's turn, and she seemed to enjoy the situation. She told me in the evening that she would not lock her door, but that I must not come into her room, as it was dangerous. It would be much better, she said, for us to talk in my room, where there would be no need of putting out the light. She added that I had better go to bed, as then she would feel certain that she was not tiring me in any way.

I could not say no, but I flattered myself that I would keep my strength intact for Leonilda.

I reckoned without my host, as the proverb goes.

When I held Anastasia between my arms in bed, her lips glued to mine, I told her, as in duty bound, that she did not trust in me enough to lie beside me with her clothes off.

Thereupon she asked me if I would be very discreet.

If I had said no, I should have looked a fool. I made up my mind, and told her yes, determined to satisfy the pretty girl's desires.

In a moment she was in my arms, not at all inclined to keep me to my promise.

Appetite, it is said, comes in eating. Her ardour made me amorous, and I rendered homage to her charms till I fell asleep with fatigue.

Anastasia left me while I was asleep, and when I awoke I found myself in the somewhat ridiculous position of being obliged to make a full confession to the marchioness as to why I had failed in my duties to her.

When I told Leonilda my tale, she began to laugh and agreed that further visits were out of the question. We made up our minds, and for the remainder of my visit our amorous meetings only took place in the summerhouses in the garden.

I had to receive Anastasia every night, and when I left for Rome and did not take her with me she considered me as a traitor.

The worthy marquis gave me a great surprise on the eve of my departure. We were alone together, and he began by saying that the Duke of Matalone had told him the reason which had prevented me marrying Leonilda, and that he had always admired my generosity in making her a present of five thousand ducats, though I was far from rich.

"These five thousand ducats," he added, "with seven thousand from the duke, composed her dower, and I have added a hundred thousand, so that she is sure of a comfortable living, even if I die without a successor.

"Now, I want you to take back the five thousand ducats you gave her; and she herself is as desirous of your doing so as I am. She did not like to ask you herself; she is too delicate."

"Well, I should have refused Leonilda if she had asked me, but I accept this mark of your friendship. A refusal would have borne witness to nothing but a foolish pride, as I am a poor man. I should like Leonilda and her mother to be present when you give me the money."

"Embrace me; we will do our business after dinner."

Naples has always been a temple of fortune to me, but if I went there now I should starve. Fortune flouts old age.

Leonilda and Lucrezia wept with joy when the good marquis gave me the five thousand ducats in bank notes, and presented his mother-in-law with an equal sum in witness of his gratitude to her for having introduced me to him.

The marquis was discreet enough not to reveal his chief reason. Donna Lucrezia did not know that the Duke of Matalone had told him that Leonilda was my daughter.

An excess of gratitude lessened my high spirits for the rest of the day, and Anastasia did not spend a very lively night with me.

I went off at eight o'clock the next morning. I was sad, and the whole house was in tears.

I promised that I would write to the marquis from Rome, and I reached Naples at eleven o'clock.

I went to see Agatha, who was astonished at my appearance as she had thought I was at Rome. Her husband welcomed me in the most friendly manner, although he was suffering a great deal.

I said I would dine with them and start directly afterwards, and I asked the advocate to get me a bill on Rome for five thousand ducats, in exchange for the bank notes I gave him.

Agatha saw that my mind was made up, and without endeavoring to persuade me to stay went in search of Callimena.

She too had thought I was in Rome, and was in an ecstasy of delight to see me again.

My sudden disappearance and my unexpected return were the mystery of the day, but I did not satisfy anyone's curiosity.

I left them at three o'clock, and stopped at Montecasino, which I had never seen. I congratulated myself on my idea, for I met there Prince Xaver de Saxe, who was travelling under the name of Comte de Lusace with Madame Spinucci, a lady of Fermo, with whom he had contracted a semi-clandestine marriage. He had been waiting for three days to hear from the Pope, for by St. Benedict's rule women are not allowed in monasteries; and as Madame Spinucci was extremely curious on the subject, her husband had been obliged to apply for a dispensation to the Holy Father.

I slept at Montecasino after having seen the curiosities of the place, and I went on to Rome, and put up with Roland's daughter in the Place d'Espagne.





CHAPTER XV

     Margarita—Madame Buondcorsi—The Duchess of Fiano—Cardinal
     Bernis—The Princess Santa Croce—Menicuccio and His Sister
Chapter 15

I had made up my mind to spend a quiet six months at Rome, and the day after my arrival I took a pleasant suite of rooms opposite the Spanish Ambassador, whose name was d'Aspura. It happened to be the same rooms as were occupied twenty-seven years ago by the teacher of languages, to whom I had gone for lessons while I was with Cardinal Acquaviva. The landlady was the wife of a cook who only, slept with his better half once a week. The woman had a daughter of sixteen or seventeen years old, who would have been very pretty if the small-pox had not deprived her of one eye. They had provided her with an ill-made artificial eye, of a wrong size and a bad colour, which gave a very unpleasant expression to her face. Margarita, as she was called, made no impression on me, but I made her a present which she valued very highly. There was an English oculist named Taylor in Rome at that time, and I got him to make her an eye of the right size and colour. This made Margarita imagine that I had fallen in love with her, and the mother, a devotee, was in some trouble as to whether my intentions were strictly virtuous.

I made arrangements with the mother to supply me with a good dinner and supper without any luxury. I had three thousand sequins, and I had made up my mind to live in a quiet and respectable manner.

The next day I found letters for me in several post-offices, and the banker Belloni, who had known me for several years, had been already advised of my bill of exchange. My good friend Dandolo sent me two letters of introduction, of which one was addressed to M. Erizzo, the Venetian ambassador. He was the brother of the ambassador to Paris. This letter pleased me greatly. The other was addressed to the Duchess of Fiano, by her brother M. Zuliani.

I saw that I should be free of all the best houses, and I promised myself the pleasure of an early visit to Cardinal Bernis.

I did not hire either a carriage or a servant. At Rome both these articles are procurable at a moment's notice.

My first call was on the Duchess of Fiano. She was an ugly woman, and though she was really very good-natured, she assumed the character of being malicious so as to obtain some consideration.

Her husband, who bore the name of Ottoboni, had only married her to obtain an heir, but the poor devil turned out to be what the Romans call 'babilano', and we impotent. The duchess told me as much on the occasion of my third visit. She did not give me the information in a complaining tone, or as if she was fain to be consoled, but merely to defy her confessor, who had threatened her with excommunication if she went on telling people about her husband's condition, or if she tried to cure him of it.

The duchess gave a little supper every evening to her select circle of friends. I was not admitted to these reunions for a week or ten days, by which time I had made myself generally popular. The duke did not care for company and supped apart.

The Prince of Santa Croce was the duchess's 'cavaliere servante', and the princess was served by Cardinal Bernis. The princess was a daughter of the Marquis Falconieri, and was young, pretty, lively, and intended by nature for a life of pleasure. However, her pride at possessing the cardinal was so great that she did not give any hope to other competitors for her favour.

The prince was a fine man of distinguished manners and great capability, which he employed in business speculations, being of opinion, and rightly, that it was no shame for a nobleman to increase his fortune by the exercise of his intelligence. He was a careful man, and had attached himself to the duchess because she cost him nothing, and he ran no risk of falling in love with her.

Two or three weeks after my arrival he heard me complaining of the obstacles to research in the Roman libraries, and he offered to give me an introduction to the Superior of the Jesuits. I accepted the offer, and was made free of the library; I could not only go and read when I liked, but I could, on writing my name down, take books away with me. The keepers of the library always brought me candles when it grew dark, and their politeness was so great that they gave me the key of a side door, so that I could slip in and out as I pleased.

The Jesuits were always the most polite of the regular clergy, or, indeed, I may say the only polite men amongst them; but during the crisis in which they were then involved, they were simply cringing.

The King of Spain had called for the suppression of the order, and the Pope had promised that it should be done; but the Jesuits did not think that such a blow could ever be struck, and felt almost secure. They did not think that the Pope's power was superhuman so far as they were concerned. They even intimated to him by indirect channels that his authority did not extend to the suppression of the order; but they were mistaken. The sovereign pontiff delayed the signature of the bull, but his hesitation proceeded from the fact that in signing it he feared lest he should be signing his own sentence of death. Accordingly he put it off till he found that his honour was threatened. The King of Spain, the most obstinate tyrant in Europe, wrote to him with his own hand, telling him that if he did not suppress the order he would publish in all the languages of Europe the letters he had written when he was a cardinal, promising to suppress the order when he became Pope. On the strength of these letters Ganganelli had been elected.

Another man would have taken refuge in casuistry and told the king that it was not for a pope to be bound to the cardinal's promises, in which contention he would have been supported by the Jesuits. However, in his heart Ganganelli had no liking for the Jesuits. He was a Franciscan, and not a gentleman by birth. He had not a strong enough intellect to defy the king and all his threats, or to bear the shame of being exhibited to the whole world as an ambitious and unscrupulous man.

I am amused when people tell me that Ganganelli poisoned himself by taking so many antidotes. It is true that having reason, and good reason, to dread poison, he made use of antidotes which, with his ignorance of science, might have injured his health; but I am morally certain that he died of poison which was given by other hands than his own.

My reasons for this opinion are as follows:

In the year of which I am speaking, the third of the Pontificate of Clement XIV., a woman of Viterbo was put in prison on the charge of making predictions. She obscurely prophesied the suppression of the Jesuits, without giving any indication of the time; but she said very clearly that the company would be destroyed by a pope who would only reign five years three months and three days—that is, as long as Sixtus V., not a day more and not a day less.

Everybody treated the prediction with contempt, as the product of a brain-sick woman. She was shut up and quite forgotten.

I ask my readers to give a dispassionate judgment, and to say whether they have any doubt as to the poisoning of Ganganelli when they hear that his death verified the prophecy.

In a case like this, moral certainty assumes the force of scientific certainty. The spirit which inspired the Pythia of Viterbo took its measures to inform the world that if the Jesuits were forced to submit to being suppressed, they were not so weak as to forego a fearful vengeance. The Jesuit who cut short Ganganelli's days might certainly have poisoned him before the bull was signed, but the fact was that they could not bring themselves to believe it till it took place. It is clear that if the Pope had not suppressed the Jesuits, they would not have poisoned him, and here again the prophecy could not be taxed with falsity. We may note that Clement XIV., like Sixtus V., was a Franciscan, and both were of low birth. It is also noteworthy that after the Pope's death the prophetess was liberated, and, though her prophecy had been fulfilled to the letter, all the authorities persisted in saying that His Holiness had died from his excessive use of antidotes.

It seems to me that any impartial judge will scout the idea of Ganganelli having killed himself to verify the woman of Viterbo's prediction. If you say it was a mere coincidence, of course I cannot absolutely deny your position, for it may have been chance; but my thoughts on the subject will remain unchanged.

This poisoning was the last sign the Jesuits gave of their power. It was a crime, because it was committed after the event, whereas, if it had been done before the suppression of the order, it would have been a stroke of policy, and might have been justified on politic grounds. The true politician looks into the future, and takes swift and certain measures to obtain the end he has in view.

The second time that the Prince of Santa Croce saw me at the Duchess of Fiano's, he asked me 'ex abrupta' why I did not visit Cardinal Bernis.

"I think of paying my suit to him to-morrow," said I.

"Do so, for I have never heard his eminence speak of anyone with as much consideration as he speaks of yourself."

"He has been very kind to me, and I shall always be grateful to him."

The cardinal received me the next day with every sign of delight at seeing me. He praised the reserve with which I had spoken of him to the prince, and said he need not remind me of the necessity for discretion as to our old Venetian adventures.

"Your eminence," I said, "is a little stouter, otherwise you look as fresh as ever and not at all changed."

"You make a mistake. I am very different from what I was then. I am fifty-five now, and then I was thirty-six. Moreover, I am reduced to a vegetable diet."

"Is that to keep down the lusts of the flesh?"

"I wish people would think so; but no one does, I am afraid."

He was glad to hear that I bore a letter to the Venetian ambassador, which I had not yet presented. He said he would take care to give the ambassador a prejudice in my favour, and that he would give me a good reception.

"We will begin to break the ice to-morrow," added this charming cardinal. "You shall dine with me, and his excellence shall hear of it."

He heard with pleasure that I was well provided for as far as money was concerned, and that I had made up my mind to live simply and discreetly so long as I remained in Rome.

"I shall write about you to M—— M——," he said. "I have always kept up a correspondence with that delightful nun."

I then amused him by the talk of my adventure with the nun of Chamberi.

"You ought to ask the Prince of Santa Croce to introduce you to the princess. We might pass some pleasant hours with her, though not in our old Venetian style, for the princess is not at all like M—— M——.

"And yet she serves to amuse your eminence?"

"Well, I have to be content with what I can get."

The next day as I was getting up from dinner the cardinal told me that M. Zuliani had written about me to the ambassador, who would be delighted to make my acquaintance, and when I went I had an excellent reception from him.

The Chevalier Erizzo, who is still alive, was a man of great intelligence, common sense, and oratorical power. He complimented me on my travels and on my being protected by the State Inquisitors instead of being persecuted by them. He kept me to dinner, and asked me to dine with him whenever I had no other engagement.

The same evening I met Prince Santa Croce at the duchess's, and asked him to introduce me to his wife.

"I have been expecting that," he replied "even since the cardinal talked to her about you for more than an hour. You can call any day at eleven in the morning or two in the afternoon."

I called the next day at two o'clock. She was taking her siesta in bed, but as I had the privileges allowed to a person of no consequence she let me in directly. She was young, pretty, lively, curious, and talkative; she had not enough patience to wait for my answer to her questions. She struck me as a toy, well adapted to amuse a man of affairs, who felt the need of some distraction. The cardinal saw her regularly three times a day; the first thing in the morning he called to ask if she had had a good night, at three o'clock in the afternoon he took coffee with her, and in the evening he met her at the assembly. He always played at piquet, and played with such talent that he invariably lost six Roman sequins, no more and no less. These losses of the cardinal's made the princess the richest young wife in Rome.

Although the marquis was somewhat inclined to be jealous, he could not possibly object to his wife enjoying a revenue of eighteen hundred francs a month, and that without the least scandal, for everything was done in public, and the game was honestly conducted. Why should not fortune fall in love with such a pretty woman?

The Prince of Santa Croce could not fail to appreciate the friendship of the cardinal for his wife, who gave him a child every year, and sometimes every nine months, in spite of the doctor's warnings to beware of results. It was said that to make up for his enforced abstinence during the last few days of his wife's pregnancy, the prince immediately set to again when the child was being baptized.

The friendship of the cardinal for the prince's wife also gave him the advantage of getting silks from Lyons without the Pope's treasurer being able to say anything, as the packets were addressed to the French ambassador. It must also be noted that the cardinal's patronage kept other lovers from the house. The High Constable Colonna was very much taken with her. The prince had surprised this gentleman talking to the princess in a room of the palace and at an hour when she was certain that the cardinal would not be in the way. Scarcely had the Colonna gone when the prince told his wife that she would accompany him into the country the next day. She protested, saying that this sudden order was only a caprice and that her honour would not allow of her obeying him. The prince, however, was very determined, and she would have been obliged to go if the cardinal had not come in and heard the story from the mouth of the innocent princess. He shewed the husband that it was to his own interests to go into the country by himself, and to let his wife remain in Rome. He spoke for her, assuring the prince that she would take more care for the future and avoid such meetings, always unpleasant in a house.

In less than a month I became the shadow of the three principal persons in the play. I listened and admired and became as necessary to the personages as a marker at billiards. When any of the parties were afflicted I consoled them with tales or amusing comments, and, naturally, they were grateful to me. The cardinal, the prince, and his fair wife amused each other and offended no one.

The Duchess of Fiano was proud of being the possessor of the prince who left his wife to the cardinal, but no one was deceived but herself. The good lady wondered why no one acknowledged that the reason why the princess never came to see her was mere jealousy. She spoke to me on the subject with so much fire that I had to suppress my good sense to keep her good graces.

I had to express my astonishment as to what the cardinal could see in the princess, who, according to her, was skinny in person and silly in mind, altogether a woman of no consequence. I agreed to all this, but I was far from thinking so, for the princess was just the woman to amuse a voluptuous and philosophic lover like the cardinal.

I could not help thinking now and again that the cardinal was happier in the possession of this treasure of a woman than in his honours and dignities.

I loved the princess, but as I did not hope for success I confined myself strictly to the limits of my position.

I might, no doubt, have succeeded, but more probably I should have raised her pride against me, and wounded the feelings of the cardinal, who was no longer the same as when we shared M—— M—— in common. He had told me that his affection for her was of a purely fatherly character, and I took that as a hint not to trespass on his preserves.

I had reason to congratulate myself that she observed no more ceremony with me than with her mail. I accordingly pretended to see nothing, while she felt certain I saw all.

It is no easy matter to win the confidence of such a woman, especially if she be served by a king or a cardinal.

My life at Rome was a tranquil and happy one. Margarita had contrived to gain my interest by the assiduity of her attentions. I had no servant, so she waited on me night and morning, and her false eye was such an excellent match that I quite forgot its falsity. She was a clever, but a vain girl, and though at first I had no designs upon her I flattered her vanity by my conversation and the little presents I bestowed upon her, which enabled her to cut a figure in church on Sundays. So before long I had my eyes opened to two facts; the one that she was sure of my love, and wondered why I did not declare it; the other, that if I chose I had an easy conquest before me.

I guessed the latter circumstance one day when, after I had asked her to tell me her adventures from the age of eleven to that of eighteen, she proceeded to tell me tales, the telling of which necessitated her throwing all modesty to the winds.

I took the utmost delight in these scandalous narrations, and whenever I thought she had told the whole truth I gave her a few pieces of money; while whenever I had reason to suppose that she had suppressed some interesting circumstances I gave her nothing.

She confessed to me that she no longer possessed that which a maid can lose but once, that a friend of hers named Buonacorsi was in the same case, and finally she told me the name of the young man who had relieved them both of their maidenheads.

We had for neighbor a young Piedmontese abbe named Ceruti, on whom Margarita was obliged to wait when her mother was too busy. I jested with her about him, but she swore there was no lovemaking between them.

This abbe was a fine man, learned and witty, but he was overwhelmed with debt and in very bad odour at Rome on account of an extremely unpleasant story of which he was the hero.

They said that he had told an Englishman, who was in love with Princess Lanti, that she was in want of two hundred sequins, that the Englishman had handed over the money to the abbe, and that the latter had appropriated it.

This act of meanness had been brought to light by an explanation between the lady and the Englishman. On his saying to the princess that he was ready to do anything for her, and that the two hundred sequins he had given her were as nothing in comparison with what he was ready to do, she indignantly denied all knowledge of the transaction. Everything came out. The Englishman begged pardon, and the abbe was excluded from the princess's house and the Englishman's also.

This Abbe Ceruti was one of those journalists employed to write the weekly news of Rome by Bianconi; he and I had in a manner become friends since we were neighbours. I saw that he loved Margarita, and I was not in the least jealous, but as he was a handsome young fellow I could not believe that Margarita was cruel to him. Nevertheless, she assured me that she detested him, and that she was very sorry that her mother made her wait on him at all.

Ceruti had already laid himself under obligations to me. He had borrowed a score of crowns from me, promising to repay them in a week, and three weeks had gone by without my seeing the money. However, I did not ask for it, and would have lent him as much more if he had requested me. But I must tell the story as it happened.

Whenever I supped with the Duchess of Fiano I came in late, and Margarita waited up for me. Her mother would go to bed. For the sake of amusement I used to keep her for an hour or two without caring whether our pleasantries disturbed the abbe, who could hear everything we said.

One evening I came home at midnight and was surprised to find the mother waiting for me.

"Where is your daughter?" I enquired.

"She's asleep, and I really cannot allow you to pass the whole night with her any longer."

"But she only stays with me till I get into bed. This new whim wounds my feelings. I object to such unworthy suspicions. What has Margarita been telling you? If she has made any complaints of me, she has lied, and I shall leave your house to-morrow."

"You are wrong; Margarita has made no complaints; on the contrary she says that you have done nothing to her."

"Very good. Do you think there is any harm in a little joking?"

"No, but you might be better employed."

"And these are your grounds for a suspicion of which you should be ashamed, if you are a good Christian."

"God save me from thinking evil of my neighbour, but I have been informed that your laughter and your jests are of such a nature as to be offensive to people of morality."

"Then it is my neighbour the abbe who has been foolish enough to give you this information?"

"I cannot tell you how I heard it, but I have heard it."

"Very good. To-morrow I shall seek another lodging, so as to afford your tender conscience some relief."

"Can't I attend on you as well as my daughter?"

"No; your daughter makes me laugh, and laughing is beneficial to me, whereas you would not make me laugh at all. You have insulted me, and I leave your house to-morrow."

"I shall have to tell my husband the reason of your departure, and I do not want to do that."

"You can do as you like; that's no business of mine. Go away; I want to get into bed."

"Allow me to wait on you."

"Certainly not; if you want anybody to wait on me, send Margarita."

"She's asleep."

"Then wake her up."

The good woman went her way, and two minutes later, the girl came in with little on but her chemise. She had not had time to put in her false eye, and her expression was so amusing that I went off into a roar of laughter.

"I was sleeping soundly," she began, "and my mother woke me up all of a sudden, and told me to come and wait on you, or else you would leave, and my father would think we had been in mischief."

"I will stay, if you will continue to wait on me."

"I should like to come very much, but we mustn't laugh any more, as the abbe has complained of us."

"Oh! it is the abbe, is it?"

"Of course it is. Our jests and laughter irritate his passions."

"The rascal! We will punish him rarely. If we laughed last night, we will laugh ten times louder tonight."

Thereupon we began a thousand tricks, accompanied by shouts and shrieks of laughter, purposely calculated to drive the little priest desperate. When the fun was at its height, the door opened and the mother came in.

I had Margarita's night-cap on my head, and Margarita's face was adorned with two huge moustaches, which I had stuck on with ink. Her mother had probably anticipated taking us in the fact, but when she came in she was obliged to re-echo our shouts of mirth.

"Come now," said I, "do you think our amusements criminal?"

"Not a bit; but you see your innocent orgies keep your neighbour awake."

"Then he had better go and sleep somewhere else; I am not going to put myself out for him. I will even say that you must choose between him and me; if I consent to stay with you, you must send him away, and I will take his room."

"I can't send him away before the end of the month, and I am afraid he will say things to my husband which will disturb the peace of the house."

"I promise you he shall go to-morrow and say nothing at all. Leave him to me; the abbe shall leave of his own free will, without giving you the slightest trouble. In future be afraid for your daughter when she is alone with a man and you don't hear laughing. When one does not laugh, one does something serious."

After this the mother seemed satisfied and went off to bed. Margarita was in such high spirits over the promised dismissal of the abbe that I could not resist doing her justice. We passed an hour together without laughing, and she left me very proud of the victory she had gained.

Early the next day I paid the abbe a visit, and after reproaching him for his behaviour I gave him his choice between paying me the money he owed me and leaving the house at once. He did his best to get out of the dilemma, but seeing that I was pitiless he said he could not leave without paying a few small sums he owed the landlord, and without the wherewithal to obtain another lodging.

"Very good," said I, "I will present you with another twenty crowns; but you must go to-day, and not say a word to anyone, unless you wish me to become your implacable enemy."

I thus got rid of him and entered into possession of the two rooms. Margarita was always at my disposal, and after a few days so was the fair Buonacorsi, who was much the prettier of the two.

The two girls introduced me to the young man who had seduced them.

He was a lad of fifteen or sixteen, and very handsome though short. Nature had endowed him with an enormous symbol of virility, and at Lampsacus he would no doubt have had an altar erected to him beside that of Priapus, with which divinity he might well have contended.

He was well-mannered and agreeable, and seemed much above a common workman. He did not love Margarita or Mdlle. Bounacorsi; he had merely satisfied their curiosity. They saw and admired, and wished to come to a nearer acquaintance; he read their minds and offered to satisfy them. Thereupon the two girls held a consultation, and pretending to submit out of mere complaisance; the double deed was done. I liked this young man, and gave him linen and clothes. So before long he had complete confidence in me. He told me he was in love with a girl, but unhappily for him she was in a convent, and not being able to win her he was becoming desperate. The chief obstacle to the match lay in the fact that his earnings only amounted to a paul a day, which was certainly an insufficient sum to support a wife on.

He talked so much about her that I became curious, and expressed a desire to see her. But before coming to this I must recite some other incidents of my stay at Rome.

One day I went to the Capitol to see the prizes given to the art students, and the first face I saw was the face of Mengs. He was with Battoni and two or three other painters, all being occupied in adjudging the merits of the various pictures.

I had not forgotten his treatment of me at Madrid, so I pretended not to see him; but as soon as he saw me, he came up and addressed me as follows:

"My dear Casanova, let us forget what happened at Madrid and be friends once more."

"So be it, provided no allusion is made to the cause of our quarrel; for I warn you that I cannot speak of it and keep my head cool."

"I dare say; but if you had understood my position at Madrid you would never have obliged me to take a course which gave me great pain."

"I do not understand you."

"I dare say not. You must know, then, that I was strongly suspected of being a Protestant; and if I had shewn myself indifferent to your conduct, I might possibly have been ruined. But dine with me tomorrow; we will make up a party of friends, and discuss our quarrel in a good bottle of wine. I know that you do not receive your brother, so he shall not be there. Indeed, I do not receive him myself, for if I did all honest people would give me the cold shoulder."

I accepted his friendly invitation, and was punctual to the appointment.

My brother left Rome a short time afterwards with Prince Beloselski, the Russian ambassador to Dresden, with whom he had come; but his visit was unsuccessful, as Rezzonico proved inexorable. We only saw each other two or three times at Rome.

Three or four days after he had gone I had the agreeable surprise of seeing my brother the priest, in rags as usual. He had the impudence to ask me to help him.

"Where do you come from?"

"From Venice; I had to leave the place, as I could no longer make a living there."

"Then how do you think of making a living at Rome?"

"By saying masses and teaching French."

"You a teacher of languages! Why, you do not know your native tongue."

"I know Italian and French too, and I have already got two pupils."

"They will no doubt make wonderful progress under your fostering care. Who are they?"

"The son and daughter of the inn-keeper, at whose house I am staying. But that's not enough to keep me, and you must give me something while I am starting."

"You have no right to count on me. Leave the room."

I would not listen to another word, and told Margarita to see that he did not come in again.

The wretched fellow did his best to ruin me with all my friends, including the Duchess of Fiano and the Abbe Gama. Everybody told me that I should either give him some help, or get him out of Rome; I got heartily sick of the sound of his name. At last the Abbe Ceruti came and told me that if I did not want to see my brother begging his bread in the streets I must give him some assistance.

"You can keep him out of Rome," he said, "and he is ready to go if you will allow him three pauls a day." I consented, and Ceruti hit on a plan which pleased me very much. He spoke to a priest who served a convent of Franciscan nuns. This priest took my brother into his service, and gave him three pauls for saying one mass every day. If he could preach well he might earn more.

Thus the Abbe Casanova passed away, and I did not care whether he knew or not where the three pauls had come from. As long as I stayed at Rome the nine piastres a month came in regularly, but after my departure he returned to Rome, went to another convent, and died there suddenly thirteen or fourteen years ago.

Medini had also arrived in Rome, but we had not seen each other. He lived in the street of the Ursulines at the house of one of the Pope's light-cavalry men, and subsisted on the money he cheated strangers of.

The rascal had done well and had sent to Mantua for his mistress, who came with her mother and a very pretty girl of twelve or thirteen. Thinking it would be to his advantage to take handsome furnished apartments he moved to the Place d'Espagne, and occupied a house four or five doors from me, but I knew nothing of all this at the time.

Happening to dine one day with the Venetian ambassador, his excellency told me that I should meet a certain Count. Manucci who had just arrived from Paris, and had evinced much delight on learning that I was at Rome.

"I suppose you know him well," said the ambassador, "and as I am going to present him to the Holy Father to-morrow, I should be much obliged if you could tell me who he really is."

"I knew him at Madrid, where he lived with Mocenigo our ambassador; he is well mannered, polite, and a fine looking young man, and that's all I know about him."

"Was he received at the Spanish Court?"

"I think so, but I cannot be positive."

"Well, I think he was not received; but I see that you won't tell me all you know about him. It's of no consequence; I shall run no risk in presenting him to the Pope. He says he is descended from Manucci, the famous traveller of the thirteenth century, and from the celebrated printers of the same name who did so much for literature. He shewed me the Aldine anchor on his coat of arms which has sixteen quarters."

I was astonished beyond measure that this man who had plotted my assassination should speak of me as an intimate friend, and I determined to conceal my feelings and await events. I did not shew the least sign of anger, and when after greeting the ambassador he came up to me with open arms, I received him cordially and asked after Mocenigo.

Manucci talked a great deal at dinner, telling a score of lies, all in my honour, about my reception at Madrid. I believe his object was to force me to lie too, and to make me do the same for him another time.

I swallowed all these bitter pills, for I had no choice in the matter, but I made up my mind I would have a thorough explanation the next day.

A Frenchman, the Chevalier de Neuville by name, who had come with Manucci, interested me a great deal. He had come to Rome to endeavour to obtain the annulment of marriage of a lady who was in a convent at Mantua. He had a special recommendation to Cardinal Galli.

His conversation was particularly agreeable, and when we left the ambassador's I accepted the offer to come into his carriage with Manucci, and we drove about till the evening.

As we were returning at nightfall he told us that he was going to present us to a pretty girl with whom we would sup and where we should have a game of faro.

The carriage stopped at the Place d'Espagne, at a short distance from my lodging, and we went up to a room on the second floor. When I went in I was surprised to see Count Medini and his mistress, the lady whom the chevalier had praised, and whom I found not at all to my taste. Medini received me cordially, and thanked the Frenchman for having made me forget the past, and having brought me to see him.

M. de Neuville looked astonished, and to avoid any unpleasant explanations I turned the conversation.

When Medini thought a sufficient number of punters were present he sat down at a large table, placed five or six hundred crowns in gold and notes before him, and began to deal. Manucci lost all the gold he had about him, Neuville swept away half the bank, and I was content with the humble part of spectator.

After supper, Medini asked the chevalier to give him his revenge, and Manucci asked me to lend him a hundred sequins. I did so, and in an hour he had not one left. Neuville, on the other hand, brought down Medini's bank to twenty or thirty sequins, and after that we retired to our several homes.

Manucci lodged with my sister-in-law, Roland's daughter, and I had made up my mind to give him an early call; but he did not leave me the opportunity, as he called on me early in the morning.

After returning me the hundred sequins he embraced me affectionately, and, shewing me a large letter of credit on Bettoni, said that I must consider his purse as mine. In short, though he said nothing about the past, he gave me to understand that he wished to initiate a mutual policy of forget and forgive.

On this occasion my heart proved too strong for my brain; such has often been the case with me. I agreed to the articles of peace he offered and required.

Besides, I was no longer at that headstrong age which only knows one kind of satisfaction, that of the sword. I remembered that if Manucci had been wrong so had I, and I felt that my honour ran no danger of being compromised.

The day after, I went to dinner with him. The Chevalier de Neuville came in towards the close of the meal, and Medini a few moments later. The latter called on us to hold a bank, each in his turn, and we agreed. Manucci gained double what he had lost; Neuvilie lost four hundred sequins, and I only lost a trifle. Medini who had only lost about fifty sequins was desperate, and would have thrown himself out of the window.

A few days later Manucci set out for Naples, after giving a hundred louis to Medini's mistress, who used to sup with him; but this windfall did not save Medini from being imprisoned for debt, his liabilities amounting to more than a thousand crowns.

The poor wretch wrote me doleful epistles, entreating me to come to his assistance; but the sole effect of his letters was to make me look after what he called his family, repaying myself with the enjoyment of his mistress's young sister. I did not feel called upon to behave generously to him for nothing.

About this time the Emperor of Germany came to Rome with his brother, the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

One of the noblemen in their suite made the girl's acquaintance, and gave Medini enough to satisfy his creditors. He left Rome soon after recovering his liberty, and we shall meet him again in a few months.

I lived very happily amongst the friends I had made for myself. In the evenings I visited the Duchess of Fiano, in the afternoons the Princess of Santa Croce. The rest of my time I spent at home, where I had Margarita, the fair Buonacorsi, and young Menicuccio, who told me so much about his lady-love that I felt quite curious to see her.

The girl was in a kind of convent where she had been placed out of charity. She could only leave it to get married, with the consent of the cardinal who superintended the establishment. When a girl went out and got married, she received a dower of two hundred Roman crowns.

Menicuccio had a sister in the same convent, and was allowed to visit her on Sundays; she came to the grating, followed by her governess. Though Menicuccio was her brother, she was not permitted to see him alone.

Five or six months before the date of which I am writing his sister had been accompanied to the grating by another girl, whom he had never seen before, and he immediately fell in love with her.

The poor young man had to work hard all the week, and could only visit the convent on holidays; and even then he had rarely the good luck to see his lady-love. In five or six months he had only seen her seven or eight times.

His sister knew of his love, and would have done all in her power for him, but the choice of a companion did not rest with her, and she was afraid of asking for this particular girl for fear of exciting suspicion.

As I have said, I had made up my mind to pay the place a visit, and on our way Menicuccio told me that the women of the convent were not nuns, properly speaking, as they had never taken any vow and did not wear a monastic dress. In spite of that they had few temptations to leave their prison house, as they would only find themselves alone in the world with the prospect of starvation or hard work before them. The young girls only came out to get married, which was uncommon, or by flight, which was extremely difficult.

We reached a vast ill-built house, near one of the town gates—a lonely and deserted situation, as the gate led to no highway. When we went into the parlour I was astonished to see the double grating with bars so thick and close together that the hand of a girl of ten could scarce have got through. The grating was so close that it was extremely difficult to make out the features of the persons standing on the inner side, especially as this was only lighted by the uncertain reflection from the outer room. The sight of these arrangements made me shudder.

"How and where have you seen your mistress?" I asked Menicuccio; "for there I see nothing but darkness."

"The first time the governess chanced to have a candle, but this privilege is confined, under pain of excommunication, to relations."

"Then she will have a light to-day?"

"I expect not, as the portress will have sent up word that there was a stranger with me."

"But how could you see your sweetheart, as you are not related to her?"

"By chance; the first time she came my sister's governess—a good soul—said nothing about it. Ever since there has been no candle when she has been present." Soon after, the forms of three or four women were dimly to be seen; but there was no candle, and the governess would not bring one on any consideration. She was afraid of being found out and excommunicated.

I saw that I was depriving my young friend of a pleasure, and would have gone, but he told me to stay. I passed an hour which interested me in spite of its painfulness. The voice of Menicuccio's sister sent a thrill through me, and I fancied that the blind must fall in love through their sense of hearing. The governess was a woman under thirty. She told me that when the girls attained their twenty-fifth year they were placed in charge of the younger ones, and at thirty-five they were free to leave the convent if they liked, but that few cared to take this step, for fear of falling into misery.

"Then there are a good many old women here?"

"There are a hundred of us, and the number is only decreased by death and by occasional marriages."

"But how do those who go out to get married succeed in inspiring the love of their husbands?"

"I have been here for twenty years, and in that time only four have gone out, and they did not know their husbands till they met at the altar. As might be expected, the men who solicit the cardinal for our hands are either madmen, or fellows of desperate fortunes who want the two hundred piastres. However, the cardinal-superintendent refuses permission unless the postulant can satisfy him that he is capable of supporting a wife."

"How does he choose his bride?"

"He tells the cardinal what age and disposition he would prefer, and the cardinal informs the mother-superior."

"I suppose you keep a good table, and are comfortably lodged."

"Not at all. Three thousand crowns a year are not much to keep a hundred persons. Those who do a little work and earn something are the best off."

"What manner of people put their daughters in such a prison?"

"Either poor people or bigots who are afraid of their children falling into evil ways. We only receive pretty girls here."

"Who is the judge of their prettiness?"

"The parents, the priest, and on the last appeal the cardinal-superintendent, who rejects plain girls without pity, observing that ugly women have no reason to fear the seductions of vice. So you may imagine that, wretched as we are, we curse those who pronounced us pretty."

"I pity you, and I wonder why leave is not given to see you openly; you might have some chance of getting married then."

"The cardinal says that it is not in his power to give permission, as anyone transgressing the foundation is excommunicated."

"Then I should imagine that the founder of this house is now consumed by the flames of hell."

"We all think so, and hope he may stay there. The Pope ought to take some order with the house."

I gave her ten crowns, saying that as I could not see her I could not promise a second visit, and then I went away with Menicuccio, who was angry with himself for having procured me such a tedious hour.

"I suppose I shall never see your mistress or your sister," said I; "your sister's voice went to my heart."

"I should think your ten paistres ought to work miracles."

"I suppose there is another parlour."

"Yes; but only priests are allowed to enter it under pain of excommunication, unless you get leave from the Holy Father."

I could not imagine how such a monstrous establishment could be tolerated, for it was almost impossible, under the circumstances, for the poor girls to get a husband. I calculated that as two hundred piastres were assigned to each as a dowry in case of marriage, the founder must have calculated on two marriages a year at least, and it seemed probable that these sums were made away with by some scoundrel.

I laid my ideas before Cardinal Bernis in the presence of the princess, who seemed moved with compassion for these poor women, and said I must write out a petition and get it signed by all of them, entreating the Holy Father to allow them the privileges customary in all other convents.

The cardinal told me to draft the supplication, to obtain the signatures, and to place it in the hands of the princess. In the meantime he would get the ear of the Holy Father, and ascertain by whose hands it was most proper for the petition to be presented.

I felt pretty sure of the signatures of the greater number of the recluses, and after writing out the petition I left it in the hands of the governess to whom I had spoken before. She was delighted with the idea, and promised to give me back the paper when I came again, with the signatures of all her companions in misfortune.

As soon as the Princess Santa Croce had the document she addressed herself to the Cardinal-Superintendent Orsini, who promised to bring the matter before the Pope. Cardinal Bernis had already spoken to His Holiness.

The chaplain of the institute was ordered to warn the superior that for the future visitors were to be allowed to see girls in the large parlour, provided they were accompanied by a governess.

Menicuccio brought me this news, which the princess had not heard, and which she was delighted to hear from my lips.

The worthy Pope did not stop there. He ordered a rigid scrutiny of the accounts to be made, and reduced the number from a hundred to fifty, doubling the dower. He also ordered that all girls who reached the age of twenty-five without getting married should be sent away with their four hundred crowns apiece; that twelve discreet matrons should have charge of the younger girls, and that twelve servants should be paid to do the hard work of the house.





CHAPTER XVI

     I Sup at the Inn With Armelline and Emilie
Chapter 16

These innovations were the work of some six months. The first reform was the abolition of the prohibition on entering the large parlour and even the interior of the convent; for as the inmates had taken no vows and were not cloistered nuns, the superior should have been at liberty to act according to her discretion. Menicuccio had learnt this from a note his sister wrote him, and which he brought to me in high glee, asking me to come with him to the convent, according to his sister's request, who said my presence would be acceptable to her governess. I was to ask for the governess.

I was only too glad to lend myself to this pleasant arrangement, and felt curious to see the faces of the three recluses, as well as to hear what they had to say on these great changes.

When we got into the large parlour I saw two grates, one occupied by the Abbe Guasco, whom I had known in Paris in 1751, the other by a Russian nobleman, Ivan Ivanovitch Schuvaloff, and by Father Jacquier, a friar minim of the Trinita dei Monti, and a learned astronomer. Behind the grate I saw three very pretty girls.

When our friends came down we began a very interesting conversation, which had to be conducted in a low tone for fear of our being overheard. We could not talk at our ease till the other visitors had taken their leave. My young friend's mistress was a very pretty girl, but his sister was a ravishing beauty. She had just entered on her sixteenth year, but she was tall and her figure well developed; in short, she enchanted me. I thought I had never seen a whiter skin or blacker hair and eyebrows and eyes, but still more charming was the sweetness of her voice and expression, and the naive simplicity of her expressions. Her governess who was ten or twelve years older than she was, was a woman of an extremely interesting expression; she was pale and melancholy looking, no doubt from the fires which she had been forced to quench within her. She delighted me by telling me of the confusion which the new regulations had caused in the house.

"The mother-superior is well pleased," she said, "and all my young companions are overjoyed; but the older ones whom circumstance has made into bigots are scandalized at everything. The superior has already given orders for windows to be made in the dark parlours, though the old women say that she cannot go beyond the concessions she has already received. To this the superior answered that as free communication had been allowed, it would be absurd to retain the darkness. She has also given orders for the alteration of the double grating, as there was only a single one in the large parlour."

I thought the superior must be a woman of intelligence, and expressed a desire to see her. Emilie obtained this pleasure for me the following day.

Emilie was the friend of Armelline, Menicuccio's sister. This first visit lasted two hours, and seemed all too short. Menicuccio spoke to his well-beloved at the other grating.

I went away, after having given them ten Roman crowns as before. I kissed Armelline's fair hands, and as she felt the contact of my lips her face was suffused by a vivid blush. Never had the lips of man touched more dainty hands before, and she looked quite astounded at the ardour with which I kissed them.

I went home full of love for her, and without heeding the obstacles in my path I gave reins to my passion, which seemed to me the most ardent I had ever experienced.

My young friend was in an ocean of bliss. He had declared his love, and the girl had said that she would gladly become his wife if he could get the cardinal's consent. As this consent only depended on his ability to keep himself, I promised to give him a hundred crowns and my patronage. He had served his time as a tailor's apprentice, and was in a position to open a shop of his own.

"I envy your lot," said I, "for your happiness is assured, while I, though I love your sister, despair of possessing her."

"Are you married then?" he asked.

"Alas, yes! Keep my counsel, for I propose visiting her every day, and if it were known that I was married, my visits would be received with suspicion."

I was obliged to tell this lie to avoid the temptation of marrying her, and to prevent Armelline thinking that I was courting her with that intention.

I found the superioress a polite and clever woman, wholly free from prejudices. After coming down to the grate to oblige me, she sometimes came for her own pleasure. She knew that I was the author of the happy reform in the institution, and she told me that she considered herself under great obligations to me. In less than six weeks three of her girls made excellent marriages, and six hundred crowns had been added to the yearly income of the house.

She told me that she was ill pleased with one of their confessors. He was a Dominican, and made it a rule that his penitents should approach the holy table every Sunday and feast day; he kept them for hours in the confessional, and imposed penances and fastings which were likely to injure the health of young girls.

"All this," said she, "cannot improve them from a mortal point of view, and takes up a lot of their time, so that they have none left for their work, by the sale of which they procure some small comforts for themselves.

"How many confessors have you?"

"Four."

"Are you satisfied with the other three?"

"Yes, they are sensible men, and do not ask too much of poor human nature."

"I will carry your just complaint to the cardinal; will you write out your petition?"

"Kindly give me a model."

I gave her a rough draft, which she copied out and signed, and I laid it before his eminence. A few days after the Dominican was removed, and his penitents divided amongst the three remaining confessors. The younger members of the community owed me a great debt of gratitude on account of this change.

Menicuccio went to see his sweetheart every holiday, while I, in my amorous ardour, visited his sister every morning at nine o'clock. I breakfasted with her and Emilie, and remained in the parlour till eleven. As there was only one grating I could lock the door behind me, but we could be seen from the interior of the convent, as the door was left open to admit light, there being no window. This was a great annoyance for me; recluses, young or old, were continually passing by, and none of them failed to give a glance in the direction of the grate; thus my fair Armelline could not stretch out her hand to receive my amorous kisses.

Towards the end of December the cold became intense, and I begged the superior to allow me to place a screen in front of the door, as I feared I should catch cold otherwise. The worthy woman granted my request without any difficulty, and we were at our ease for the future, though the desires with which Armelline inspired me had become dreadful torment.

On the 1st day of January, 1771, I presented each of them with a good winter dress, and sent the superior a quantity of chocolate, sugar, and coffee, all of which were extremely welcome.

Emilie often came by herself to the grating, as Armelline was not ready, and in the same way Armelline would come by herself when her governess happened to be busy. It was in these quarters of an hour that she succeeded in captivating me, heart and soul.

Emilie and Armelline were great friends, but their prejudices on the subject of sensual enjoyment were so strong that I could never get them to listen to licentious talk, to allow certain small liberties which I would gladly have taken, or to afford me those pleasures of the eyes that we accept in default of better things.

One day they were petrified by my asking them whether they did not sometimes sleep in the same bed, so as to give each other proofs of the tenderness of their mutual affection.

How they blushed Emilie asked me with the most perfect innocence what there was in common between affection and the inconvenience of sleeping two in a narrow bed.

I took care not to explain myself, for I saw that I had frightened them. No doubt they were of the same flesh and blood as I, but our educators had differed widely. They had evidently never confided their little secrets to one another, possibly not even to their confessor, either through shame, or with the idea that the liberties they indulged in alone were no sin.

I made them a present of some silk stockings, lined with plush to keep out the cold, and vainly endeavoured to make them try the stockings on before me. I might say as often as I pleased that there was no real difference between a man's legs and a woman's, and that their confessor would laugh at them if they confessed to shewing their legs. They only answered that girls were not allowed to take such a liberty, as they wore petticoats on purpose to conceal their legs.

The manner in which Emilie spoke, always with Armelline's approbation, convinced me that their modesty was genuine. I penetrated her idea; she thought that in acceding to my request she would be lowering herself in my eyes, and that I should despise her ever after. Nevertheless Emilie was a woman of twenty-seven, and by no means a devotee.

As for Armelline, I could see that she took Emilie for her model, and would have been ashamed of appearing less precise than her friend. I thought she loved me, and that, contrary to the general rule, she would be more easily won by herself than in company with her friend.

I made the trial one morning when she appeared at the grating by herself, telling me that her governess was busy. I said that I adored her and was the most hapless of men, for being a married man I had no hope of ever being able to clasp her to my arms and cover her with kisses.

"Can I continue to live, dear Armelline, with no other consolation than that of kissing your fair hands?"

At these words, pronounced with so much passion, she fixed her gaze on me, and after a few moments' reflection she began to kiss my hands as ardently as I had kissed hers.

I begged her to put her mouth so that I might kiss it. She blushed and looked down, and did nothing. I bewailed my fate bitterly, but in vain. She was deaf and dumb till Emilie came and asked us why we were so dull.

About this time, the beginning of 1771, I was visited by Mariuccia, whom I had married ten years before to a young hairdresser. My readers may remember how I met her at Abbe Momolo's. During the three months I had been in Rome I had enquired in vain as to what had become of her; so that I was delighted when she made her appearance.

"I saw you at St. Peter's," said she, "at the midnight mass on Christmas Eve, but not daring to approach you because of the people with whom I was, I told a friend of mine to follow you and find out where you lived."

"How is it that I have tried to find you out in vain for the last three months?"

"My husband set up at Frascati eight years ago, and we have lived there very happily ever since."

"I am very glad to hear it. Have you any children?"

"Four; and the eldest, who is nine years old, is very like you."

"Do you love her?"

"I adore her, but I love the other three as well."

As I wanted to go to breakfast with Armelline I begged Margarita to keep Mariuccia company till my return.

Mariuccia dined with me, and we spent a pleasant day together without attempting to renew our more tender relationship. We had plenty to talk about, and she told me that Costa, my old servant, had come back to Rome in a splendid coach, three years after I had left, and that he had married one of Momolo's daughters.

"He's a rascal; he robbed me."

"I guessed as much; his theft did him no good. He left his wife two years after their marriage, and no one knows what has become of him."

"How about his wife?"

"She is living miserably in Rome. Her father is dead."

I did not care to go and see the poor woman, for I could not do anything for her, and I could not have helped saying that if I caught her husband I would do my best to have him hanged. Such was indeed my intention up to the year 1785, when I found this runagate at Vienna. He was then Count Erdich's man, and when we come to that period the reader shall hear what I did.

I promised Mariuccia to come and see her in the course of Lent.

The Princess Santa Croce and the worthy Cardinal Bernis pitied me for my hapless love; I often confided my sufferings to their sympathizing ears.

The cardinal told the princess that she could very well obtain permission from Cardinal Orsini to take Armelline to the theatre, and that if I cared to join the party I might find her less cruel.

"The cardinal will make no objection," said he, "as Armelline has taken no vows; but as you must know our friend's mistress before making your request, you have only to tell the cardinal that you would like to see the interior of the house."

"Do you think he will give me leave?"

"Certainly; the inmates are not cloistered nuns. We will go with you."

"You will come too? that will be a delightful party indeed."

"Ask for leave, and we will arrange the day."

This plan seemed to me a delicious dream. I guessed that the gallant cardinal was curious to see Armelline, but I was not afraid as I knew he was a constant lover. Besides I felt sure that if he took an interest in the fair recluse he would be certain to find her a husband.

In three or four days the princess summoned me to her box in the Alberti Theatre, and shewed me Cardinal Orsini's note, allowing her and her friends to see the interior of the house.

"To-morrow afternoon," said she, "we will fix the day and the hour for the visit."

Next day I paid my usual visit to the recluses, and the superioress came to tell me that the cardinal had told her that the Princess Santa Croce was coming to visit the house with some friends.

"I know it," said I; "I am coming with her."

"When is she coming?"

"I don't know yet, but I will inform you later on."

"This novelty has turned the house upside down. The devotees scarcely know whether they are awake or dreaming, for with the exception of a few priests, the doctor, and the surgeon, no one has ever entered the house since its foundation."

"All these restrictions are now removed, and you need not ask the cardinal's permission to receive visits from your friends."

"I know that, but I don't like to go so far."

The time for the visit was fixed for the afternoon of the next day, and I let the superioress know early the next morning. The Duchess of Fiano had asked to join us; the cardinal came, of course, dressed as a simple priest, with no indication of his exalted rank. He knew Armelline directly from my description, and congratulated her on having made my acquaintance.

The poor girl blushed to the roots of her hair; and I thought she would have fainted when the princess, after telling her she was the prettiest girl in the house, gave her two affectionate kisses, a mark of friendship strictly forbidden by the rules.

After these caresses, the princess proceeded to compliment the superioress. She said that I had done well to praise her parts, as she could judge of them by the order and neatness which reigned everywhere.

"I shall mention your name to Cardinal Orsini," she added, "and you may be sure I shall do you all the justice you deserve."

When we had seen all the rooms, which contained nothing worth seeing, I presented Emilie to the princess, who received her with great cordiality.

"I have heard of your sadness," she said, "but I know the reason of it. You are a good girl, and pretty too, and I shall get you a husband who will cure you of your melancholy."

The superioress gave a smile of approbation, but I saw a dozen aged devotees pulling wry faces.

Emilie dared not reply, but she took the princess's hand and kissed it, as if to summon her to keep her promise.

As for me, I was delighted to see that though all the girls were really pretty, my Armelline eclipsed them all, as the light of the sun obscures the stars.

When we came down to the parlour, the princess told Armelline that she meant to ask leave of the cardinal to take her two or three times to the theatre before Lent began. This observation seemed to petrify everyone except the superioress, who said that his eminence had now a perfect right to relax any or all of the rules of the establishment.

Poor Armelline was so overwhelmed between joy and confusion that she could not speak. She seemed unable to find words wherein to thank the princess, who commended her and her friend Emilie to the superioress before she left the house, and gave her a small present to buy necessaries for them.

Not to be outdone, the Duchess of Fiano told the superioress that she would make me the almoner of her bounty towards Armelline and Emilie. My expressions of gratitude to the princess when we were back in the carriage may be imagined.

I had no need to excuse Armelline, for the princess and the cardinal had gauged her capacities. Her confusion had prevented her shewing her cleverness, but her face shewed her to possess it. Besides, the influence of the education she had received had to be taken into account. The princess was impatient to take her to the theatre, and afterwards to supper at an inn, according to the Roman custom.

She wrote the names of Armelline and Emilie upon her tablets, so as to remember them on every occasion.

I did not forget the mistress of my poor friend Menicuccio, but the time was not opportune for mentioning her name. The next day, however, I got the cardinal's ear, and told him that I was anxious to do something for the young man. The cardinal saw him, and Menicuccio pleased him so well that the marriage took place before the end of the carnival, the bride having a dowry of five hundred crowns. With this sum and the hundred crowns I gave him, he was in a position to open a shop for himself.

The day after the princess's visit was a triumphant one for me. As soon as I appeared at the grating the superioress was sent for, and we had an interview.

The princess had given her fifty crowns, which she was going to lay out on linen for Armelline and Emilie.

The recluses were stupefied when I told them that the fat priest was Cardinal Bernis, as they had an idea that a cardinal can never doff the purple.

The Duchess of Fiano had sent a cask of wine, which was an unknown beverage there, and these presents made them hope for others. I was looked upon as the bringer of all this good luck, and gratitude shewed itself so plainly in every word and glance that I felt I might hope for everything.

A few days later, the princess told Cardinal Orsini that she had taken a peculiar interest in two of the young recluses, and desiring to provide them with suitable establishments she wished to take them now and again to the theatre so as to give them some knowledge of the world. She undertook to take them and bring them back herself or only to confide them to sure hands. The cardinal replied that the superioress should receive instructions to oblige her in every particular.

As soon as I heard of this from the princess, I said that I would ascertain what orders had been actually received at the convent.

The next day the superioress told me that his eminence had instructed her to do what she thought best for the welfare of the young people committed to her charge.

"I have also received orders," she added, "to send in the names of those who have attained the age of thirty, and wish to leave the convent, that they may receive a warrant for their two hundred crowns. I have not yet published this command, but I haven't the slightest doubt that we shall get rid of a score at least."

I told the princess of the cardinal's orders, and she agreed with me that his behaviour was most generous.

Cardinal Bernis, who was by, advised her that the first time she took the girls to the theatre she had better go in person, and tell the superioress that she would always send her carriage and liveried servants to fetch them.

The princess approved of this advice, and a few days later she called for Emilie and Armelline, and brought them to her palace, where I awaited them with the cardinal, the prince, and the Duchess of Fiano.

They were welcomed warmly, encouraged to reply, to laugh, and to say what was in their minds, but all in vain; finding themselves for the first time in a splendid apartment surrounded by brilliant company, they were so confounded that they could not say a word. Emilie persisted in rising from her seat whenever she was addressed, and Armelline shone only by her beauty and the vivid blush which suffused her face whenever she was addressed. The princess might kiss her as much as she pleased, but the novice had not the courage to return her kisses.

At last Armelline mustered up courage to take the princess's hand and kiss it, but when the lady kissed her on the lips the girl remained inactive, seeming to be absolutely ignorant of such a natural and easy matter as the returning of a kiss.

The cardinal and the prince laughed; the duchess said that so much restraint was unnatural. As for me I was on thorns, such awkwardness seemed to me near akin to stupidity, for Armelline had only to do to the princess's lips what she had already done to her hand. No doubt she fancied that to do to the princess what the princess had done to her would shew too much familiarity.

The cardinal took me on one side and said he could not believe that I had not initiated her in the course of two months' intimacy, but I pointed out to him the immense force of long engrained prejudice.

Far this first tine the princess had made up her mind to take them to the Torre di Nonna Theatre, as comic pieces were played there, and they could not help but laugh.

After the play we went to sup at an inn, and at table the good cheer and my exhortations began to take some effect on her. We persuaded them to drink a little wine, and their spirits improved visibly. Emilie ceased to be sad, and Armelline gave the princess some real kisses. We applauded their efforts to be gay and our applause convinced them that they had done nothing wrong.

Of course the princess charged me with the pleasant trust of taking the two guests back to the convent. Now, I thought, my time has come; but when we were in the carriage I saw that I had reckoned without my host. When I would have kissed, heads were turned aside; when I would have stretched forth an indiscreet hand, dresses were wrapped more tightly; when I would have forced my way, I was resisted by force; when I complained, I was told that I was in the wrong; when I got in a rage, I was allowed to say on; and when I threatened to see them no more, they did not believe me.

When we got to the convent a servant opened the side door, and noticing that she did not shut it after the girls, I went in too, and went with them to see the superioress, who was in bed, and did not seem at all astonished to see me. I told her that I considered it my duty to bring back her young charges in person. She thanked me, asked them if they had had a pleasant evening, and bade me good night, begging me to make as little noise as possible on my way downstairs.

I wished them all happy slumbers, and after giving a sequin to the servant who opened the door, and another to the coachman, I had myself set down at the door of my lodging. Margarita was asleep on a sofa and welcomed me with abuse, but she soon found out by the ardour of my caresses that I had not been guilty of infidelity.

I did not get up till noon, and at three o'clock I called on the princess and found the cardinal already there.

They expected to hear the story of my triumph, but the tale I told and my apparent indifference in the matter came as a surprise.

I may as well confess that my face was by no means the index of my mind. However, I did my best to give the thing a comic turn, saying that I did not care for Pamelas, and that I had made up my mind to give up the adventure.

"My dear fellow," said the cardinal, "I shall take two or three days before I congratulate you on your self-restraint."

His knowledge of the human heart was very extensive.

Armelline thought I must have slept till late as she did not see me in the morning as usual; but when the second day went by without my coming she sent her brother to ask if I were ill, for I had never let two days pass without paying her a visit.

Menicuccio came accordingly, and was delighted to find me in perfect health.

"Go and tell your sister," I said, "that I shall continue to interest the princess on her behalf, but that I shall see her no more."

"Why not?"

"Because I wish to cure myself of an unhappy passion. Your sister does not love me: I am sure of it. I am no longer a young man, and I don't feel inclined to become a martyr to her virtue. Virtue goes rather too far when it prevents a girl giving the man who adores her a single kiss."

"Indeed, I would not have believed that of her."

"Nevertheless it is the fact, and I must make an end of it. Your sister cannot understand the danger she runs in treating a lover in this fashion. Tell her all that, my dear Menicuccio, but don't give her any advice of your own."

"You can't think how grieved I am to hear all this; perhaps it's Emilie's presence that makes her so cold."

"No; I have often pressed her when we have been alone together, but all in vain. I want to cure myself, for if she does not love me I do not wish to obtain her either by seduction or by any feeling of gratitude on her part. Tell me how your future bride treats you."

"Very well, ever since she has been sure of my marrying her."

I felt sorry then that I had given myself out as a married man, for in my state of irritation I could even have given her a promise of marriage without deliberately intending to deceive her.

Menicuccio went on his way distressed, and I went to the meeting of the "Arcadians," at the Capitol, to hear the Marchioness d'Aout recite her reception piece. This marchioness was a young Frenchwoman who had been at Rome for the last six months with her husband, a man of many talents, but inferior to her, for she was a genius. From this day I became her intimate friend, but without the slightest idea of an intrigue, leaving all that to a French priest who was hopelessly in love with her, and had thrown up his chances of preferment for her sake.

Every day the Princess Santa Croce told me that I could have the key to her box at the theatre whenever I liked to take Armelline and Emilie, but when a week passed by without my giving any sign she began to believe that I had really broken off the connection.

The cardinal, on the other hand, believed me to be still in love, and praised my conduct. He told me that I should have a letter from the superioress, and he was right; for at the end of the week she wrote me a polite note begging me to call on her, which I was obliged to obey.

I called on her, and she began by asking me plainly why my visits had ceased.

"Because I am in love with Armelline."

"If that reason brought you here every day, I do not see how it can have suddenly operated in another direction."

"And yet it is all quite natural; for when one loves one desires, and when one desires in vain one suffers, and continual suffering is great unhappiness. And so you see that I am bound to act thus for my own sake."

"I pity you, and see the wisdom of your course; but allow me to tell you that, esteeming Armelline, you have no right to lay her open to a judgment being passed upon her which is very far from the truth."

"And what judgment is that?"

"That your love was only a whim, and that as soon as it was satisfied you abandoned her."

"I am sorry indeed to hear of this, but what can I do? I must cure myself of this unhappy passion. Do you know any other remedy than absence? Kindly advise me."

"I don't know much about the affection called love, but it seems to me that by slow degrees love becomes friendship, and peace is restored."

"True, but if it is to become friendship, love must be gently treated. If the beloved object is not very tender, love grows desperate and turns to indifference or contempt. I neither wish to grow desperate nor to despise Armelline, who is a miracle of beauty and goodness. I shall do my utmost for her, just as if she had made me happy, but I will see her no more."

"I am in complete darkness on the matter. They assure me that they have never failed in their duty towards you, and that they cannot imagine why you have ceased coming here."

"Whether by prudence, or timidity, or a delicate wish not to say anything against me, they have told you a lie; but you deserve to know all, and my honour requires that I should tell you the whole story."

"Please do so; you may count on my discretion."

I then told my tale, and I saw she was moved.

"I have always tried," she said, "never to believe evil except on compulsion, nevertheless, knowing as I do the weakness of the human heart, I could never have believed that throughout so long and intimate an acquaintance you could have kept yourself so severely within bounds. In my opinion there would be much less harm in a kiss than in all this scandal."

"I am sure that Armelline does not care about it."

"She does nothing but weep."

"Her tears probably spring from vanity, or from the cause her companions assign for my absence."

"No, I have told them all that you are ill."

"What does Emilie say?"

"She does not weep, but she looks sad, and says over and over again that it is not her fault if you do not come, thereby hinting that it is Armelline's fault. Come tomorrow to oblige me. They are dying to see the opera at the Aliberti, and the comic opera at the Capronica."

"Very good, then I will breakfast with them to-morrow morning, and to-morrow evening they shall see the opera."

"You are very good; I thank you. Shall I tell them the news?"

"Please tell Armelline that I am only coming after hearing all that you have said to me."

The princess skipped for joy when she heard of my interview with the superioress, and the cardinal said he had guessed as much. The princess gave me the key of her box, and ordered that her carriage and servants should be at my orders.

The next day when I went to the convent Emilie came down by herself to reproach me on my cruel conduct. She told me that a man who really loved would not have acted in such a manner, and that I had been wrong to tell the superioress everything.

"I would not have said anything if I had had anything important to say."

"Armelline has become unhappy through knowing you."

"Because she does not want to fail in her duty, and she sees that you only love her to turn her from it."

"But her unhappiness will cease when I cease troubling her."

"Do you mean you are not going to see her any more?"

"Exactly. Do you think that it costs me no pain? But I must make the effort for the sake of my peace of mind."

"Then she will be sure that you do not love her."

"She must think what she pleases. In the meanwhile I feel sure that if she loved me as I loved her, we should be of one mind."

"We have duties which seem to press lightly on you."

"Then be faithful to your duties, and permit a man of honour to respect them by visiting you no more."

Armelline then appeared. I thought her changed.

"Why do you look so grave and pale?"

"Because you have grieved me."

"Come then, be gay once more, and allow me to cure myself of a passion, the essence of which is to induce you to fail in your duty. I shall be still your friend, and I shall come to see you once a week while I remain in Rome."

"Once a week! You needn't have begun by coming once a day."

"You are right; it was your kind expression which deceived me, but I hope you will allow me to become rational again. For this to happen, I must try not to see you more than I can help. Think over it, and you will see that I am doing all for the best."

"It's very hard that you can't love me as I love you."

"You mean calmly, and without desires."

"I don't say that; but holding your desires in check, if they are contrary to the voice of duty."

"I'm too old to learn this method, and it does not seem to me an attractive one. Kindly tell me whether the restraint of your desires gives you much pain?"

"I don't repress my desires when I think of you, I cherish them; I wish you were the Pope, I wish you were my father, that I might caress you in all innocence; in my dreams I wish you could become a girl, so that we might always live happily together."

At this true touch of native simplicity, I could not help smiling.

I told them that I should come in the evening to take them to the Aliberti, and felt in a better humour after my visit, for I could see that there was no art or coquetry in what Armelline said. I saw that she loved me, but would not come to a parley with her love, hence her repugnance to granting me her favours; if she once did so, her eyes would be opened. All this was pure nature, for experience had not yet taught her that she ought either to avoid me or to succumb to my affection.

In the evening I called for the two friends to take them to the opera, and I had not long to wait. I was by myself in the carriage, but they evinced no surprise. Emilie conveyed to me the compliments of the superioress, who would be obliged by my calling on her the following day. At the opera I let them gaze at the spectacle which they saw for the first time, and answered whatever questions they put to me. As they were Romans, they ought to have known what a castrato was, nevertheless, Armelline took the wretched individual who sang the prima donna's part for a woman, and pointed to his breast, which was really a fine one.

"Would you dare to sleep in the same bed with him?" I asked.

"No; an honest girl ought always to sleep by herself."

Such was the severity of the education they had received. Everything connected with love was made a mystery of, and treated with a kind of superstitious awe. Thus Armelline had only let me kiss her hands after a long contest, and neither she nor Emilie would allow me to see whether the stockings I had given them fitted well or not. The severe prohibition that was laid on sleeping with another girl must have made them think that to shew their nakedness to a companion would be a great sin, and let a man see their beauties a hideous crime. The very idea of such a thing must have given them a shudder.

Whenever I had attempted to indulge in conversation which was a little free, I had found them deaf and dumb.

Although Emilie was a handsome girl in spite of her pallor, I did not take sufficient interest in her to try to dissipate her melancholy; but loving Armelline to desperation I was cut to the quick to see her look grave when I asked her if she had any idea of the difference between the physical conformation of men and women.

As we were leaving Armelline said she was hungry, as she had scarcely eaten anything for the last week on account of the grief I had given her.

"If I had foreseen that," I answered, "I would have ordered a good supper, whereas I have now only potluck to offer you."

"Never mind. How many shall we be?"

"We three."

"So much the better; we shall be more at liberty."

"Then you don't like the princess?"

"I beg your pardon, but she wants me to kiss her in a way I don't like."

"Nevertheless, you kissed her ardently enough."

"I was afraid she would take me for a simpleton if I did not do so."

"Then do you think you committed a sin in kissing her like that?"

"Certainly not, for it was very unpleasant for me."

"Then why won't you make the same effort on my behalf?"

She said nothing, and when we got to the inn I ordered them to light a fire and to get a good supper ready.

The waiter asked me if I would like some oysters, and noticing the curiosity of my guests on the subject I asked him how much they were.

"They are from the arsenal at Venice," he replied, "and we can't sell them under fifty pains a hundred."

"Very good, I will take a hundred, but you must open them here."

Armelline was horrified to think that I was going to pay five crowns for her whim, and begged me to revoke the order; but she said nothing when I told her that no pleasure of hers could be bought too dearly by me.

At this she took my hand and would have carried it to her lips, but I took it away rather roughly, greatly to her mortification.

I was sitting in front of the fire between them, and I was sorry at having grieved her.

"I beg pardon, Armelline," I said, "I only took my hand away because it was not worthy of being carried to your fair lips."

In spite of this excuse she could not help two big tears coursing down her blushing cheeks. I was greatly pained.

Armelline was a tender dove, not made to be roughly treated. If I did not want her to hate me I felt that I must either not see her at all or treat her more gently for the future.

Her tears convinced me that I had wounded her feelings terribly, and I got up and went out to order some champagne.

When I came back I found that she had been weeping bitterly. I did not know what to do; I begged her again and again to forgive me, and to be gay once more, unless she wished to subject me to the severest of all punishments.

Emilie backed me up, and on taking her hand and covering it with kisses, I had the pleasure of seeing her smile once more.

The oysters were opened in our presence, and the astonishment depicted on the girls' countenances would have amused me if my heart had been more at ease. But I was desperate with love, and Armelline begged me vainly to be as I was when we first met.

We sat down, and I taught my guests how to suck up the oysters, which swam in their own liquid, and were very good.

Armelline swallowed half a dozen, and then observed to her friend that so delicate a morsel must be a sin.

"Not on account of its delicacy," said Emilie, "but because at every mouthful we swallow half a Paul."

"Half a Paul!" said Armelline, "and the Holy Father does not forbid such a luxury? If this is not the sin of gluttony, I don't know what is. These oysters are delightful; but I shall speak about the matter to my director."

These simplicities of hers afforded me great mental pleasure, but I wanted bodily pleasure as well.

We ate fifty oysters, and drank two bottles of sparkling champagne, which made my two guests eruct and blush and laugh at the same time.

I would fain have laughed too and devoured Armelline with my kisses, but I could only devour her with by eyes.

I kept the remainder of the oysters for dessert, and ordered the supper to be served. It was an excellent meal, and the two heroines enjoyed it; even Emilie became quite lively.

I ordered up lemons and a bottle of rum, and after having the fifty remaining oysters opened I sent the waiter away. I then made a bowl of punch, pouring in a bottle of champagne as a finishing touch.

After they had swallowed a few oysters and drank one or two glasses of punch, which they liked amazingly, I begged Emilie to give me an oyster with her lips.

"I am sure you are too sensible to find anything wrong in that," I added.

Emilie was astonished at the proposition, and thought it over. Armelline gazed at her anxiously, as if curious as to how she would answer me.

"Why don't you ask Armelline?" she said at length.

"Do you give him one first," said Armelline, "and if you have the courage I will try to do the same."

"What courage do you want? It's a child's game; there's no harm in it."

After this reply, I was sure of victory. I placed the shell on the edge of her lips, and after a good deal of laughing she sucked in the oyster, which she held between her lips. I instantly recovered it by placing my lips on hers.

Armelline clapped her hands, telling Emilie that she would never have thought her so brave; she then imitated her example, and was delighted with my delicacy in sucking away the oyster, scarcely touching her lips with mine. My agreeable surprise may be imagined when I heard her say that it was my turn to hold the oysters. It is needless to say that I acquitted myself of the duty with much delight.

After these pleasant interludes we went to drinking punch and swallowing oysters.

We all sat in a row with our backs to the fire, and our brains began to whirl, but never was there such a sweet intoxication. However, the punch was not finished and we were getting very hot. I took off my coat, and they were obliged to unlace their dresses, the bodices of which were lined with fur. Guessing at necessities which they did not dare to mention, I pointed out a closet where they could make themselves comfortable, and they went in hand-in-hand. When they came out they were no longer timid recluses, they were shrieking with laughter, and reeling from side to side.

I was their screen as we sat in front of the fire, and I gazed freely on charms which they could no longer conceal. I told them that we must not think of going till the punch was finished, and they agreed, saying, in high glee, that it would be a great sin to leave so good a thing behind.

I then presumed so far as to tell them that they had beautiful legs, and that I should be puzzled to assign the prize between them. This made them gayer than ever, for they had not noticed that their unlaced bodices and short petticoats let me see almost everything.

After drinking our punch to the dregs, we remained talking for half an hour, while I congratulated myself on my self-restraint. Just as we were going I asked them if they had any grounds of complaint against me. Armelline replied that if I would adopt her as my daughter she was ready to follow me to the end of the world. "Then you are not afraid of my turning you from the path of duty?"

"No, I feel quite safe with you."

"And what do you say, dear Emilie?"

"I shall love you too, when you do for me what the superioress will tell you to-morrow."

"I will do anything, but I shan't come to speak to her till the evening, for it is three o'clock now."

They laughed all the louder, exclaiming,—

"What will the mother say?"

I paid the bill, gave something to the waiter, and took them back to the convent, where the porteress seemed well enough pleased with the new rules when she saw two sequins in her palm.

It was too late to see the superioress, so I drove home after rewarding the coachman and the lackey.

Margarita was ready to scratch my eyes out if I could not prove my fidelity, but I satisfied her by quenching on her the fires Armelline and the punch had kindled. I told her I had been kept by a gaming party, and she asked no more questions.

The next day I amused the princess and the cardinal by a circumstantial account of what had happened.

"You missed your opportunity," said the princess.

"I don't think so," said the cardinal, "I believe, on the contrary, that he has made his victory more sure for another time."

In the evening, I went to the convent where the superioress gave me her warmest welcome. She complimented me on having amused myself with the two girls till three o'clock in the morning without doing anything wrong. They had told her how we had eaten the oysters, and she said it was an amusing idea. I admired her candour, simplicity, or philosophy, whichever you like to call it.

After these preliminaries, she told me that I could make Emilie happy by obtaining, through the influence of the princess, a dispensation to marry without the publication of banns a merchant of Civita Vecchia, who would have married her long ago only that there was a woman who pretended to have claims upon him. If banns were published this woman would institute a suit which might go on forever.

"If you do this," she concluded, "you will have the merit of making Emilie happy."

I took down the man's name, and promised to do my best with the princess.

"Are you still determined to cure yourself of your love for Armelline?"

"Yes, but I shall not begin the cure till Lent."

"I congratulate you; the carnival is unusually long this year."

The next day I spoke of the matter to the princess. The first requisite was a certificate from the Bishop of Civita Vecchia, stating that the man was free to marry. The cardinal said that the man must come to Rome, and that the affair could be managed if he could bring forward two good witnesses who would swear that he was unmarried.

I told the superioress what the cardinal said, and she wrote to the merchant, and a few days after I saw him talking to the superioress and Emilie through the grating.

He commended himself to my protection, and said that before he married he wanted to be sure of having six hundred crowns.

The convent would give him four hundred crowns, so we should have to obtain a grant of two hundred more.

I succeeded in getting the grant, but I first contrived to have another supper with Armelline, who asked me every morning when I was going to take her to the comic opera. I said I was afraid of turning her astray from the path of duty, but she replied that experience had taught her to dread me no longer.





CHAPTER XVII

     The Florentine—Marriage of Emilie—Scholastica—Armelline
     at the Ball

Before the supper I had loved Armelline to such an extent that I had determined to see her no more, but after it I felt that I must obtain her or die. I saw that she had only consented to my small liberties because she regarded them as mere jokes, of no account, and I resolved to take advantage of this way of looking at it to go as far as I could. I begin to play the part of indifferent to the best of my ability, only visiting her every other day, and looking at her with an expression of polite interest. I often pretended to forget to kiss her hand, while I kissed Emilie's and told her that if I felt certain of receiving positive marks of her affection I should stay at Civita Vecchia for some weeks after she was married. I would not see Armelline's horror, who could not bear me to take a fancy to Emilie.

Emilie said that she would be more at liberty when she was married, while Armelline, vexed at her giving me any hopes, told her sharply that a married woman had stricter duties to perform than a girl.

I agreed with her in my heart, but as it would not have suited my purpose to say so openly I insinuated the false doctrine that a married woman's chief duty is to keep her husband's descent intact, and that everything else is of trifling importance.

With the idea of driving Emilie to an extremity I told Emilie that if she wanted me to exert myself to my utmost for her she must give me good hopes of obtaining her favours not only after but before marriage.

"I will give you no other favours." she replied, "than those which Armelline may give you. You ought to try to get her married also."

In spite of her grief at these proposals, gentle Armelline replied,——

"You are the only man I have ever seen; and as I have no hopes of getting married I will give you no pledges at all, though I do not know what you mean by the word."

Though I saw how pure and angelic she was, I had the cruelty to go away, leaving her to her distress.

It was hard for me to torment her thus, but I thought it was the only way to overcome her prejudices.

Calling on the Venetian ambassador's steward I saw some peculiarly fine oysters, and I got him to let me have a hundred. I then took a box at the Capronica Theatre, and ordered a good supper at the inn where we had supped before.

"I want a room with a bed," I said to the waiter.

"That's not allowed in Rome, signor," he replied, "but on the third floor we have two rooms with large sofas which might do instead, without the Holy Office being able to say anything."

I looked at the rooms and took them, and ordered the man to get the best supper that Rome could offer.

As I was entering the boa with the two girls I saw the Marchioness d'Aout was my near neighbour. She accosted me, and congratulated herself on her vicinity to me. She was accompanied by her French abbe, her husband, and a fine-looking young man, whom I had never seen before. She asked who my companions were, and I told her they were in the Venetian ambassador's household. She praised their beauty and began to talk to Armelline, who answered well enough till the curtain went up. The young man also complimented her, and after having asked my permission he gave her a large packet of bonbons, telling her to share them with her neighbour. I had guessed him to be a Florentine from his accent, and asked him if the sweets came from the banks of the Arno; he told me they were from Naples, whence he had just arrived.

At the end of the first act I was surprised to hear him say that he had a letter of introduction for me from the Marchioness of C——.

"I have just heard your name," he said, "and tomorrow I shall have the honour of delivering the letter in person, if you will kindly give me your address."

After these polite preliminaries I felt that I must comply with his request.

I asked after the marquis, his mother-in-law, and Anastasia, saying that I was delighted to hear from the marchioness from whom I had been expecting an answer for the last month.

"The charming marchioness has deigned to entrust me with the answer you speak of."

"I long to read it."

"Then I may give you the letter now, though I shall still claim the privilege of calling on you to-morrow. I will bring it to you in your box, if you will allow me."

"Pray do so."

He might easily have given it to me from the box where he was, but this would not have suited his plans. He came in, and politeness obliged me to give him my place next to Armelline. He took out an elaborate pocket-book, and gave me the letter. I opened it, but finding that it covered four pages, I said I would read it when I got home, as the box was dark. "I shall stay in Rome till Easter," he said, "as I want to see all the sights; though indeed I cannot hope to see anything more beautiful than the vision now before me."

Armelline, who was gazing fixedly at him, blushed deeply. I felt that his compliment, though polite, was entirely out of place, and in some sort an insult to myself. However, I said nothing, but decided mentally that the Florentine Adonis must be a fop of the first water.

Finding his compliment created a silence, he saw he had made himself offensive, and after a few disconnected remarks withdrew from the box. In spite of myself the man annoyed me, and I congratulated Armelline on the rapidity of her conquest, asking her what she thought of him. "He is a fine man, but his compliments shews he has no taste. Tell me, is it the custom for people of fashion to make a young girl blush the first time they see her?"

"No, dear Armelline, it is neither customary nor polite; and anyone who wishes to mix in good society would never do such a thing."

I lapsed into silence, as though I wanted to listen to the music; but as a matter of fact my heart was a prey to cruel jealousy. I thought the matter over, and came to the conclusion that the Florentine had treated me rudely. He might have guessed that I was in love with Armelline, and to make such an open declaration of love to my very face was nothing more nor less than an insult to me.

After I had kept this unusual silence for a quarter of an hour the simple Armelline made me worse by saying that I must calm myself, as I might be sure that the young man's compliment had not given her the slightest pleasure. She did not see that by saying this she made me feel that the compliment had had the directly opposite effect.

I said that I had hoped he had pleased her.

To finish the matter up, she said by way of soothing me that the young man did not mean to vex me, as he doubtless took me for her father.

What could I reply to this observation, as cruel as it was reasonable? Nothing; I could only take refuge in silence and a fit of childish ill-humour.

At last I could bear it no longer, and begged the two girls to come away with me.

The second act was just over, and if I had been in my right senses I should never have made them such an unreasonable request; but the crassness of my proceedings did not strike me till the following day.

In spite of the strangeness of my request they merely exchanged glances and got ready to go. Not knowing what better excuse to give I told them I did not want the princess's carriage to be noticed as everyone left the theatre, and that I would bring them again to the theatre the following day.

I would not let Armelline put her head inside the Marchioness d'Aout's box, and so we went out. I found the man who accompanied the carriage talking to one of his mates at the door of the theatre, and this made me think that the princess had come to the opera.

We got down at the inn, and I whispered to the man to take his horses home and to call for us at three o'clock; for the cold was intense, and both horses and men had to be considered.

We began by sitting down in front of a roaring fire, and for half an hour we did nothing but eat oysters, which were opened in our presence by a clever waiter, who took care not to lose a drop of the fluid. As quick as he opened we ate, and the laughter of the girls, who talked of how we had eaten them before, caused my anger to gradually disappear.

In Armelline's gentleness I saw the goodness of her heart, and I was angry with myself for my absurd jealousy of a man who was much more calculated to please a young girl than I.

Armelline drank champagne, and stole occasional glances in my direction as if to entreat me to join them in their mirth.

Emilie spoke of her marriage, and without saying anything about my projected visit to Civita Vecchia I promised that her future husband should have his plenary dispensation before very long. While I spoke I kissed Armelline's fair hands, and she looked at me as if thankful for the return of my affection.

The oysters and champagne had their natural effect, and we had a delightful supper. We had sturgeon and some delicious truffles, which I enjoyed not so much for my own sake as for the pleasure with which my companions devoured them.

A man in love is provided with a kind of instinct which tells him that the surest way to success is to provide the beloved object with pleasures that are new to her.

When Armelline saw me become gay and ardent once more she recognized her handiwork, and was doubtless proud of the power she exercised over me. She took my hand of her own accord, and continued gazing into my eyes. Emilie was occupied in the enjoyment of the meal, and did not trouble herself about our behaviour. Armelline was so tender and loving that I made sure of victory after we had had some more oysters and a bowl of punch.

When the dessert, the fifty oysters, and all the materials for making the punch were on the table, the waiter left the room, saying that the ladies would find every requisite in the neighbouring apartment.

The room was small, and the fire very hot, and I bade the two friends arrange their dress more comfortably.

Their dresses fitted their figures, and were trimmed with fur and stiffened with whalebones, so they went into the next room, and came back in white bodices and short dimity petticoats, laughing at the slightness of their attire.

I had sufficient strength of mind to conceal my emotion, and even not to look at their breasts when they complained of having no neckerchiefs or breast-bands to their chemises. I knew how inexperienced they were, and felt certain that when they saw the indifference with which I took their slight attire they themselves would think it was of no consequence. Armelline and Emilie had both beautiful breasts, and knew it; they were therefore astonished at my indifference, perhaps thought that I had never seen a fine breast. As a matter of fact a fine figure is much more scarce at Rome than a pretty face.

Thus, in spite of their modesty, their vanity impelled them to shew me that my indifference was ill-placed, but it was my part to put them at their ease, and to make them fling shame to the winds.

They were enchanted when I told them to try their hands at a bowl of punch, and they simply danced for joy when I pronounced it better than my own brew.

Then came the oyster-game, and I scolded Armelline for having swallowed the liquid as I was taking the oyster from her lips. I agreed that it was very hard to avoid doing so, but I offered to shew them how it could be done by placing the tongue in the way. This gave me an opportunity of teaching them the game of tongues, which I shall not explain because it is well known to all true lovers. Armelline played her part with such evident relish that I could see she enjoyed it as well as I, though she agreed it was a very innocent amusement.

It so chanced that a fine oyster slipped from its shell as I was placing it between Emilie's lips. It fell on to her breast, and she would have recovered it with her fingers; but I claimed the right of regaining it myself, and she had to unlace her bodice to let me do so. I got hold of the oyster with my lips, but did so in such a manner as to prevent her suspecting that I had taken any extraordinary pleasure in the act. Armelline looked on without laughing; she was evidently surprised at the little interest I had taken in what was before my eye. Emilie laughed and relaced her bodice.

The opportunity was too good to be lost, so taking Armelline on my knee I gave her an oyster and let it slip as Emilie's had slipped, much to the delight of the elder, who wanted to see how her young companion would go through the ordeal.

Armelline was really as much delighted herself, though she tried to conceal her pleasure.

"I want my oyster," said I.

"Take it, then."

There was no need to tell me twice. I unlaced her corset in such a way as to make it fall still lower, bewailing the necessity of having to search for it with my hands.

What a martyrdom for an amorous man to have to conceal his bliss at such a moment!

I did not let Armelline have any occasion to accuse me of taking too much licence, for I only touched her alabaster spheres so much as was absolutely necessary.

When I had got the oyster again I could restrain myself no more, and affixing my lips to one of the blossoms of her breast I sucked it with a voluptuous pleasure which is beyond all description.

She was astonished, but evidently moved, and I did not leave her till my enjoyment was complete.

When she marked my dreamy langourous gaze, she asked me it it had given me much pleasure to play the part of an infant.

"Yes, dearest," I replied, "but it's only an innocent jest."

"I don't think so; and I hope you will say nothing about it to the superioress. It may be innocent for you, but it is not for me, as I experienced sensations which must partake of the nature of sin. We will pick up no more oysters."

"These are mere trifles," said Emilie, "the stain of which will easily be wiped out with a little holy water. At all events we can swear that there has been no kissing between us."

They went into the next room for a moment, I did the same, and we then sat on the sofa before the fire. As I sat between them I observed that our legs were perfectly alike, and that I could not imagine why women stuck so obstinately to their petticoats.

While I talked I touched their legs, saying it was just as if I were to touch my own.

They did not interrupt this examination which I carried up to the knee, and I told Emilie that all the reward I would ask for my services was that I might see her thighs, to compare them with Armelline's.

"She will be bigger than I," said Armelline, "though I am the taller."

"Well, there would be no harm in letting me see."

"I think there would."

"Well, I will feel with my hands."

"No, you would look at the same time."

"I swear I will not."

"Let me bandage your eyes."

"Certainly; but I will: bandage yours too."

"Yes; we will play, at blindman's buff."

Before the bandaging began I took care to make them swallow a good dose of punch, and, then we proceeded to play. The two girls let me span their thighs several times, laughing and falling over me whenever my hands went too high.

I lifted the bandage and saw everything, but they pretended not to suspect anything.

They treated me in the same way, no doubt to see what it was that they felt when they fell upon me.

This delightful game went on; till exhausted, nature would not allow me to play it any more. I put myself in a state of decency, and then told them to take off their bandages.

They did so and sat beside me, thinking, perhaps, that they would be able to, disavow everything on the score of the bandage.

It seemed to me that Emilie had had a lover, though I took good care not to tell her so; but Armelline was a pure virgin. She was meeker than her friend, and her great eyes shone as voluptuously but more modestly.

I would have snatched a kiss from her pretty mouth, but she turned away her head, though she squeezed my hands tenderly. I was astonished at this refusal after the liberties I had taken with her.

We had talked about balls, and they were both extremely anxious to see one.

The public ball was the rage with all the young Romans. For ten long years the Pope Rezzonico had deprived them of this pleasure. Although Rezzonico forbade dancing, he allowed gaming of every description. Ganganelli, his successor, had other views, and forbade gaming but allowed dancing.

So much for papal infallibility; what one condemns the other approves. Ganganelli thought it better to let his subjects skip than to give them the opportunity of ruining themselves, of committing suicide, or of becoming brigands; but Rezzonico did not see the matter in that light. I promised the girls I would take them to the ball as soon as I could discover one where I was not likely to be recognized.

Three o'clock struck, and I took them back to the convent, well enough pleased with the progress I had made, though I had only increased my passion. I was surer than ever that Armelline was born to exercise an irresistible sway over every man who owed fealty to beauty.

I was amongst her liegemen, and am so still, but the incense is all gone and the censer of no value.

I could not help reflecting on the sort of glamour which made me fall in love with one who seemed all new to me, while I loved her in exactly the same manner as I had loved her predecessor. But in reality there was no real novelty; the piece was the same, though the title might be altered. But when I had won what I coveted, did I realize that I was going over old ground? Did I complain? Did I think myself deceived?

Not one whit; and doubtless for this reason, that whilst I enjoyed the piece I kept my eyes fixed on the title which had so taken my fancy. If this be so, of what use is title at all? The title of a book, the name of a dish, the name of a town—of what consequence are all these when what one wants is to read the book, to eat the dish, and to see the town.

The comparison is a sophism. Man becomes amorous through the senses, which, touch excepted, all reside in the head. In love a beautiful face is a matter of the greatest moment.

A beautiful female body might well excite a man to carnal indulgence, even though the head were covered, but never to real love. If at the moment of physical delight the covering were taken away, and a face of hideous, revolting ugliness disclosed, one would fly in horror, in spite of the beauties of the woman's body.

But the contrary does not hold good. If a man has fallen in love with a sweet, enchanting face, and succeeds in lifting the veil of the sanctuary only to find deformities there, still the face wins the day, atones for all, and the sacrifice is consummated.

The face is thus paramount, and hence it has come to be agreed that women's bodies shall be covered and their faces disclosed; while men's clothes are arranged in such a way that women can easily guess at what they cannot see.

This arrangement is undoubtedly to the advantage of women; art can conceal the imperfections of the face, and even make it appear beautiful, but no cosmetic can dissemble an ugly breast, stomach, or any other part of the man body.

In spite of this, I confess that the phenomerides of Sparta were in the right, like all women who, though they possess a fine figure, have a repulsive face; in spite of the beauty of the piece, the title drives spectators away. Still an interesting face is an inseparable accident of love.

Thrice happy are they who, like Armelline, have beauty both in the face and body.

When I got home I was so fortunate as to find Margarita in a deep sleep. I took care not to awake her, and went to bed with as little noise as possible. I was in want of rest, for I no longer enjoyed the vigour of youth, and I slept till twelve.

When I awoke, Margarita told me that a handsome young man had called on me at ten o'clock, and that she had amused him till eleven, not daring to awake me.

"I made him some coffee," said she, "and he was pleased to pronounce it excellent. He would not tell me his name, but he will come again tomorrow. He gave me a piece of money, but I hope you will not mind. I don't know how much it is worth."

I guessed that it was the Florentine. The piece was of two ounces. I only laughed, for not loving Margarita I was not jealous of her. I told her she had done quite right to amuse him and to accept the piece, which was worth forty-eight pauls.

She kissed me affectionately, and thanks to this incident I heard nothing about my having come home so late.

I felt curious to learn more about this generous Tuscan, so I proceeded to read Leonilda's letter.

His name, it appeared, was M——. He was a rich merchant established in London, and had been commended to her husband by a Knight of Malta.

Leonilda said he was generous, good-hearted, and polished, and assured me that I should like him.

After telling me the family news, Leonilda concluded by saying that she was in a fair way to become a mother, and that she would be perfectly happy if she gave birth to a son. She begged me to congratulate the marquis.

Whether from a natural instinct or the effects of prejudice, this news made me shudder. I answered her letter in a few days, enclosing it in a letter to the marquis, in which I told him that the grace of God was never too late, and that I had never been so much pleased by any news as at hearing he was likely to have an heir.

In the following May Leonilda gave birth to a son, whom I saw at Prague, on the occasion of the coronation of Leopold. He called himself Marquis C——, like his father, or perhaps we had better say like his mother's husband, who attained the age of eighty.

Though the young marquis did not know my name, I got introduced to him, and had the pleasure of meeting him a second time at the theatre. He was accompanied by a priest, who was called his governor, but such an office was a superfluity for him, who was wiser at twenty than most men are at sixty.

I was delighted to see that the young man was the living image of the old marquis. I shed tears of joy as I thought how this likeness must have pleased the old man and his wife, and I admired this chance which seemed to have abetted nature in her deceit.

I wrote to my dear Leonilda, placing the letter in the hands of her son. She did not get it till the Carnival of 1792, when the young marquis returned to Naples; and a short time after I received an answer inviting me to her son's marriage and begging me to spend the remainder of my days with her.

"Who knows? I may eventually do so."

I called on the Princess Santa Croce at three o'clock, and found her in bed, with the cardinal reading to her.

The first question she asked was, why I had left the opera at the end of the second act.

"Princess, I can tell you an interesting history of my six hours of adventure, but you must give me a free hand, for some of the episodes must be told strictly after nature."

"Is it anything in the style of Sister M—— M——?" asked the cardinal.

"Yes, my lord, something of the kind."

"Princess, will you be deaf?" said his eminence,

"Of course I will," she replied.

I then told my tale almost as I have written it. The slipping oysters and the game of blind man's buff made the princess burst with laughing, in spite of her deafness. She agreed with the cardinal that I had acted with great discretion, and told me that I should be sure to succeed on the next attempt.

"In three or four days," said the cardinal, "you will have the dispensation, and then Emilie can marry whom she likes."

The next morning the Florentine came to see me at nine o'clock, and I found him to answer to the marchioness's description; but I had a bone to pick with him, and I was none the better pleased when he began asking me about the young person in my box at the theatre; he wanted to know whether she were married or engaged, if she had father, mother, or any other relations.

I smiled sardonically, and begged to be excused giving him the required information, as the young lady was masked when he saw her.

He blushed, and begged my pardon.

I thanked him for doing Margarita the honour of accepting a cup of coffee from her hands, and begged him to take one with me, saying I would breakfast with him next morning. He lived with Roland, opposite St. Charles, where Madame Gabrieli, the famous singer, nicknamed la Coghetta, lived.

As soon as the Florentine was gone, I went to St. Paul's in hot haste, for I longed to see what reception I should have from the two vestals I had initiated so well.

When they appeared I noticed a great change. Emilie had become gay, while Armelline looked sad.

I told the former that she should have her dispensation in three days, and her warrant for four hundred crowns in a week.

"At the same time," I added, "you shall have your grant of two hundred crowns."

At this happy tidings she ran to tell the superioress of her good fortune.

As soon as I was alone with Armelline I took her hands and covered them with kisses, begging her to resume her wonted gaiety.

"What shall I do," said she, "without Emilie? What shall I do when you are gone? I am unhappy. I love myself no longer."

She shed tears which pierced me to the heart. I swore I would not leave Rome till I had seen her married with a dowry of a thousand crowns.

"I don't want a thousand crowns, but I hope you will see me married as you say; if you do not keep your promise it will kill me."

"I would die rather than deceive you; but you on your side must forgive my love, which, perhaps, made me go too far the other evening."

"I forgive you everything if you will remain my friend."

"I will; and now let me kiss your beautiful lips."

After this first kiss, which I took as a pledge of certain victory, she wiped away her tears; and soon after Emilie reappeared, accompanied by the superioress, who treated me with great cordiality.

"I want you to do as much for Armelline's new friend as you have done for Emilie," said she.

"I will do everything in my power," I replied; "and in return I hope you will allow me to take these young ladies to the theatre this evening."

"You will find them ready; how could I refuse you anything?"

When I was alone with the two friends I apologised for having disposed of them without their consent.

"Our consent!" said Emilie: "we should be ungrateful indeed if we refused you anything after all you have done for us."

"And you, Armelline, will you withstand my love?"

"No; so long as it keeps within due bounds. No more blind man's buff!"

"And it is such a nice game! You really grieve me."

"Well, invent another game," said Emilie.

Emilie was becoming ardent, somewhat to my annoyance, for I was afraid Armelline would get jealous. I must not be charged with foppishness on this account. I knew the human heart.

When I left them I went to the Tordinona Theatre and took a box, and then ordered a good supper at the same inn, not forgetting the oysters, though I felt sure I should not require their aid.

I then called on a musician, whom I requested to get me three tickets for a ball, where no one would be likely to know me.

I went home with the idea of dining by myself, but I found a note from the Marchioness d'Aout, reproaching me in a friendly manner for not having broken bread with her, and inviting me to dinner. I resolved to accept the invitation, and when I got to the house I found the young Florentine already there.

It was at this dinner that I found out many of his good qualities, and I saw that Donna Leonilda had not said too much in his favour.

Towards the end of the meal the marchioness asked why I had not stayed till the end of the opera.

"Because the young ladies were getting tired."

"I have found out that they do not belong to the Venetian ambassador's household.

"You are right, and I hope you will pardon my small fiction."

"It was an impromptu effort to avoid telling me who they are, but they are known."

"Then I congratulate the curious."

"The one I addressed deserves to excite general curiosity; but if I were in your place I should make her use a little powder."

"I have not the authority to do so, and if I had, I would not trouble her for the world."

I was pleased with the Florentine, who listened to all this without saying a word. I got him to talk of England and of his business. He told me that he was going to Florence to take possession of his inheritance, and to get a wife to take back with him to London. As I left, I told him that I could not have the pleasure of calling on him till the day after next, as I was prevented by important business. He told me I must come at dinnertime, and I promised to do so.

Full of love and hope, I went for my two friends, who enjoyed the whole play without any interruption.

When we alighted at the inn I told the coachman to call for me at two, and we then went up to the third floor, where we sat before the fire while the oysters were being opened. They did not interest us as they had done before.

Emilie had an important air; she was about to make a good marriage. Armelline was meek, smiling, and affectionate, and reminded me of the promise I had given her. I replied by ardent kisses which reassured her, while they warned her that I would fain increase the responsibility I had already contracted towards her. However, she seemed resigned, and I sat down to table in a happy frame of mind.

As Emilie was on the eve of her wedding, she no doubt put down my neglect of her to my respect for the sacrament of matrimony.

When supper was over I got on the sofa with Armelline, and spent three hours which might have been delicious if I had not obstinately endeavoured to obtain the utmost favour. She would not give in; all my supplications and entreaties could not move her; she was sweet, but firm. She lay between my arms, but would not grant what I wanted, though she gave me no harsh or positive refusal.

It seems a puzzle, but in reality it is quite simple.

She left my arms a virgin, sorry, perhaps, that her sense of duty had not allowed her to make me completely happy.

At last nature bade me cease, in spite of my love, and I begged her to forgive me. My instinct told me that this was the only way by which I might obtain her consent another time.

Half merry and half sad, we awoke Emilie who was in a deep sleep, and then we started. I went home and got into bed, not troubling myself about the storm of abuse with which Margarita greeted me.

The Florentine gave me a delicious dinner, overwhelmed me with protestations of friendship, and offered me his purse if I needed it.

He had seen Armelline, and had been pleased with her. I had answered him sharply when he questioned me about her, and ever since he had never mentioned her name.

I felt grateful to him, and as if I must make him some return.

I asked him to dinner, and had Margarita to dine with us. Not caring for her I should have been glad if he had fallen in love with her; there would have been no difficulty, I believe, on her part, and certainly not on mine; but nothing came of it. She admired a trinket which hung from his watch-chain, and he begged my permission to give it her. I told him to do so by all means, and that should have been enough; but the affair went no farther.

In a week all the arrangements for Emilie's marriage had been made. I gave her her grant, and the same day she was married and went away with her husband to Civita Vecchia. Menicuccio, whose name I have not mentioned for some time, was well pleased with my relations with his sister, foreseeing advantages for himself, and still better pleased with the turn his own affairs were taking, for three days after Emilie's wedding he married his mistress, and set up in a satisfactory manner. When Emilie was gone the superioress gave Armelline a new companion. She was only a few years older than my sweetheart, and very pretty; but she did not arouse a strong interest in my breast. When violently in love no other woman has ever had much power over me.

The superioress told me that her name was Scholastica, and that she was well worthy of my esteem, being, as she said, as good as Emilie. She expressed a hope that I would do my best to help Scholastica to marry a man whom she knew and who was in a good position.

This man was the son of a cousin of Scholastica's. She called him her nephew, though he was older than she. The dispensation could easily be got for money, but if it was to be had for nothing I should have to make interest with the Holy Father. I promised I would do my best in the matter.

The carnival was drawing to a close, and Scholastica had never seen an opera or a play. Armelline wanted to see a ball, and I had at last succeeded in finding one where it seemed unlikely that I should be recognized. However, it would have to be carefully managed, as serious consequences might ensue; so I asked the two friends if they would wear men's clothes, to which they agreed very heartily.

I had taken a box at the Aliberti Theatre for the day after the ball, so I told the two girls to obtain the necessary permission from the superioress.

Though Armelline's resistance and the presence of her new friend discouraged me, I procured everything requisite to transform them into two handsome lads.

As Armelline got into the carriage she gave me the bad news that Scholastica knew nothing about our relations, and that we must be careful what we did before her. I had no time to reply, for Scholastica got in, and we drove off to the inn. When we were seated in front of a good fire, I told them that if they liked I would go into the next room in spite of the cold.

So saying, I shewed them their disguises, and Armelline said it would do if I turned my back, appealing to Scholastics to confirm her.

"I will do as you like," said she, "but I am very sorry to be in the way. You are in love with each other, and here am I preventing you from giving one another marks of your affection. Why don't you treat me with confidence? I am not a child, and I am your friend."

These remarks shewed that she had plenty of common sense, and I breathed again.

"You are right, fair Scholastics," I said, "I do love Armelline, but she does not love me, and refuses to make me happy on one pretence or another."

With these words I left the room, and after shutting the door behind me proceeded to make up a fire in the second apartment.

In a quarter of an hour Armelline knocked at the door, and begged me to open it. She was in her breeches, and said they needed my assistance as their shoes were so small they could not get them on.

I was in rather a sulky humour, so she threw her arms round my neck and covered my face with kisses which soon restored me to myself.

While I was explaining the reason of my ill temper, and kissing whatever I could see, Scholastica burst out laughing.

"I was sure that I was in the way," said she; "and if you do not trust me, I warn you that I will not go with you to the opera to-morrow."

"Well, then, embrace him," said Armelline.

"With all my heart."

I did not much care for Armelline's generosity, but I embraced Scholastica as warmly as she deserved. Indeed I would have done so if she had been less pretty, for such kindly consideration deserved a reward. I even kissed her more ardently than I need have done, with the idea of punishing Armelline, but I made a mistake. She was delighted, and kissed her friend affectionately as if in gratitude.

I made them sit down, and tried to pull on their shoes, but I soon found that they were much too small, and that we must get some more.

I called the waiter who attended to us, and told him to go and fetch a bootmaker with an assortment of shoes.

In the meanwhile I would not be contented with merely kissing Armelline. She neither dared to grant nor to refuse; and as if to relieve herself of any responsibility, made Scholastica submit to all the caresses I lavished on her. The latter seconded my efforts with an ardour that would have pleased me exceedingly if I had been in love with her.

She was exceedingly beautiful, and her features were as perfectly chiselled as Armelline's, but Armelline was possessed of a delicate and subtle charm of feature peculiar to herself.

I liked the amusement well enough, but there was a drop of bitterness in all my enjoyment. I thought it was plain that Armelline did not love me, and that Scholastica only encouraged me to encourage her friend.

At last I came to the conclusion that I should do well to attach myself to the one who seemed likely to give me the completest satisfaction.

As soon as I conceived this idea I felt curious to see whether Armelline would discover any jealousy if I shewed myself really in love with Scholastica, and if the latter pronounced me to be too daring, for hitherto my hands had not crossed the Rubicon of their waistbands. I was just going to work when the shoemaker arrived, and in a few minutes the girls were well fitted.

They put on their coats, and I saw two handsome young men before me, while their figures hinted their sex sufficiently to make a third person jealous of my good fortune.

I gave orders for supper to be ready at midnight, and we went to the ball. I would have wagered a hundred to one that no one would recognize me there, as the man who got the tickets had assured me that it was a gathering of small tradesmen. But who can trust to fate or chance?

We went into the hall, and the first person I saw was the Marchioness d'Aout, with her husband and her inseparable abbe.

No doubt I turned a thousand colours, but it was no good going back, for the marchioness had recognized me, so I composed myself and went up to her. We exchanged the usual compliments of polite society, to which she added some good-natured though ironical remarks on my two young friends. Not being accustomed to company, they remained confused and speechless. But the worst of all was to come. A tall young lady who had just finished a minuet came up to Armelline, dropped a curtsy, and asked her to dance.

In this young lady I recognized the Florentine who had disguised himself as a girl, and looked a very beautiful one.

Armelline thought she would not appear a dupe, and said she recognized him.

"You are making a mistake," said he, calmly. "I have a brother who is very like me, just as you have a sister who is your living portrait. My brother had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with her at the Capronica." The Florentine's cleverness made the marchioness laugh, and I had to join in her mirth, though I felt little inclination to do so.

Armelline begged to be excused dancing, so the marchioness made her sit between the handsome Florentine and herself. The marquis took possession of Scholastica, and I had to be attentive to the marchioness without seeming to be aware of the existence of Armelline, to whom the Florentine was talking earnestly.

I felt as jealous as a tiger; and having to conceal my rage under an air of perfect satisfaction, the reader may imagine how well I enjoyed the ball.

However, there was more anxiety in store for me; for presently I noticed Scholastica leave the marquis, and go apart with a middle-aged man, with whom she conversed in an intimate manner.

The minuets over, the square dances began, and I thought I was dreaming when I saw Armelline and the Florentine taking their places.

I came up to congratulate them, and asked Armelline, gently, if she was sure of the steps.

"This gentleman says I have only to imitate him, and that I cannot possibly make any mistakes."

I had nothing to say to this, so I went towards Scholastica, feeling very curious to know who was her companion.

As soon as she saw me she introduced me to him, saying timidly that this was the nephew of whom she had spoken, the same that wished to marry her.

I was surprised, but I did not let it appear. I told him that the superioress had spoken of him to me, and that I was thinking over the ways and means of obtaining a dispensation without any costs.

He was an honest-looking man, and thanked me heartily, commending himself to my good offices, as he said he was far from rich.

I left them together, and on turning to view the dance I was astonished to see that Armelline was dancing admirably, and executing all the figures. The Florentine seemed a finished dancer, and they both looked very happy.

I was far from pleased, but I congratulated them both on their performance. The Florentine had disguised himself so admirably that no one would have taken him for a man. It was the Marchioness d'Aout who had been his dresser.

As I was too jealous to leave Armelline to her own devices, I refused to dance, preferring to watch her.

I was not at all uneasy about Scholastica, who was with her betrothed. About half-past eleven the Marchioness d'Aout, who was delighted with Armelline, and possibly had her protege's happiness in view, asked me, in a tone that amounted to a command, to sup with her in company with my two companions.

"I cannot have the honour," I replied, "and my two companions know the reason."

"That is as much as to say," said the marchioness, "that he will do as you please," turning to Armelline as she spoke.

I addressed myself to Armelline, and observed smilingly that she knew perfectly well that she must be home by half-past twelve at latest.

"True," she replied, "but you can do as you please."

I replied somewhat sadly that I did not feel myself at liberty to break my word, but that she could make me do even that if she chose.

Thereupon the marchioness, her husband, the abbe, and the Florentine, urged her to use her power to make me break my supposed word, and Armelline actually began to presume to do so.

I was bursting with rage; but making up my mind to do anything rather than appear jealous, I said simply that I would gladly consent if her friend would consent also.

"Very well," said she, with a pleased air that cut me to the quick, "go and ask her."

That was enough for me. I went to Scholastica and told her the circumstances in the presence of her lover, begging her to refuse without compromising me.

Her lover said I was perfectly right, but Scholastica required no persuasion, telling me that she had quite made up her mind not to sup with anyone.

She came with me, and I told her to speak to Armelline apart before saying anything to the others.

I led Scholastica before the marchioness, bewailing my want of success.

Scholastica told Armelline that she wanted to say a few words to her aside, and after a short conversation they came back looking sorry, and Armelline told the marchioness that she found it would be impossible for them to come. The lady did not press us any longer, so we went away.

I told Scholastica's intended to keep what had passed to himself, and asked him to dine with me on the day after Ash Wednesday.

The night was dark, and we walked to the place where I had ordered the carriage to be in waiting.

To me it was as if I had come out of hell, and on the way to the inn I did not speak a word, not even answering the questions which the too-simple Armelline addressed to me in a voice that would have softened a heart of stone. Scholastica avenged me by reproaching her for having obliged me to appear either rude or jealous, or a breaker of my word.

When we got to the inn Armelline changed my jealous rage into pity; her eyes swam with tears, which Scholastica's home truths had drawn forth.

The supper was ready, so they had no time to change their dress. I was sad enough, but I could not bear to see Armelline sad also. I resolved to do my best to drive away her melancholy, even though I suspected that it arose from love of the Florentine.

The supper was excellent, and Scholastica did honour to it, while Armelline, contrary to her wont, scarcely touched a thing. Scholastica was charming. She embraced her friend, and told her to be merry with her, as I had become the friend of her betrothed, and she was sure I would do as much for her as I had done for Emilie. She blessed the ball and the chance which had brought him there. In short, she did her best to shew Armelline that with my love she had no reason to be sad.

Armelline dared not disclose the true cause of her sadness. The fact was, that she wanted to get married, and the handsome Florentine was the man to her liking.

Our supper came to an end, and still Armelline was gloomy. She only drank one glass of punch, and as she had eaten so little I would not try and make her drink more for fear lest it should do her harm. Scholastica, on the other hand, took such a fancy to this agreeable fluid, which she tasted for the first time, that she drank deeply, and was amazed to find it mounting to her head instead of descending to her stomach. In this pleasant state, she felt it was her duty to reconcile Armelline and myself, and to assure us that we might be as tender as we liked without minding her presence.

Getting up from table and standing with some difficulty, she carried her friend to the sofa, and caressed her in such a way that Armelline could not help laughing, despite her sadness. Then she called me and placed her in my arms. I caressed her, and Armelline, though she did not repulse me, did not respond as Scholastica had hoped. I was not disappointed; I did not think it likely she would grant now what she had refused to grant when I had held her in my arms for those hours whilst Emilie was fast asleep.

However, Scholastica began to reproach me with my coldness, though I deserved no blame at all on this score.

I told them to take off their men's clothes, and to dress themselves as women.

I helped Scholastica to take off her coat and waistcoat, and then aided Armelline in a similar manner.

When I brought them their chemises, Armelline told me to go and stand by the fire, and I did so.

Before long a noise of kissing made me turn round, and I saw Scholastica, on whom the punch had taken effect, devouring Armelline's breast with kisses. At last this treatment had the desired result; Armelline became gay, and gave as good as she got.

At this sight the blood boiled in my veins, and running to them I found Scholastic was not ill pleased that I should do justice to her beautiful spheres, while for the nonce I transformed her into a nurse.

Armelline was ashamed to appear less generous than her friend, and Scholastica was triumphant when she saw the peculiar use to which (for the first time) I put Armelline's hands.

Armelline called to her friend to help, and she was not backward; but in spite of her twenty years her astonishment at the catastrophe was great.

After it was over I put on their chemises and took off their breeches with all the decency imaginable, and after spending a few minutes in the next room they came and sat down on my knee of their own accord.

Scholastica, instead of being annoyed at my giving the preference to the hidden charms of Armelline, seemed delighted, watching what I did, and how Armelline took it, with the closest attention. She no doubt longed to see me perform the magnum opus, but the gentle Armelline would not allow me to go so far.

After I had finished with Armelline I recollected I had duties towards Scholastica, and I proceeded to inspect her charms.

It was difficult to decide which of the two deserved to carry off the apple. Scholastica, perhaps, was strictly speaking the more beautiful of the two, but I loved Armelline, and love casts a glamour over the beloved object. Scholastica appeared to me to be as pure a virgin as Armelline, and I saw that I might do what I liked with her. But I would not abuse my liberty, not caring to confess how powerful an ally the punch had been.

However, I did all in my power to give her pleasure without giving her the greatest pleasure of all. Scholastica, was glutted with voluptuous enjoyment, and was certain that I had only eluded her desires from motives of delicacy.

I took them back to the convent, assuring them that I would take them to the opera on the following evening.

I went to bed, doubtful whether I had gained a victory or sustained a defeat; and it was not till I awoke that I was in a position to give a decided opinion.

[There is here a considerable hiatus in the author's manuscript.]





EPISODE 29 — FLORENCE TO TRIESTE





CHAPTER XVIII

     Madame Denis—Dedini—Zanovitch—Zen—I Am Obliged to Leave—
     I Arrive at Bologna—General Albergati

Without speaking at any length I asked the young grand duke to give me an asylum in his dominions for as long as I might care to stay. I anticipated any questions he might have asked by telling him the reasons which had made me an exile from my native land.

"As to my necessities," I added, "I shall ask for help of no one; I have sufficient funds to ensure my independence. I think of devoting the whole of my time to study."

"So long as your conduct is good," he replied, "the laws guarantee your freedom; but I am glad you have applied to me. Whom do you know in Florence?"

"Ten years ago, my lord, I had some distinguished acquaintances here; but now I propose to live in retirement, and do not intend renewing any old friendships."

Such was my conversation with the young sovereign, and after his assurances I concluded that no one would molest me.

My adventures in Tuscany the years before were in all probability forgotten, or almost forgotten, as the new Government had nothing in common with the old.

After my interview with the grand duke I went to a bookseller's shop and ordered some books. A gentleman in the shop, hearing me making enquiries about Greek works, accosted me, and we got on well together. I told him I was working at a translation of the "Iliad," and in return he informed me that he was making a collection of Greek epigrams, which he wished to publish in Greek and Italian. I told him I should like to see this work, whereupon he asked me where I lived. I told him, learnt his name and address, and called on him the next day. He returned the visit, and we became fast friends, though we never either walked or ate together.

This worthy Florentine was named (or is named, if he be still alive) Everard de Medici.

I was very comfortable with Allegranti; I had the quiet so necessary to literary labours, but nevertheless I made up my mind to change my lodging. Magdalena, my landlord's niece, was so clever and charming, though but a child, that she continually disturbed my studies. She came into my room, wished me good day, asked me what kind of a night I had spent, if I wanted anything, and the sight of her grace and beauty and the sound of her voice so ravished me, that I determined to seek safety in flight.

A few years later Magdalena became a famous musician.

After leaving Allegranti I took rooms in a tradesman's house; his wife was ugly, and he had no pretty daughters or seductive nieces. There I lived for three weeks like Lafontaine's rat, very discreetly.

About the same time, Count Stratico arrived at Florence with his pupil, the Chevalier Morosini, who was then eighteen. I could not avoid calling on Stratico. He had broken his leg some time before and was still unable to go out with his pupil, who had all the vices and none of the virtues of youth. Consequently, Stratico was always afraid of something happening to him, and he begged me to make myself his companion, and even to share his pleasures, so that he might not go into bad company and dangerous houses alone and undefended.

Thus my days of calm study vanished away. I had to partake in the debauchery of a young rake, and all out of pure sensibility.

The Chevalier Morosini was a thorough-paced profligate. He hated literature, good society, and the company of sensible people. His daily pleasures were furious riding, hard drinking, and hard dissipation with prostitutes, whom he sometimes almost killed.

This young nobleman paid a man for the sole service of getting him a woman or a girl every day.

During the two months which he passed in Florence I saved his life a score of times. I got very tired of my duty, but I felt bound to persevere.

He was liberal to the verge of recklessness, and would never allow me to pay for anything. Even here, however, disputes often arose between us; as he paid, he wanted me to eat, drink, and dissipate in the same measures as himself. However, I had my own way on most occasions, only giving in when it suited me to do so.

We went to see the opera at Lucca, and drought two of the dancers home to supper. As the chevalier was drunk as usual, he treated the woman he had chosen—a superb creature—very indifferently. The other was pretty enough, but I had done nothing serious with her, so I proceeded to avenge the beauty. She took me for the chevalier's father, and advised me to give him a better education.

After the chevalier was gone I betook myself to my studies again, but I supped every night with Madame Denis, who had formerly been a dancer in the King of Prussia's service, and had retired to Florence.

She was about my age, and therefore not young, but still she had sufficient remains of her beauty to inspire a tender passion; she did not look more than thirty. She was as fresh as a young girl, had excellent manners, and was extremely intelligent. Besides all these advantages, she had a comfortable apartment on the first floor of one of the largest cafes in Florence. In front of her room was a balcony where it was delicious to sit and enjoy the cool of the evening.

The reader may remember how I had become her friend at Berlin in 1764, and when we met again at Florence our old flames were rekindled.

The chief boarder in the house where she lived was Madame Brigonzi, whom I had met at Memel. This lady, who pretended that she had been my mistress twenty-five years before, often came into Madame Denis's rooms with an old lover of hers named Marquis Capponi.

He was an agreeable and well-educated man; and noticing that he seemed to enjoy my conversation I called on him, and he called on me, leaving his card as I was not at home.

I returned the visit, and he introduced me to his family and invited me to dinner. For the first time since I had come to Florence I dressed myself with elegance and wore my jewels.

At the Marquis Capponi's I made the acquaintance of Corilla's lover, the Marquis Gennori, who took me to a house where I met my fate. I fell in love with Madame a young widow, who had been spending a few months in Paris. This visit had added to her other attractions the charm of a good manner, which always counts for so much.

This unhappy love made the three months longer which I spent in Florence painful to me.

It was at the beginning of October, and about that time Count Medini arrived at Florence without a penny in his pocket, and without being able to pay his vetturino, who had arrested him.

The wretched man, who seemed to follow me wherever I went, had taken up his abode in the house of a poor Irishman.

I do not know how Medini found out that I was at Florence, but he wrote me a letter begging me to come and deliver him from the police, who besieged his room and talked of taking him to prison. He said he only wanted me to go bail for him, and protested that I should not run any risk, as he was sure of being able to pay in a few days.

My readers will be aware that I had good reason for not liking Medini, but in spite of our quarrel I could not despise his entreaty. I even felt inclined to become his surety, if he could prove his capability of paying the sum for which he had been arrested. I imagined that the sum must be a small one, and could not understand why the landlord did not answer for him. My surprise ceased, however, when I entered his room.

As soon as I appeared he ran to embrace me, begging me to forget the past, and to extract him from the painful position in which he found himself.

I cast a rapid glance over the room, and saw three trunks almost empty, their contents being scattered about the floor. There was his mistress, whom I knew, and who had her reasons for not liking me; her young sister, who wept; and her mother, who swore, and called Medini a rogue, saying that she would complain of him to the magistrate, and that she was not going to allow her dresses and her daughter's dresses to be seized for his debts.

I asked the landlord why he did not go bail, as he had these persons and their effects as security.

"The whole lot," he answered, "won't pay the vetturino, and the sooner they are out of my house the better I shall be pleased."

I was astonished, and could not understand how the bill could amount to more than the value of all the clothes I saw on the floor, so I asked the vetturino to tell me the extent of the debt.

He gave me a paper with Medini's signature; the amount was two hundred and forty crowns.

"How in the world," I exclaimed, "could he contract this enormous debt?"

I wondered no longer when the vetturino told me that he had served them for the last six weeks, having conducted the count and the three women from Rome to Leghorn, and from Leghorn to Pisa, and from Pisa to Florence, paying for their board all the way.

"The vetturino will never take me as bail for such an amount," I said to Medini, "and even if he would I should never be so foolish as to contract such a debt."

"Let me have a word with you in the next room," said he; "I will put the matter clearly before you."

"Certainly."

Two of the police would have prevented his going into the next room, on the plea that he might escape through the window, but I said I would be answerable for him.

Just then the poor vetturino came in and kissed my hand, saying that if I would go bail for the count he would let me have three months wherein to find the money.

As it happened it was the same man who had taken me to Rome with the Englishwoman who had been seduced by the actor l'Etoile. I told him to wait a moment.

Medini who was a great talker and a dreadful liar thought to persuade me by shewing me a number of open letters, commending him in pompous terms to the best houses in Florence. I read the letters, but I found no mention of money in them, and I told him as much.

"I know," said he, "but there is play going on in these houses, and I am sure of gaining immense sums."

"You may be aware that I have no confidence in your good luck."

"Then I have another resource."

"What is that?"

He shewed me a bundle of manuscript, which I found to be an excellent translation of Voltaire's "Henriade" into Italian verse. Tasso himself could not have done it better. He said he hoped to finish the poem at Florence, and to present it to the grand duke, who would be sure to make him a magnificent present, and to constitute him his favourite.

I would not undeceive him, but I laughed to myself, knowing that the grand duke only made a pretence of loving literature. A certain Abbe Fontaine, a clever man, amused him with a little natural history, the only science in which he took any interest. He preferred the worst prose to the best verse, not having sufficient intellect to enjoy the subtle charms of poetry. In reality he had only two passions—women and money.

After spending two wearisome hours with Medini, whose wit was great and his judgment small, after heartily repenting of having yielded to my curiosity and having paid him a visit, I said shortly that I could do nothing for him. Despair drives men crazy; as I was making for the door, he seized me by the collar.

He did not reflect in his dire extremity that he had no arms, that I was stronger than he, that I had twice drawn his blood, and that the police, the landlord, the vetturirco, and the servants, were in the next room. I was not coward enough to call for help; I caught hold of his neck with both hands and squeezed him till he was nearly choked. He had to let go at last, and then I took hold of his collar and asked him if he had gone mad.

I sent him against the wall, and opened the door and the police came in.

I told the vetturino that I would on no account be Medini's surety, or be answerable for him in any way.

Just as I was going out, he leapt forward crying that I must not abandon him.

I had opened the door, and the police, fearing he would escape, ran forward to get hold of him. Then began an interesting battle. Medini, who had no arms, and was only in his dressing-gown, proceeded to distribute kicks, cuffs, and blows amongst the four cowards, who had their swords at their sides, whilst I held the door to prevent the Irishman going out and calling for assistance.

Medini, whose nose was bleeding and his dress all torn, persisted in fighting till the four policemen let him alone. I liked his courage, and pitied him.

There was a moment's silence, and I asked his two liveried servants who were standing by me why they had not helped their master. One said he owed him six months' wages, and the other said he wanted to arrest him on his own account.

As Medini was endeavouring to staunch the blood in a basin of water, the vetturino told him that as I refused to be his surety he must go to prison.

I was moved by the scene that I had witnessed, and said to the vetturino,

"Give him a fortnight's respite, and if he escapes before the expiration of that term I will pay you."

He thought it over for a few moments, and then said,—

"Very good, sir, but I am not going to pay any legal expenses."

I enquired how much the costs amounted to, and paid them, laughing at the policemen's claim of damages for blows they had received.

Then the two rascally servants said that if I would not be surety in the same manner on their account, they would have Medini arrested. However, Medini called out to me to pay no attention to them whatever.

When I had given the vetturino his acknowledgment and paid the four or five crowns charged by the police, Medini told me that he had more to say to me; but I turned my back on him, and went home to dinner.

Two hours later one of his servants came to me and promised if I would give him six sequins to warn me if his master made any preparations for flight.

I told him drily that his zeal was useless to me, as I was quite sure that the count would pay all his debts within the term; and the next morning I wrote to Medini informing him of the step his servant had taken. He replied with a long letter full of thanks, in which he exerted all his eloquence to persuade me to repair his fortunes. I did not answer.

However, his good genius, who still protected him, brought a person to Florence who drew him out of the difficulty. This person was Premislas Zanovitch, who afterwards became as famous as his brother who cheated the Amsterdam merchants, and adopted the style of Prince Scanderbeck. I shall speak of him later on. Both these finished cheats came to a bad end.

Premislas Zanovitch was then at the happy age of twenty-five; he was the son of a gentleman of Budua, a town on the borders of Albania and Dalmatia, formerly subject to the Venetian Republic and now to the Grand Turk. In classic times it was known as Epirus.

Premislas was a young man of great intelligence, and after having studied at Venice, and contracted a Venetian taste for pleasures and enjoyments of all sorts, he could not make up his mind to return to Budua, where his only associates would be dull Sclavs—uneducated, unintellectual, coarse, and brutish. Consequently, when Premislas and his still more talented brother Stephen were ordered by the Council of Ten to enjoy the vast sums they had gained at play in their own country, they resolved to become adventurers. One took the north and the other the south of Europe, and both cheated and duped whenever the opportunity for doing so presented itself.

I had seen Premislas when he was a child, and had already heard reports of a notable achievement of his. At Naples he had cheated the Chevalier de Morosini by persuading him to become his surety to the extent of six thousand ducats, and now he arrived in Florence in a handsome carriage, bringing his mistress with him, and having two tall lackeys and a valet in his service.

He took good apartments, hired a carriage, rented a box at the opera, had a skilled cook, and gave his mistress a lady-in-waiting. He then shewed himself at the best club, richly dressed, and covered with jewellery. He introduced himself under the name of Count Premislas Zanovitch.

There is a club in Florence devoted to the use of the nobility. Any stranger can go there without being introduced, but so much the worse for him if his appearance fails to indicate his right to be present. The Florentines are ice towards him, leave him alone, and behave in such a manner that the visit is seldom repeated. The club is at once decent and licentious, the papers are to be read there, games of all kinds are played, food and drink may be had, and even love is available, for ladies frequent the club.

Zanovitch did not wait to be spoken to, but made himself agreeable to everyone, and congratulated himself on mixing in such distinguished company, talked about Naples which he had just left, brought in his own name with great adroitness, played high, lost merrily, paid after pretending to forget all about his debts, and in short pleased everyone. I heard all this the next day from the Marquis Capponi, who said that someone had asked him if he knew me, whereat he answered that when I left Venice he was at college, but that he had often heard his father speak of me in very high terms. He knew both the Chevalier Morosini and Count Medini, and had a good deal to say in praise of the latter. The marquis asked me if I knew him, and I replied in the affirmative, without feeling it my duty to disclose certain circumstances which might not have been advantageous to him; and as Madame Denis seemed curious to make his acquaintance the Chevalier Puzzi promised to bring him to see her, which he did in the course of a few days.

I happened to be with Madame Denis when Puzzi presented Zanovitch, and I saw before me a fine-looking young men, who seemed by his confident manner to be sure of success in all his undertakings. He was not exactly handsome, but he had a perfect manner and an air of gaiety which seemed infectious, with a thorough knowledge of the laws of good society. He was by no means an egotist, and seemed never at a loss for something to talk about. I led the conversation to the subject of his country, and he gave me an amusing description of it, talking of his fief-part of which was within the domains of the sultan-as a place where gaiety was unknown, and where the most determined misanthrope would die of melancholy.

As soon as he heard my name he began speaking to me in a tone of the most delicate flattery. I saw the makings of a great adventurer in him, but I thought his luxury would prove the weak point in his cuirass. I thought him something like what I had been fifteen years ago, but as it seemed unlikely that he had my resources I could not help pitying him.

Zanovitch paid me a visit, and told me that Medini's position had excited his pity, and that he had therefore paid his debts.

I applauded his generosity, but I formed the conclusion that they had laid some plot between them, and that I should soon hear of the results of this new alliance.

I returned Zanovitch's call the next day. He was at table with his mistress, whom I should not have recognized if she had not pronounced my name directly she saw me.

As she had addressed me as Don Giacomo, I called her Donna Ippolita, but in a voice which indicated that I was not certain of her identity. She told me I was quite right.

I had supped with her at Naples in company with Lord Baltimore, and she was very pretty then.

Zanovitch asked me to dine with him the following day, and I should have thanked him and begged to be excused if Donna Ippolita had not pressed me to come. She assured me that I should find good company there, and that the cook would excel himself.

I felt rather curious to see the company, and with the idea of shewing Zanovitch that I was not likely to become a charge on his purse, I dressed myself magnificently once more.

As I had expected, I found Medini and his mistress there, with two foreign ladies and their attendant cavaliers, and a fine-looking and well-dressed Venetian, between thirty-five and forty, whom I would not have recognized if Zanovitch had not told me his name, Alois Zen.

"Zen was a patrician name, and I felt obliged to ask what titles I ought to give him.

"Such titles as one old friend gives another, though it is very possible you do not recollect me, as I was only ten years old when we saw each other last."

Zen then told me he was the son of the captain I had known when I was under arrest at St. Andrews.

"That's twenty-eight years ago; but I remember you, though you had not had the small-pox in those days."

I saw that he was annoyed by this remark, but it was his fault, as he had no business to say where he had known me, or who his father was.

He was the son of a noble Venetian—a good-for-nothing in every sense of the word.

When I met him at Florence he had just come from Madrid, where he had made a lot of money by holding a bank at faro in the house of the Venetian ambassador, Marco Zen.

I was glad to meet him, but I found out before the dinner was over that he was completely devoid of education and the manners of a gentleman; but he was well content with the one talent he possessed, namely, that of correcting the freaks of fortune at games of chance. I did not wait to see the onslaught of the cheats on the dupes, but took my leave while the table was being made ready.

Such was my life during the seven months which I spent at Florence.

After this dinner I never saw Zen, or Medini, or Zanovitch, except by chance in the public places.

Here I must recount some incidents which took place towards the middle of December.

Lord Lincoln, a young man of eighteen, fell in love with a Venetian dancer named Lamberti, who was a universal favourite. On every night when the opera was given the young Englishman might be seen going to her camerino, and everyone wondered why he did not visit her at her own house, where he would be certain of a good welcome, for he was English, and therefore rich, young, and handsome. I believe he was the only son of the Duke of Newcastle.

Zanovitch marked him down, and in a short time had become an intimate friend of the fair Lamberti. He then made up to Lord Lincoln, and took him to the lady's house, as a polite man takes a friend to see his mistress.

Madame Lamberti, who was in collusion with the rascal, was not niggardly of her favours with the young Englishman. She received him every night to supper with Zanovitch and Zen, who had been presented by the Sclav, either because of his capital, or because Zanovitch was not so accomplished a cheat.

For the first few nights they took care to let the young nobleman win. As they played after supper, and Lord Lincoln followed the noble English custom of drinking till he did not know his right hand from his left, he was quite astonished on waking the next morning to find that luck had been as kind to him as love. The trap was baited, the young lord nibbled, and, as may be expected, was finally caught.

Zen won twelve thousand pounds of him, and Zanovitch lent him the money by installments of three and four hundred louis at a time, as the Englishman had promised his tutor not to play, on his word of honour.

Zanovitch won from Zen what Zen won from the lord, and so the game was kept up till the young pigeon had lost the enormous sum of twelve thousand guineas.

Lord Lincoln promised to pay three thousand guineas the next day, and signed three bills of exchange for three thousand guineas each, payable in six months, and drawn on his London banker.

I heard all about this from Lord Lincoln himself when we met at Bologna three months later.

The next morning the little gaming party was the talk of Florence. Sasso Sassi, the banker, had already paid Zanovitch six thousand sequins by my lord's orders.

Medini came to see me, furious at not having been asked to join the party, while I congratulated myself on my absence. My surprise may be imagined, when, a few days after, a person came up to my room, and ordered me to leave Florence in three days and Tuscany in a week.

I was petrified, and called to my landlord to witness the unrighteous order I had received.

It was December 28th. On the same date, three years before, I had received orders to leave Barcelona in three days.

I dressed hastily and went to the magistrate to enquire the reason for my exile, and on entering the room I found it was the same man who had ordered me to leave Florence eleven years before.

I asked him to give me his reasons, and he replied coldly that such was the will of his highness.

"But as his highness must have his reasons, it seems to me that I am within my rights in enquiring what they are."

"If you think so you had better betake yourself to the prince; I know nothing about it. He left yesterday for Pisa, where he will stay three days; you can go there."

"Will he pay for my journey?"

"I should doubt it, but you can see for yourself."

"I shall not go to Pisa, but I will write to his highness if you will promise to send on the letter."

"I will do so immediately, for it is my duty."

"Very good; you shall have the letter before noon tomorrow, and before day-break I shall be in the States of the Church."

"There's no need for you to hurry yourself."

"There is a very great hurry. I cannot breathe the air of a country where liberty is unknown and the sovereign breaks his word; that is what I am going to write to your master."

As I was going out I met Medini, who had come on the same business as myself.

I laughed, and informed him of the results of my interview, and how I had been told to go to Pisa.

"What! have you been expelled, too?"

"Yes."

"What have you done?"

"Nothing."

"Nor I. Let us go to Pisa."

"You can go if you like, but I shall leave Florence tonight."

When I got home I told my landlord to get me a carriage and to order four post-horses for nightfall, and I then wrote the following letter to the grand duke:

"My Lord; The thunder which Jove has placed in your hands is only for the guilty; in launching it at me you have done wrong. Seven months ago you promised that I should remain unmolested so long as I obeyed the laws. I have done so scrupulously, and your lordship has therefore broken your word. I am merely writing to you to let you know that I forgive you, and that I shall never give utterance to a word of complaint. Indeed I would willingly forget the injury you have done me, if it were not necessary that I should remember never to set foot in your realms again. The magistrate tells me that I can go and see you at Pisa, but I fear such a step would seem a hardy one to a prince, who should hear what a man has to say before he condemns him, and not afterwards.

"I am, etc."

When I had finished the letter I sent it to the magistrate, and then I began my packing.

I was sitting down to dinner when Medini came in cursing Zen and Zanovitch, whom he accused of being the authors of his misfortune, and of refusing to give him a hundred sequins, without which he could not possibly go.

"We are all going to Pisa," said he, "and cannot imagine why you do not come, too."

"Very good," I said, laughingly, "but please to leave me now as I have to do my packing."

As I expected, he wanted me to lend him some money, but on my giving him a direct refusal he went away.

After dinner I took leave of M. Medici and Madame Dennis, the latter of whom had heard the story already. She cursed the grand duke, saying she could not imagine how he could confound the innocent with the guilty. She informed me that Madame Lamberti had received orders to quit, as also a hunchbacked Venetian priest, who used to go and see the dancer but had never supped with her. In fact, there was a clean sweep of all the Venetians in Florence.

As I was returning home I met Lord Lincoln's governor; whom I had known at Lausanne eleven years before. I told him of what had happened to me through his hopeful pupil getting himself fleeced. He laughed, and told me that the grand duke had advised Lord Lincoln not to pay the money he had lost, to which the young man replied that if he were not to pay he should be dishonoured since the money he had lost had been lent to him.

In leaving Florence I was cured of an unhappy love which would doubtless have had fatal consequences if I had stayed on. I have spared my readers the painful story because I cannot recall it to my mind even now without being cut to the heart. The widow whom I loved, and to whom I was so weak as to disclose my feelings, only attached me to her triumphal car to humiliate me, for she disdained my love and myself. I persisted in my courtship, and nothing but my enforced absence would have cured me.

As yet I have not learnt the truth of the maxim that old age, especially when devoid of fortune, is not likely to prove attractive to youth.

I left Florence poorer by a hundred sequins than when I came there. I had lived with the most careful economy throughout the whole of my stay.

I stopped at the first stage within the Pope's dominions, and by the last day but one of the year I was settled at Bologna, at "St. Mark's Hotel."

My first visit was paid to Count Marulli, the Florentine charge d'affaires. I begged him to write and tell his master, that, out of gratitude for my banishment, I should never cease to sing his praises.

As the count had received a letter containing an account of the whole affair, he could not quite believe that I meant what I said.

"You may think what you like," I observed, "but if you knew all you would see that his highness has done me a very great service though quite unintentionally."

He promised to let his master know how I spoke of him.

On January 1st, 1772, I presented myself to Cardinal Braneaforte, the Pope's legate, whom I had known twenty years before at Paris, when he had been sent by Benedict XVI. with the holy swaddling clothes for the newly-born Duke of Burgundy. We had met at the Lodge of Freemasons, for the members of the sacred college were by no means afraid of their own anathemas. We had also some very pleasant little suppers with pretty sinners in company with Don Francesco Sensate and Count Ranucci. In short, the cardinal was a man of wit, and what is called a bon vivant.

"Oh, here you are!" cried he, when he saw me; "I was expecting you."

"How could you, my lord? Why should I have come to Bologna rather than to any other place?"

"For two reasons. In the first place because Bologna is better than many other places, and besides I flatter myself you thought of me. But you needn't say anything here about the life we led together when we were young men."

"It has always been a pleasant recollection to me."

"No doubt. Count Marulli told me yesterday that you spoke very highly of the grand duke, and you are quite right. You can talk to me in confidence; the walls of this room have no ears. How much did you get of the twelve thousand guineas?"

I told him the whole story, and shewed him a copy of the letter which I had written to the grand duke. He laughed, and said he was sorry I had been punished for nothing.

When he heard I thought of staying some months at Bologna he told me that I might reckon on perfect freedom, and that as soon as the matter ceased to become common talk he would give me open proof of his friendship.

After seeing the cardinal I resolved to continue at Bologna the kind of life that I had been leading at Florence. Bologna is the freest town in all Italy; commodities are cheap and good, and all the pleasures of life may be had there at a low price. The town is a fine one, and the streets are lined with arcades—a great comfort in so hot a place.

As to society, I did not trouble myself about it. I knew the Bolognese; the nobles are proud, rude, and violent; the lowest orders, known as the birichini, are worse than the lazzaroni of Naples, while the tradesmen and the middle classes are generally speaking worthy and respectable people. At Bologna, as at Naples, the two extremes of society are corrupt, while the middle classes are respectable, and the depository of virtue, talents, and learning.

However, my intention was to leave society alone, to pass my time in study, and to make the acquaintance of a few men of letters, who are easily accessible everywhere.

At Florence ignorance is the rule and learning the exception, while at Bologna the tincture of letters is almost universal. The university has thrice the usual number of professors; but they are all ill paid, and have to get their living out of the students, who are numerous. Printing is cheaper at Bologna than anywhere else, and though the Inquisition is established there the press is almost entirely free.

All the exiles from Florence reached Bologna four or five days after myself. Madame Lamberti only passed through on her way to Venice. Zanovitch and Zen stayed five or six days; but they were no longer in partnership, having quarreled over the sharing of the booty.

Zanovitch had refused to make one of Lord Lincoln's bills of exchange payable to Zen, because he did not wish to make himself liable in case the Englishman refused to pay. He wanted to go to England, and told Zen he was at liberty to do the same.

They went to Milan without having patched up their quarrel, but the Milanese Government ordered them to leave Lombardy, and I never heard what arrangements they finally came to. Later on I was informed that the Englishman's bills had all been settled to the uttermost farthing.

Medini, penniless as usual, had taken up his abode in the hotel where I was staying, bringing with him his mistress, her sister, and her mother, but with only one servant. He informed me that the grand duke had refused to listen to any of them at Pisa, where he had received a second order to leave Tuscany, and so had been obliged to sell everything. Of course he wanted me to help him, but I turned a deaf ear to his entreaties.

I have never seen this adventurer without his being in a desperate state of impecuniosity, but he would never learn to abate his luxurious habits, and always managed to find some way or other out of his difficulties. He was lucky enough to fall in with a Franciscan monk named De Dominis at Bologna, the said monk being on his way to Rome to solicit a brief of 'laicisation' from the Pope. He fell in love with Medini's mistress, who naturally made him pay dearly for her charms.

Medini left at the end of three weeks. He went to Germany, where he printed his version of the "Henriade," having discovered a Maecenas in the person of the Elector Palatin. After that he wandered about Europe for twelve years, and died in a London prison in 1788.

I had always warned him to give England a wide berth, as I felt certain that if he once went there he would not escape English bolts and bars, and that if he got on the wrong side of the prison doors he would never come out alive. He despised my advice, and if he did so with the idea of proving me a liar, he made a mistake, for he proved me to be a prophet.

Medini had the advantage of high birth, a good education, and intelligence; but as he was a poor man with luxurious tastes he either corrected fortune at play or went into debt, and was consequently obliged to be always on the wing to avoid imprisonment.

He lived in this way for seventy years, and he might possibly be alive now if he had followed my advice.

Eight years ago Count Torio told me that he had seen Medini in a London prison, and that the silly fellow confessed he had only come to London with the hope of proving me to be a liar.

Medini's fate shall never prevent me from giving good advice to a poor wretch on the brink of the precipice. Twenty years ago I told Cagliostro (who called himself Count Pellegrini in those days) not to set his foot in Rome, and if he had followed this counsel he would not have died miserably in a Roman prison.

Thirty years ago a wise man advised me to beware visiting Spain. I went, but, as the reader knows, I had no reason to congratulate myself on my visit.

A week after my arrival at Bologna, happening to be in the shop of Tartuffi, the bookseller, I made the acquaintance of a cross-eyed priest, who struck me, after a quarter of an hour's talk as a man of learning and talent. He presented me with two works which had recently been issued by two of the young professors at the university He told me that I should find them amusing reading, and he was right.

The first treatise contended that women's faults should be forgiven them, since they were really the work of the matrix, which influenced them in spite of themselves. The second treatise was a criticism of the first. The author allowed that the uterus was an animal, but he denied the alleged influence, as no anatomist had succeeded in discovering any communication between it and the brain.

I determined to write a reply to the two pamphlets, and I did so in the course of three days. When my reply was finished I sent it to M. Dandolo, instructing him to have five hundred copies printed. When they arrived I gave a bookseller the agency, and in a fortnight I had made a hundred sequins.

The first pamphlet was called "Lutero Pensante," the second was in French and bore the title "La Force Vitale," while I called my reply "Lana Caprina." I treated the matter in an easy vein, not without some hints of deep learning, and made fun of the lucubrations of the two physicians. My preface was in French, but full of Parisian idioms which rendered it unintelligible to all who had not visited the gay capital, and this circumstance gained me a good many friends amongst the younger generation.

The squinting priest, whose name was Zacchierdi, introduced me to the Abbe Severini, who became my intimate friend in the course of ten or twelve days.

This abbe made me leave the inn, and got me two pleasant rooms in the house of a retired artiste, the widow of the tenor Carlani. He also made arrangements with a pastrycook to send me my dinner and supper. All this, plus a servant, only cost me ten sequins a month.

Severini was the agreeable cause of my losing temporarily my taste for study. I put by my "Iliad," feeling sure that I should be able to finish it again.

Severini introduced me to his family, and before long I became very intimate with him. I also became the favourite of his sister, a lady rather plain than pretty, thirty years old, but full of intelligence.

In the course of Lent the abbe introduced me to all the best dancers and operatic singers in Bologna, which is the nursery of the heroines of the stage. They may be had cheaply enough on their native soil.

Every week the good abbe introduced me to a fresh one, and like a true friend he watched carefully over my finances. He was a poor man himself, and could not afford to contribute anything towards the expenses of our little parties; but as they would have cost me double without his help, the arrangement was a convenient one for both of us.

About this time there was a good deal of talk about a Bolognese nobleman, Marquis Albergati Capacelli. He had made a present of his private theatre to the public, and was himself an excellent actor. He had made himself notorious by obtaining a divorce from his wife, whom he did not like, so as to enable him to marry a dancer, by whom he had two children. The amusing point in this divorce was that he obtained it on the plea that he was impotent, and sustained his plea by submitting to an examination, which was conducted as follows:

Four skilled and impartial judges had the marquis stripped before them, and did all in their power to produce an erection; but somehow or other he succeeded in maintaining his composure, and the marriage was pronounced null and void on the ground of relative impotence, for it was well known that he had had children by another woman.

If reason and not prejudice had been consulted, the procedure would have been very different; for if relative impotence was considered a sufficient ground for divorce, of what use was the examination?

The marquis should have sworn that he could do nothing with his wife, and if the lady had traversed this statement the marquis might have challenged her to put him into the required condition.

But the destruction of old customs and old prejudices is often the work of long ages.

I felt curious to know this character, and wrote to M. Dandolo to get me a letter of introduction to the marquis.

In a week my good old friend sent me the desired letter. It was written by another Venetian, M. de Zaguri, an intimate friend of the marquis.

The letter was not sealed, so I read it. I was delighted; no one could have commended a person unknown to himself but the friend of a friend in a more delicate manner.

I thought myself bound to write a letter of thanks to M. Zaguri. I said that I desired to obtain my pardon more than ever after reading his letter, which made me long to go to Venice, and make the acquaintance of such a worthy nobleman.

I did not expect an answer, but I got one. M. Zaguri said that my desire was such a flattering one to himself, that he meant to do his best to obtain my recall.

The reader will see that he was successful, but not till after two years of continuous effort.

Albergati was away from Bologna at the time, but when he returned Severini let me know, and I called at the palace. The porter told me that his excellence (all the nobles are excellences at Bologna) had gone to his country house, where he meant to pass the whole of the spring.

In two or three days I drove out to his villa. I arrived at a charming mansion, and finding no one at the door I went upstairs, and entered a large room where a gentleman and an exceedingly pretty woman were just sitting down to dinner. The dishes had been brought in, and there were only two places laid.

I made a polite bow, and asked the gentleman if I had the honour of addressing the Marquis Albergati. He replied in the affirmative, whereupon I gave him my letter of introduction. He took it, read the superscription, and put it in his pocket, telling me I was very kind to have taken so much trouble, and that he would be sure to read it.

"It has been no trouble at all," I replied, "but I hope you will read the letter. It is written by M. de Zaguri, whom I asked to do me this service, as I have long desired to make your lordship's acquaintance."

His lordship smiled and said very pleasantly that he would read it after dinner, and would see what he could do for his friend Zaguri.

Our dialogue was over in a few seconds. Thinking him extremely rude I turned my back and went downstairs, arriving just in time to prevent the postillion taking out the horses. I promised him a double gratuity if he would take me to some village at hand, where he could bait his horses while I breakfasted.

Just as the postillion had got on horseback a servant came running up. He told me very politely that his excellence begged me to step upstairs.

I put my hand in my pocket and gave the man my card with my name and address, and telling him that that was what his master wanted, I ordered the postillion to drive off at a full gallop.

When we had gone half a league we stopped at a good inn, and then proceeded on our way back to Bologna.

The same day I wrote to M. de Zaguri, and described the welcome I had received at the hands of the marquis. I enclosed the letter in another to M. Dandolo, begging him to read it, and to send it on. I begged the noble Venetian to write to the marquis that having offended me grievously he must prepare to give me due satisfaction.

I laughed with all my heart next day when my landlady gave me a visiting card with the inscription, General the Marquis of Albeygati. She told me the marquis had called on me himself, and on hearing I was out had left his card.

I began to look upon the whole of his proceedings as pure gasconnade, only lacking the wit of the true Gascon. I determined to await M. Zaguri's reply before making up my mind as to the kind of satisfaction I should demand.

While I was inspecting the card, and wondering what right the marquis had to the title of general, Severini came in, and informed me that the marquis had been made a Knight of the Order of St. Stanislas by the King of Poland, who had also given him the style of royal chamberlain.

"Is he a general in the Polish service as well?" I asked.

"I really don't know."

"I understand it all," I said to myself. "In Poland a chamberlain has the rank of adjutant-general, and the marquis calls himself general. But general what? The adjective without a substantive is a mere cheat."

I saw my opportunity, and wrote a comic dialogue, which I had printed the next day. I made a present of the work to a bookseller, and in three or four days he sold out the whole edition at a bajocco apiece.





CHAPTER XIX

     Farinello and the Electress Dowager of Saxony—Madame
     Slopitz—Nina—The Midwife—Madame Soavi—Abbe Bolini—
     Madame Viscioletta—The Seamstress—The Sorry Pleasure of
     Revenge—Severini Goes to Naples—My Departure—Marquis
     Mosca

Anyone who attacks a proud person in a comic vein is almost sure of success; the laugh is generally on his side.

I asked in my dialogue whether it was lawful for a provost-marshal to call himself simply marshal, and whether a lieutenant-colonel had a right to the title of colonel. I also asked whether the man who preferred titles of honour, for which he had paid in hard cash, to his ancient and legitimate rank, could pass for a sage.

Of course the marquis had to laugh at my dialogue, but he was called the general ever after. He had placed the royal arms of Poland over the gate of his palace, much to the amusement of Count Mischinski, the Polish ambassador to Berlin, who happened to be passing through Bologna at that time.

I told the Pole of my dispute with the mad marquis, and persuaded him to pay Albergati a visit, leaving his card. The ambassador did so, and the call was returned, but Albergati's cards no longer bore the title of general.

The Dowager Electress of Saxony having come to Bologna, I hastened to pay my respects to her. She had only come to see the famous castrato Farinello, who had left Madrid, and now lived at Bologna in great comfort. He placed a magnificent collation before the Electress, and sang a song of his own composition, accompanying himself on the piano. The Electress, who was an enthusiastic musician, embraced Farinello, exclaiming,—

"Now I can die happy."

Farinello, who was also known as the Chevalier Borschi had reigned, as it were, in Spain till the Parmese wife of Philip V. had laid plots which obliged him to leave the Court after the disgrace of Enunada. The Electress noticed a portrait of the queen, and spoke very highly of her, mentioning some circumstances which must have taken place in the reign of Ferdinand VI.

The famous musician burst into tears, and said that Queen Barbara was as good as Elizabeth of Parma was wicked.

Borschi might have been seventy when I saw him at Bologna. He was very rich and in the enjoyment of good health, and yet he was unhappy, continually shedding tears at the thought of Spain.

Ambition is a more powerful passion than avarice. Besides, Farinello had another reason for unhappiness.

He had a nephew who was the heir to all his wealth, whom he married to a noble Tuscan lady, hoping to found a titled family, though in an indirect kind of way. But this marriage was a torment to him, for in his impotent old age he was so unfortunate as to fall in love with his niece, and to become jealous of his nephew. Worse than all the lady grew to hate him, and Farinello had sent his nephew abroad, while he never allowed the wife to go out of his sight.

Lord Lincoln arrived in Bologna with an introduction for the cardinal legate, who asked him to dinner, and did me the honour of giving me an invitation to meet him. The cardinal was thus convinced that Lord Lincoln and I had never met, and that the grand duke of Tuscany had committed a great injustice in banishing me. It was on that occasion that the young nobleman told me how they had spread the snare, though he denied that he had been cheated; he was far too proud to acknowledge such a thing. He died of debauchery in London three or four years after.

I also saw at Bologna the Englishman Aston with Madame Slopitz, sister of the Charming Cailimena. Madame Slopitz was much handsomer than her sister. She had presented Aston with two babes as beautiful as Raphael's cherubs.

I spoke of her sister to her, and from the way in which I sang her praises she guessed that I had loved her. She told me she would be in Florence during the Carnival of 1773, but I did not see her again till the year 1776, when I was at Venice.

The dreadful Nina Bergonci, who had made a madman of Count Ricla, and was the source of all my woes at Barcelona, had come to Bologna at the beginning of Lent, occupying a pleasant house which she had taken. She had carte blanche with a banker, and kept up a great state, affirming herself to be with child by the Viceroy of Catalonia, and demanding the honours which would be given to a queen who had graciously chosen Bologna as the place of her confinement. She had a special recommendation to the legate, who often visited her, but in the greatest secrecy.

The time of her confinement approached, and the insane Ricla sent over a confidential man, Don Martino, who was empowered to have the child baptized, and to recognize it as Ricla's natural offspring.

Nina made a show of her condition, appearing at the theatre and in the public places with an enormous belly. The greatest noble of Bologna paid court to her, and Nina told them that they might do so, but that she could not guarantee their safety from the jealous dagger of Ricla. She was impudent enough to tell them what happened to me at Barcelona, not knowing that I was at Bologna.

She was extremely surprised to hear from Count Zini, who knew me, that I inhabited the same town as herself.

When the count met me he asked me if the Barcelona story was true. I did not care to take him into my confidence, so I replied that I did not know Nina, and that the story had doubtless been made up by her to see whether he would encounter danger for her sake.

When I met the cardinal I told him the whole story, and his eminence was astonished when I gave him some insight into Nina's character, and informed him that she was the daughter of her sister and her grandfather.

"I could stake my life," said I, "that Nina is no more with child than you are."

"Oh, come!" said he, laughing, "that is really too strong; why shouldn't she have a child? It is a very simple matter, it seems to me. Possibly it may not be Ricla's child but there can be no doubt that she is with somebody's child. What object could she have for feigning pregnancy?"

"To make herself famous by defiling the Count de Ricla, who was a model of justice and virtue before knowing this Messalina. If your eminence knew the hideous character of Nina you would not wonder at anything she did."

"Well, we shall see."

"Yes."

About a week later I heard a great noise in the street, and on putting my head out of the window I saw a woman stripped to the waist, and mounted on an ass, being scourged by the hangman, and hooted by a mob of all the biricchini in Bologna. Severini came up at the same moment and informed me that the woman was the chief midwife in Bologna, and that her punishment had been ordered by the cardinal archbishop.

"It must be for some great crime," I observed.

"No doubt. It is the woman who was with Nina the day before yesterday."

"What! has Nina been brought to bed?"

"Yes; but of a still-born child."

"I see it all."

Next day the story was all over the town.

A poor woman had come before the archbishop, and had complained bitterly that the midwife Teresa had seduced her, promising to give her twenty sequins if she would give her a fine boy to whom she had given birth a fortnight ago. She was not given the sum agreed upon, and in her despair at hearing of the death of her child she begged for justice, declaring herself able to prove that the dead child said to be Nina's was in reality her own.

The archbishop ordered his chancellor to enquire into the affair with the utmost secrecy, and then proceed to instant and summary execution.

A week after this scandal Don Martino returned to Barcelona; but Nina remained as impudent as ever, doubled the size of the red cockades which she made her servants wear, and swore that Spain would avenge her on the insolent archbishop. She remained at Bologna six weeks longer, pretending to be still suffering from the effects of her confinement. The cardinal legate, who was ashamed of having had anything to do with such an abandoned prostitute, did his best to have her ordered to leave.

Count Ricla, a dupe to the last, gave her a considerable yearly income on the condition that she should never come to Barcelona again; but in a year the count died.

Nina did not survive him for more than a year, and died miserably from her fearful debauchery. I met her mother and sister at Venice, and she told me the story of the last two years of her daughter's life; but it is so sad and so disgusting a tale that I feel obliged to omit it.

As for the infamous midwife, she found powerful friends.

A pamphlet appeared in which the anonymous author declared that the archbishop had committed a great wrong in punishing a citizen in so shameful a manner without any of the proper formalities of justice. The writer maintained that even if she were guilty she had been unjustly punished, and should appeal to Rome.

The prelate, feeling the force of these animadversions, circulated a pamphlet in which it appeared that the midwife had made three prior appearances before the judge, and that she would have been sent to the gallows long ago if the archbishop had not hesitated to shame three of the noblest families in Bologna, whose names appeared in documents in the custody of his chancellor.

Her crimes were procuring abortion and killing erring mothers, substituting the living for the dead, and in one case a boy for a girl, thus giving him the enjoyment of property which did not belong to him.

This pamphlet of the prelate reduced the patrons of the infamous midwife to silence, for several young noblemen whose mothers had been attended by her did not relish the idea of their family secrets being brought to light.

At Bologna I saw Madame Marucci, who had been expelled from Spain for the same reason as Madame Pelliccia. The latter had retired to Rome, while Madame Marucci was on her way to Lucca, her native country.

Madame Soavi, a Bolognese dancer whom I had known at Parma and Paris, came to Bologna with her daughter by M. de Marigni. The girl, whose name was Adelaide, was very beautiful, and her natural abilities had been fostered by a careful education.

When Madame Soavi got to Bologna she met her husband whom she had not seen for fifteen years.

"Here is a treasure for you," said she, shewing him her daughter.

"She's certainly very pretty, but what am I to do with her? She does not belong to me."

"Yes she does, as I have given her to you. You must know that she has six thousand francs a year, and that I shall be her cashier till I get her married to a good dancer. I want her to learn character dancing, and to make her appearance on the boards. You must take her out on holidays."

"What shall I say if people ask me who she is?"

"Say she is your daughter, and that you are certain, because your wife gave her to you."

"I can't see that."

"Ah, you have always stayed at home, and consequently your wits are homely."

I heard this curious dialogue which made me laugh then, and makes me laugh now as I write it. I offered to help in Adelaide's education, but Madame Soavi laughed, and said,—

"Fox, you have deceived so many tender pullets, that I don't like to trust you with this one, for fear of your making her too precocious."

"I did not think of that, but you are right."

Adelaide became the wonder of Bologna.

A year after I left the Comte du Barri, brother-in-law of the famous mistress of Louis XV., visited Bologna, and became so amorous of Adelaide that her mother sent her away, fearing he would carry her off.

Du Barri offered her a hundred thousand francs for the girl, but she refused the offer.

I saw Adelaide five years later on the boards of a Venetian theatre. When I went to congratulate her, she said,—

"My mother brought me into the world, and I think she will send me out of it; this dancing is killing me."

In point of fact this delicate flower faded and died after seven years of the severe life to which her mother had exposed her.

Madame Soavi who had not taken the precaution to settle the six thousand francs on herself, lost all in losing Adelaide, and died miserably after having rolled in riches. But, alas! I am not the man to reproach anyone on the score of imprudence.

At Bologna I met the famous Afflisio, who had been discharged from the imperial service and had turned manager. He went from bad to worse, and five or six years later committed forgery, was sent to the galleys, and there died.

I was also impressed by the example of a man of a good family, who had once been rich. This was Count Filomarino. He was living in great misery, deprived of the use of all his limbs by a succession of venereal complaints. I often went to see him to give him a few pieces of money, and to listen to his malevolent talk, for his tongue was the only member that continued active. He was a scoundrel and a slanderer, and writhed under the thought that he could not go to Naples and torment his relations, who were in reality respectable people, but monsters according to his shewing.

Madame Sabatini, the dancer, had returned to Bologna, having made enough money to rest upon her laurels. She married a professor of anatomy, and brought all her wealth to him as a dower. She had with her her sister, who was not rich and had no talents, but was at the same time very agreeable.

At the house I met an abbe, a fine young man of modest appearance. The sister seemed to be deeply in love with him, while he appeared to be grateful and nothing more.

I made some remark to the modest Adonis, and he gave me a very sensible answer. We walked away together, and after telling each other what brought us to Bologna we parted, agreeing to meet again.

The abbe, who was twenty-four or twenty-five years old, was not in orders, and was the only son of a noble family of Novara, which was unfortunately poor as well as noble.

He had a very scanty revenue, and was able to live more cheaply at Bologna than Novara, where everything is dear. Besides, he did not care for his relations; he had no friends, and everybody there was more or less ignorant.

The Abbe de Bolini, as he was called, was a man of tranquil mind, living a peaceful and quiet life above all things. He liked lettered men more than letters, and did not trouble to gain the reputation of a wit. He knew he was not a fool, and when he mixed with learned men he was quite clever enough to be a good listener.

Both temperament and his purse made him temperate in all things, and he had received a sound Christian education. He never talked about religion, but nothing scandalized him. He seldom praised and never blamed.

He was almost entirely indifferent to women, flying from ugly women and blue stockings, and gratifying the passion of pretty ones more out of kindliness than love, for in his heart he considered women as more likely to make a man miserable than happy. I was especially interested in this last characteristic.

We had been friends for three weeks when I took the liberty of asking him how he reconciled his theories with his attachment to Brigida Sabatini.

He supped with her every evening, and she breakfasted with him every morning. When I went to see him, she was either there already or came in before my call was over. She breathed forth love in every glance, while the abbe was kind, but, in spite of his politeness, evidently bored.

Brigida looked well enough, but she was at least ten years older than the abbe. She was very polite to me and did her best to convince me that the abbe was happy in the possession of her heart, and that they both enjoyed the delights of mutual love.

But when I asked him over a bottle of good wine about his affection for Brigida, he sighed, smiled, blushed, looked down, and finally confessed that this connection was the misfortune of his life.

"Misfortune? Does she make you sigh in vain? If so you should leave her, and thus regain your happiness."

"How can I sigh? I am not in love with her. She is in love with me, and tries to make me her slave."

"How do you mean?"

"She wants me to marry her, and I promised to do so, partly from weakness, and partly from pity; and now she is in a hurry."

"I daresay; all these elderly girls are in a hurry."

"Every evening she treats me to tears, supplications, and despair. She summons me to keep my promise, and accuses me of deceiving her, so you may imagine that my situation is an unhappy one."

"Have you any obligations towards her?"

"None whatever. She has violated me, so to speak, for all the advances came from her. She has only what her sister gives her from day to day, and if she got married she would not get that."

"Have you got her with child?"

"I have taken good care not to do so, and that's what has irritated her; she calls all my little stratagems detestable treason."

"Nevertheless, you have made up your mind to marry her sooner or later?"

"I'd as soon hang myself. If I got married to her I should be four times as poor as I am now, and all my relations at Novara would laugh at me for bringing home a wife of her age. Besides, she is neither rich nor well born, and at Novara they demand the one or the other."

"Then as a man of honour and as a man of sense, you ought to break with her, and the sooner the better."

"I know, but lacking normal strength what am I to do? If I did not go and sup with her to-night, she would infallibly come after me to see what had happened. I can't lock my door in her face, and I can't tell her to go away."

"No, but neither can go on in this miserable way.

"You must make up your mind, and cut the Gordian knot, like Alexander."

"I haven't his sword."

"I will lend it you."

"What do you mean?"

"Listen to me. You must go and live in another town. She will hardly go after you there, I suppose."

"That is a very good plan, but flight is a difficult matter."

"Difficult? Not at all. Do you promise to do what I tell you, and I will arrange everything quite comfortably. Your mistress will not know anything about it till she misses you at supper."

"I will do whatever you tell me, and I shall never forget your kindness; but Brigida will go mad with grief."

"Well my first order to you is not to give her grief a single thought. You have only to leave everything to me. Would you like to start to-morrow?"

"To-morrow?"

"Yes. Have you any debts?"

"No."

"Do you want any money?"

"I have sufficient. But the idea of leaving tomorrow has taken my breath away. I must have three days delay."

"Why so?"

"I expect some letters the day after to-morrow, and I must write to my relations to tell them where I am going."

"I will take charge of your letters and send them on to you."

"Where shall I be?"

"I will tell you at the moment of your departure; trust in me. I will send you at once where you will be comfortable. All you have to do is to leave your trunk in the hands of your landlord, with orders not to give it up to anyone but myself."

"Very good. I am to go without my trunk, then."

"Yes. You must dine with me every day till you go, and mind not to tell anyone whatsoever that you intend leaving Bologna."

"I will take care not to do so."

The worthy young fellow looked quite radiant. I embraced him and thanked him for putting so much trust in me.

I felt proud at the good work I was about to perform, and smiled at the thought of Brigida's anger when she found that her lover had escaped. I wrote to my good friend Dandolo that in five or six days a young abbe would present himself before him bearing a letter from myself. I begged Dandolo to get him a comfortable and cheap lodging, as my friend was so unfortunate as to be indifferently provided with money, though an excellent man. I then wrote the letter of which the abbe was to be the bearer.

Next day Bolini told me that Brigida was far from suspecting his flight, as owing to his gaiety at the thought of freedom he had contented her so well during the night she had passed with him that she thought him as much in love as she was.

"She has all my linen," he added, "but I hope to get a good part of it back under one pretext or another, and she is welcome to the rest."

On the day appointed he called on me as we had arranged the night before, carrying a huge carpet bag containing necessaries. I took him to Modena in a post chaise, and there we dined; afterward I gave him a letter for M. Dandolo, promising to send on his trunk the next day.

He was delighted to hear that Venice was his destination, as he had long wished to go there, and I promised him that M. Dandolo should see that he lived as comfortably and cheaply as he had done at Bologna.

I saw him off, and returned to Bologna. The trunk I dispatched after him the following day.

As I had expected, the poor victim appeared before me all in tears the next day. I felt it my duty to pity her; it would have been cruel to pretend I did not know the reason for her despair. I gave her a long but kindly sermon, endeavouring to persuade her that I had acted for the best in preventing the abbe marrying her, as such a step would have plunged them both into misery.

The poor woman threw herself weeping at my feet, begging me to bring her abbe back, and swearing by all the saints that she would never mention the word "marriage" again. By way of calming her, I said I would do my best to win him over.

She asked where he was, and I said at Venice; but of course she did not believe me. There are circumstances when a clever man deceives by telling the truth, and such a lie as this must be approved by the most rigorous moralists.

Twenty-seven months later I met Bolini at Venice. I shall describe the meeting in its proper place.

A few days after he had gone, I made the acquaintance of the fair Viscioletta, and fell so ardently in love with her that I had to make up my mind to buy her with hard cash. The time when I could make women fall in love with me was no more, and I had to make up my mind either to do without them or to buy them.

I cannot help laughing when people ask me for advice, as I feel so certain that my advice will not be taken. Man is an animal that has to learn his lesson by hard experience in battling with the storms of life. Thus the world is always in disorder and always ignorant, for those who know are always in an infinitesimal proportion to the whole.

Madame Viscioletta, whom I went to see every day, treated me as the Florentine widow had done, though the widow required forms and ceremonies which I could dispense with in the presence of the fair Viscioletta, who was nothing else than a professional courtezan, though she called herself a virtuosa.

I had besieged her for three weeks without any success, and when I made any attempts she repulsed me laughingly.

Monsignor Buoncompagni, the vice-legate, was her lover in secret, though all the town knew it, but this sort of conventional secrecy is common enough in Italy. As as ecclesiastic he could not court her openly, but the hussy made no mystery whatever of his visits.

Being in need of money, and preferring to get rid of my carriage than of anything else, I announced it for sale at the price of three hundred and fifty Roman crowns. It was a comfortable and handsome carriage, and was well worth the price. I was told that the vice-legate offered three hundred crowns, and I felt a real pleasure in contradicting my favoured rival's desires. I told the man that I had stated my price and meant to adhere to it, as I was not accustomed to bargaining.

I went to see my carriage at noon one day to make sure that it was in good condition, and met the vice-legate who knew me from meeting me at the legate's, and must have been aware that I was poaching on his preserves. He told me rudely that the carriage was not worth more than three hundred crowns, and that I ought to be glad of the opportunity of getting rid of it, as it was much too good for me.

I had the strength of mind to despise his violence, and telling him dryly that I did not chaffer I turned my back on him and went my way.

Next day the fair Viscioletta wrote me a note to the effect that she would be very much obliged if I would let the vice-legate have the carriage at his own price, as she felt sure he would give it to her. I replied that I would call on her in the afternoon, and that my answer would depend on my welcome, I went in due course, and after a lively discussion, she gave way, and I signified my willingness to sell the carriage for the sum offered by the vice-legate.

The next day she had her carriage, and I had my three hundred crowns, and I let the proud prelate understand that I had avenged myself for his rudeness.

About this time Severini succeeded in obtaining a position as tutor in an illustrious Neapolitan family, and as soon as he received his journey-money he left Bologna. I also had thoughts of leaving the town.

I had kept up an interesting correspondence with M. Zaguri, who had made up his mind to obtain my recall in concert with Dandolo, who desired nothing better. Zaguri told me that if I wanted to obtain my pardon I must come and live as near as possible to the Venetian borders, so that the State Inquisitors might satisfy themselves of my good conduct. M. Zuliani, brother to the Duchess of Fiano, gave me the same advice, and promised to use all his interest in my behalf.

With the idea of following this counsel I decided to set up my abode at Trieste, where M. Zaguri told me he had an intimate friend to whom he would give me a letter of introduction. As I could not go by land without passing through the States of Venice I resolved to go to Ancona, whence boats sail to Trieste every day. As I should pass through Pesaro I asked my patron to give me a letter for the Marquis Mosca, a distinguished man of letters whom I had long wished to know. Just then he was a good deal talked about on account of a treatise on alms which he had recently published, and which the Roman curia had placed on the "Index."

The marquis was a devotee as well as a man of learning, and was imbued with the doctrine of St. Augustine, which becomes Jansenism if pushed to an extreme point.

I was sorry to leave Bologna, for I had spent eight pleasant months there. In two days I arrived at Pesaro in perfect health and well provided for in every way.

I left my letter with the marquis, and he came to see me the same day. He said his house would always be open to me, and that he would leave me in his wife's hands to be introduced to everybody and everything in the place. He ended by asking me to dine with him the following day, adding that if I cared to examine his library he could give me an excellent cup of chocolate.

I went, and saw an enormous collection of comments on the Latin poets from Ennius to the poets of the twelfth century of our era. He had had them all printed at his own expense and at his private press, in four tall folios, very accurately printed but without elegance. I told him my opinion, and he agreed that I was right.

The want of elegance which had spared him an outlay of a hundred thousand francs had deprived him of a profit of three hundred thousand.

He presented me with a copy, which he sent to my inn, with an immense folio volume entitled "Marmora Pisaurentia," which I had no time to examine.

I was much pleased with the marchioness, who had three daughters and two sons, all good-looking and well bred.

The marchioness was a woman of the world, while her husband's interests were confined to his books. This difference in disposition sometimes gave rise to a slight element of discord, but a stranger would never have noticed it if he had not been told.

Fifty years ago a wise man said to me: "Every family is troubled by some small tragedy, which should be kept private with the greatest care. In fine, people should learn to wash their dirty linen in private."

The marchioness paid me great attention during the five days I spent at Pesaro. In the day she drove me from one country house to another, and at night she introduced me to all the nobility of the town.

The marquis might have been fifty then. He was cold by temperament, had no other passion but that of study, and his morals were pure. He had founded an academy of which he was the president. Its design was a fly, in allusion to his name Mosca, with the words 'de me ce', that is to say, take away 'c' from 'musca' and you have 'musa'.

His only failing was that which the monks regard as his finest quality, he was religious to excess, and this excess of religion went beyond the bounds where 'nequit consistere rectum'.

But which is the better, to go beyond these bounds, or not to come up to them? I cannot venture to decide the question. Horace says,—

        "Nulla est mihi religio!"

and it is the beginning of an ode in which he condemns philosophy for estranging him from religion.

Excess of every kind is bad.

I left Pesaro delighted with the good company I had met, and only sorry I had not seen the marquis's brother who was praised by everyone.





CHAPTER XX

     A Jew Named Mardocheus Becomes My Travelling Companion—
     He Persuades Me to Lodge in His House—I Fall in Love With His
     Daughter Leah—After a Stay of Six Weeks I Go to Trieste

Some time elapsed before I had time to examine the Marquis of Mosca's collection of Latin poets, amongst which the 'Priapeia' found no place.

No doubt this work bore witness to his love for literature but not to his learning, for there was nothing of his own in it. All he had done was to classify each fragment in chronological order. I should have liked to see notes, comments, explanations, and such like; but there was nothing of the kind. Besides, the type was not elegant, the margins were poor, the paper common, and misprints not infrequent. All these are bad faults, especially in a work which should have become a classic. Consequently, the book was not a profitable one; and as the marquis was not a rich man he was occasionally reproached by his wife for the money he had expended.

I read his treatise on almsgiving and his apology for it, and understood a good deal of the marquis's way of thinking. I could easily imagine that his writings must have given great offence at Rome, and that with sounder judgment he would have avoided this danger. Of course the marquis was really in the right, but in theology one is only in the right when Rome says yes.

The marquis was a rigorist, and though he had a tincture of Jansenism he often differed from St. Augustine.

He denied, for instance, that almsgiving could annul the penalty attached to sin, and according to him the only sort of almsgiving which had any merit was that prescribed in the Gospel: "Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth."

He even maintained that he who gave alms sinned unless it was done with the greatest secrecy, for alms given in public are sure to be accompanied by vanity.

It might have been objected that the merit of alms lies in the intention with which they are given. It is quite possible for a good man to slip a piece of money into the palm of some miserable being standing in a public place, and yet this may be done solely with the idea of relieving distress without a thought of the onlookers.

As I wanted to go to Trieste, I might have crossed the gulf by a small boat from Pesaro; a good wind was blowing, and I should have got to Trieste in twelve hours. This was my proper way, for I had nothing to do at Ancona, and it was a hundred miles longer; but I had said I would go by Ancona, and I felt obliged to do so.

I had always a strong tincture of superstition, which has exercised considerable influence on my strange career.

Like Socrates I, too, had a demon to whom I referred my doubtful counsels, doing his will, and obeying blindly when I felt a voice within me telling me to forbear.

A hundred times have I thus followed my genius, and occasionally I have felt inclined to complain that it did not impel me to act against my reason more frequently. Whenever I did so I found that impulse was right and reason wrong, and for all that I have still continued reasoning.

When I arrived at Senegallia, at three stages from Ancona, my vetturino asked me, just as I was going to bed, whether I would allow him to accommodate a Jew who was going to Ancona in the chaise.

My first impulse made me answer sharply that I wanted no one in my chaise, much less a Jew.

The vetturino went out, but a voice said within me, "You must take this' poor Israelite;" and in spite of my repugnance I called back the man and signified my assent.

"Then you must make up your mind to start at an earlier hour, for it is Friday to-morrow, and you know the Jews are not allowed to travel after sunset."

"I shall not start a moment earlier than I intended, but you can make your horses travel as quickly as you like."

He gave me no answer, and went out. The next morning I found my Jew, an honest-looking fellow, in the carriage. The first thing he asked me was why I did not like Jews.

"Because your religion teaches you to hate men of all other religions, especially Christians, and you think you have done a meritorious action when you have deceived us. You do not look upon us as brothers. You are usurious, unmerciful, our enemies, and so I do not like you."

"You are mistaken, sir. Come with me to our synagogue this evening, and you will hear us pray for all Christians, beginning with our Lord the Pope."

I could not help bursting into a roar of laughter.

"True," I replied, "but the prayer comes from the mouth only, and not from the heart. If you do not immediately confess that the Jews would not pray for the Christians if they were the masters, I will fling you out of the chaise."

Of course I did not carry out this threat, but I completed his confusion by quoting in Hebrew the passages in the Old Testament, where the Jews are bidden to do all possible harm to the Gentiles, whom they were to curse every day.

After this the poor man said no more. When we were going to take our dinner I asked him to sit beside me, but he said his religion would not allow him to do so, and that he would only eat eggs, fruit, and some foiegras sausage he had in his pocket. He only drank water because he was not sure that the wine was unadulterated.

"You stupid fellow," I exclaimed, "how can you ever be certain of the purity of wine unless you have made it yourself?"

When we were on our way again he said that if I liked to come and stay with him, and to content myself with such dishes as God had not forbidden, he would make me more comfortable than if I went to the inn, and at a cheaper rate.

"Then you let lodgings to Christians?"

"I don't let lodgings to anybody, but I will make an exception in your case to disabuse you of some of your mistaken notions. I will only ask you six pauls a day, and give you two good meals without wine."

"Then you must give me fish and wine, I paying for them as extras."

"Certainly; I have a Christian cook, and my wife pays a good deal of attention to the cooking."

"You can give me the foie gras every day, if you will eat it with me."

"I know what you think, but you shall be satisfied."

I got down at the Jew's house, wondering at myself as I did so. However, I knew that if I did not like my accommodation I could leave the next day.

His wife and children were waiting for him, and gave him a joyful welcome in honour of the Sabbath. All servile work was forbidden on this day holy to the Lord; and all over the house, and in the face of all the family, I observed a kind of festal air.

I was welcomed like a brother, and I replied as best I could; but a word from Mardocheus (so he was called) changed their politeness of feeling into a politeness of interest.

Mardocheus shewed me two rooms for me to choose the one which suited me, but liking them both I said I would take the two for another paul a day, with which arrangement he was well enough pleased.

Mardocheus told his wife what we had settled, and she instructed the Christian servant to cook my supper for me.

I had my effects taken upstairs, and then went with Mardocheus to the synagogue.

During the short service the Jews paid no attention to me or to several other Christians who were present. The Jews go to the synagogue to pray, and in this respect I think their conduct worthy of imitation by the Christians.

On leaving the synagogue I went by myself to the Exchange, thinking over the happy time which would never return.

It was in Ancona that I had begun to enjoy life; and when I thought it over, it was quite a shock to find that this was thirty years ago, for thirty years is a long period in a man's life. And yet I felt quite happy, in spite of the tenth lustrum so near at hand for me.

What a difference I found between my youth and my middle age! I could scarcely recognize myself. I was then happy, but now unhappy; then all the world was before me, and the future seemed a gorgeous dream, and now I was obliged to confess that my life had been all in vain. I might live twenty years more, but I felt that the happy time was passed away, and the future seemed all dreary.

I reckoned up my forty-seven years, and saw fortune fly away. This in itself was enough to sadden me, for without the favours of the fickle goddess life was not worth living, for me at all events.

My object, then, was to return to my country; it was as if I struggled to undo all that I had done. All I could hope for was to soften the hardships of the slow but certain passage to the grave.

These are the thoughts of declining years and not of youth. The young man looks only to the present, believes that the sky will always smile upon him, and laughs at philosophy as it vainly preaches of old age, misery, repentance, and, worst of all, abhorred death.

Such were my thoughts twenty-six years ago; what must they be now, when I am all alone, poor, despised, and impotent. They would kill me if I did not resolutely subdue them, for whether for good or ill my heart is still young. Of what use are desires when one can no longer satisfy them? I write to kill ennui, and I take a pleasure in writing. Whether I write sense or nonsense, what matters? I am amused, and that is enough.

   'Malo scriptor delirus, inersque videri,
   Dum mea delectent mala me vel denique fallunt,
   Quam sapere.'

When I came back I found Mardocheus at supper with his numerous family, composed of eleven or twelve individuals, and including his mother—an old woman of ninety, who looked very well. I noticed another Jew of middle age; he was the husband of his eldest daughter, who did not strike me as pretty; but the younger daughter, who was destined for a Jew of Pesaro, whom she had never seen, engaged all my attention. I remarked to her that if she had not seen her future husband she could not be in love with him, whereupon she replied in a serious voice that it was not necessary to be in love before one married. The old woman praised the girl for this sentiment, and said she had not been in love with her husband till the first child was born.

I shall call the pretty Jewess Leah, as I have good reasons for not using her real name.

While they were enjoying their meal I sat down beside her and tried to make myself as agreeable as possible, but she would not even look at me.

My supper was excellent, and my bed very comfortable.

The next day my landlord told me that I could give my linen to the maid, and that Leah could get it up for me.

I told him I had relished my supper, but that I should like the foie gras every day as I had a dispensation.

"You shall have some to-morrow, but Leah is the only one of us who eats it."

"Then Leah must take it with me, and you can tell her that I shall give her some Cyprus wine which is perfectly pure."

I had no wine, but I went for it the same morning to the Venetian consul, giving him M. Dandolo's letter.

The consul was a Venetian of the old leaven. He had heard my name, and seemed delighted to make my acquaintance. He was a kind of clown without the paint, fond of a joke, a regular gourmand, and a man of great experience. He sold me some Scopolo and old Cyprus Muscat, but he began to exclaim when he heard where I was lodging, and how I had come there.

"He is rich," he said, "but he is also a great usurer, and if you borrow money of him he will make you repent it."

After informing the consul that I should not leave till the end of the month, I went home to dinner, which proved excellent.

The next day I gave out my linen to the maid, and Leah came to ask me how I liked my lace got up.

If Leah had examined me more closely she would have seen that the sight of her magnificent breast, unprotected by any kerchief, had had a remarkable effect on me.

I told her that I left it all to her, and that she could do what she liked with the linen.

"Then it will all come under my hands if you are in no hurry to go."

"You can make me stay as long as you like," said I; but she seemed not to hear this declaration.

"Everything is quite right," I continued, "except the chocolate; I like it well frothed."

"Then I will make it for you myself."

"Then I will give out a double quantity, and we will take it together."

"I don't like chocolate."

"I am sorry to hear that; but you like foie gras?"

"Yes, I do; and from what father tells me I am going to take some with you to-day."

"I shall be delighted."

"I suppose you are afraid of being poisoned?"

"Not at all; I only wish we could die together."

She pretended not to understand, and left me burning with desire. I felt that I must either obtain possession of her or tell her father not to send her into my room any more.

The Turin Jewess had given me some valuable hints as to the conduct of amours with Jewish girls.

My theory was that Leah would be more easily won than she, for at Ancona there was much more liberty than at Turin.

This was a rake's reasoning, but even rakes are mistaken sometimes.

The dinner that was served to me was very good, though cooked in the Jewish style, and Leah brought in the foie gras and sat down opposite to me with a muslin kerchief over her breast.

The foie gras was excellent, and we washed it down with copious libations of Scopolo, which Leah found very much to her taste.

When the foie gras was finished she got up, but I stopped her, for the dinner was only half over.

"I will stay then," said she, "but I am afraid my father will object."

"Very good. Call your master," I said to the maid who came in at that moment, "I have a word to speak to him."

"My dear Mardocheus," I said when he came, "your daughter's appetite doubles mine, and I shall be much obliged if you will allow her to keep me company whenever we have foie gras."

"It isn't to my profit to double your appetite, but if you like to pay double I shall have no objection."

"Very good, that arrangement will suit me."

In evidence of my satisfaction I gave him a bottle of Scopolo, which Leah guaranteed pure.

We dined together, and seeing that the wine was making her mirthful I told her that her eyes were inflaming me and that she must let me kiss them.

"My duty obliges me to say nay. No kissing and no touching; we have only got to eat and drink together, and I shall like it as much as you."

"You are cruel."

"I am wholly dependent on my father."

"Shall I ask your father to give you leave to be kind?"

"I don't think that would be proper, and my father might be offended and not allow me to see you any more."

"And supposing he told you not to be scrupulous about trifles?"

"Then I should despise him and continue to do my duty."

So clear a declaration shewed me that if I persevered in this intrigue I might go on for ever without success. I also bethought me that I ran a risk of neglecting my chief business, which would not allow me to stay long in Ancona.

I said nothing more to Leah just then, and when the dessert came in I gave her some Cyprus wine, which she declared was the most delicious nectar she had ever tasted.

I saw that the wine was heating her, and it seemed incredible to me that Bacchus should reign without Venus; but she had a hard head, her blood was hot and her brain cool.

However, I tried to seize her hand and kiss it, but she drew it away, saying pleasantly,—

"It's too much for honour and too little for love."

This witty remark amused me, and it also let me know that she was not exactly a neophyte.

I determined to postpone matters till the next day, and told her not to get me any supper as I was supping with the Venetian consul.

The consul had told me that he did not dine, but that he would always be delighted to see me at supper.

It was midnight when I came home, and everyone was asleep except the maid who let me in. I gave her such a gratuity that she must have wished me to keep late hours for the rest of my stay.

I proceeded to sound her about Leah, but she told me nothing but good. If she was to be believed, Leah was a good girl, always at work, loved by all, and fancy free. The maid could not have praised her better if she had been paid to do so.

In the morning Leah brought the chocolate and sat down on my bed, saying that we should have some fine foie gras, and that she should have all the better appetite for dinner as she had not taken any supper.

"Why didn't you take any supper?"

"I suppose it was because of your excellent Cyprus wine, to which my father has taken a great liking."

"Ah! he like it? We will give him some."

Leah was in a state of undress as before, and the sight of her half-covered spheres drove me to distraction.

"Are you not aware that you have a beautiful breast?" said I.

"I thought all young girls were just the same."

"Have you no suspicion that the sight is a very pleasant one for me?"

"If that be so, I am very glad, for I have nothing to be ashamed of, for a girl has no call to hide her throat any more than her face, unless she is in grand company."

As she was speaking, Leah looked at a golden heart transfixed with an arrow and set with small diamonds which served me as a shirt stud.

"Do you like the little heart?" said I.

"Very much. Is it pure gold?"

"Certainly, and that being so I think I may offer it to you."

So saying I took it off, but she thanked me politely, and said that a girl who gave nothing must take nothing.

"Take it; I will never ask any favour of you."

"But I should be indebted to you, and that's the reason why I never take anything."

I saw that there was nothing to be done, or rather that it would be necessary to do too much to do anything, and that in any case the best plan would be to give her up.

I put aside all thoughts of violence, which would only anger her or make her laugh at me. I should either have been degraded, or rendered more amorous, and all for nothing. If she had taken offense she would not have come to see me any more, and I should have had nought to complain of. In fine I made up my mind to restrain myself, and indulge no more in amorous talk.

We dined very pleasantly together. The servant brought in some shell-fish, which are forbidden by the Mosaic Law. While the maid was in the room I asked Leah to take some, and she refused indignantly; but directly the girl was gone she took some of her own accord and ate them eagerly, assuring me that it was the first time she had had the pleasure of tasting shellfish.

"This girl," I said to myself, "who breaks the law of her religion with such levity, who likes pleasure and does not conceal it, this is the girl who wants to make me believe that she is insensible to the pleasures of love; that's impossible, though she may not love me. She must have some secret means of satisfying her passions, which in my opinion are very violent. We will see what can be done this evening with the help of a bottle of good Muscat."

However, when the evening came, she said she could not drink or eat anything, as a meal always prevented her sleeping.

The next day she brought me my chocolate, but her beautiful breast was covered with a white kerchief. She sat down on the bed as usual, and I observed in a melancholy manner that she had only covered her breast because I had said I took a pleasure in seeing it.

She replied that she had not thought of anything, and had only put on her kerchief because she had had no time to fasten her stays.

"You are whole right," I said, smilingly, "for if I were to see the whole breast I might not think it beautiful."

She gave no answer, and I finished my chocolate.

I recollected my collection of obscene pictures, and I begged Leah to give me the box, telling her that I would shew her some of the most beautiful breasts in the world.

"I shan't care to see them," said she; but she gave me the box, and sat down on my bed as before.

I took out a picture of a naked woman lying on her back and abusing herself, and covering up the lower part of it I shewed it to Leah.

"But her breast is like any other," said Leah.

"Take away your handkerchief."

"Take it back; it's disgusting. It's well enough done," she added, with a burst of laughter, "but it's no novelty for me."

"No novelty for you?"

"Of course not; every girl does like that before she gets married."

"Then you do it, too?"

"Whenever I want to."

"Do it now."

"A well-bred girl always does it in private."

"And what do you do after?"

"If I am in bed I go to sleep."

"My dear Leah, your sincerity is too much for me. Either be kind or visit me no more."

"You are very weak, I think."

"Yes, because I am strong."

"Then henceforth we shall only meet at dinner. But chew me some more miniatures."

"I have some pictures which you will not like."

"Let me see them."

I gave her Arentin's figures, and was astonished to see how coolly she examined them, passing from one to the other in the most commonplace way.

"Do you think them interesting?" I said.

"Yes, very; they are so natural. But a good girl should not look at such pictures; anyone must be aware that these voluptuous attitudes excite one's emotions."

"I believe you, Leah, and I feel it as much as you. Look here!"

She smiled and took the book away to the window, turning her back towards me without taking any notice of my appeal.

I had to cool down and dress myself, and when the hairdresser arrived Leah went away, saying she would return me my book at dinner.

I was delighted, thinking I was sure of victory either that day or the next, but I was out of my reckoning.

We dined well and drank better. At dessert Leah took the book out of her pocket and set me all on fire by asking me to explain some of the pictures but forbidding all practical demonstration.

I went out impatiently, determined to wait till next morning.

When the cruel Jewess came in the morning she told me that she wanted explanations, but that I must use the pictures and nothing more as a demonstration of my remarks.

"Certainly," I replied, "but you must answer all my questions as to your sex."

"I promise to do so, if they arise naturally from the pictures."

The lesson lasted two hours, and a hundred times did I curse Aretin and my folly in shewing her his designs, for whenever I made the slightest attempt the pitiless woman threatened to leave me. But the information she gave me about her own sex was a perfect torment to me. She told me the most lascivious details, and explained with the utmost minuteness the different external and internal movements which would be developed in the copulations pictured by Aretin. I thought it quite impossible that she could be reasoning from theory alone. She was not troubled by the slightest tincture of modesty, but philosophized on coition as coolly and much more learnedly than Hedvig. I would willingly have given her all I possessed to crown her science by the performance of the great work. She swore it was all pure theory with her, and I thought she must be speaking the truth when she said she wanted to get married to see if her notions were right or wrong. She looked pensive when I told her that the husband destined for her might be unable to discharge his connubial duties more than once a week.

"Do you mean to say," said she, "that one man is not as good as another?"

"How do you mean?"

"Are not all men able to make love every day, and every hour, just as they eat, drink and sleep every day?"

"No, dear Leah, they that can make love every day are very scarce."

In my state of chronic irritation I felt much annoyed that there was no decent place at Ancona where a man might appease his passions for his money. I trembled to think that I was in danger of falling really in love with Leah, and I told the consul every day that I was in no hurry to go. I was as foolish as a boy in his calf-love. I pictured Leah as the purest of women, for with strong passions she refused to gratify them. I saw in her a model of virtue; she was all self-restraint and purity, resisting temptation in spite of the fire that consumed her.

Before long the reader will discover how very virtuous Leah was.

After nine or ten days I had recourse to violence, not in deeds but in words. She confessed I was in the right, and said my best plan would be to forbid her to come and see me in the morning. At dinner, according to her, there would be no risk.

I made up my mind to ask her to continue her visits, but to cover her breast and avoid all amorous conversation.

"With all my heart," she replied, laughing; "but be sure I shall not be the first to break the conditions."

I felt no inclination to break them either, for three days later I felt weary of the situation, and told the consul I would start on the first opportunity. My passion for Leah was spoiling my appetite, and I thus saw myself deprived of my secondary pleasure without any prospect of gaining my primary enjoyment.

After what I had said to the consul I felt I should be bound to go, and I went to bed calmly enough. But about two o'clock in the morning I had, contrary to my usual habit, to get up and offer sacrifice to Cloacina. I left my room without any candle, as I knew my way well enough about the house.

The temple of the goddess was on the ground floor, but as I had put on my soft slippers, and walked very softly, my footsteps did not make the least noise.

On my way upstairs I saw a light shining through a chink in the door of a room which I knew to be unoccupied. I crept softly up, not dreaming for a moment that Leah could be there at such an hour. But on putting my eye to the chink I found I could see a bed, and on it were Leah and a young man, both stark naked, and occupied in working out Aretin's postures to the best of their ability. They were whispering to one another, and every four or five minutes I had the pleasure of seeing a new posture. These changes of position gave me a view of all the beauties of Leah, and this pleasure was something to set against my rage in having taken such a profligate creature for a virtuous woman.

Every time they approached the completion of the great work they stopped short, and completed what they were doing with their hands.

When they were doing the Straight Tree, to my mind the most lascivious of them all, Leah behaved like a true Lesbian; for while the young man excited her amorous fury she got hold of his instrument and took it between her lips till the work was complete. I could not doubt that she had swallowed the vital fluid of my fortunate rival.

The Adonis then shewed her the feeble instrument, and Leah seemed to regret what she had done. Before long she began to excite him again; but the fellow looked at his watch, pushed her away, and began to put on his shirt.

Leah seemed angry, and I could see that she reproached him for some time before she began to dress.

When they were nearly clothed I softly returned to my room and looked out of a window commanding the house-door. I had not to wait long before I saw the fortunate lover going out.

I went to bed indignant with Leah; I felt myself degraded. She was no longer virtuous, but a villainous prostitute in my eyes; and I fell to sleep with the firm resolve of driving her from my room the next morning, after shaming her with the story of the scene I had witnessed. But, alas, hasty and angry resolves can seldom withstand a few hours' sleep. As soon as I saw Leah coming in with my chocolate, smiling and gay as usual, I told her quite coolly all the exploits I had seen her executing, laying particular stress on the Straight Tree, and the curious liquid she had swallowed. I ended by saying that I hoped she would give me the next night, both to crown my love and insure my secrecy.

She answered with perfect calm that I had nothing to expect from her as she did not love me, and as for keeping the secret she defied me to disclose it.

"I am sure you would not be guilty of such a disgraceful action," said she.

With these words she turned her back on me and went out.

I could not help confessing to myself that she was in the right; I could not bring myself to commit such a baseness. She had made me reasonable in a few words:

"I don't love you." There was no reply to this, and I felt I had no claim on her.

Rather it was she who might complain of me; what right had I to spy over her? I could not accuse her of deceiving me; she was free to do what she liked with herself. My best course was clearly to be silent.

I dressed myself hastily, and went to the Exchange, where I heard that a vessel was sailing for Fiume the same day.

Fiume is just opposite Ancona on the other side of the gulf. From Fiume to Trieste the distance is forty miles, and I decided to go by that route.

I went aboard the ship and took the best place, said good-bye to the consul, paid Mardocheus, and packed my trunks.

Leah heard that I was going the same day, and came and told me that she could not give me back my lace and my silk stockings that day, but that I could have them by the next day.

"Your father," I replied coolly, "will hand them all over to the Venetian consul, who will send them to me at Trieste."

Just as I was sitting down to dinner, the captain of the boat came for my luggage with a sailor. I told him he could have my trunk, and that I would bring the rest aboard whenever he liked to go.

"I intend setting out an hour before dusk."

"I shall be ready."

When Mardocheus heard where I was going he begged me to take charge of a small box and a letter he wanted to send to a friend.

"I shall be delighted to do you this small service."

At dinner Leah sat down with me and chattered as usual, without troubling herself about my monosyllabic answers.

I supposed she wished me to credit her with calm confidence and philosophy, while I looked upon it all as brazen impudence.

I hated and despised her. She had inflamed my passions, told me to my face she did not love me, and seemed to claim my respect through it all. Possibly she expected me to be grateful for her remark that she believed me incapable of betraying her to her father.

As she drank my Scopolo she said there were several bottles left, as well as some Muscat.

"I make you a present of it all," I replied, "it will prime you up for your nocturnal orgies."

She smiled and said I had had a gratuitous sight of a spectacle which was worth money, and that if I were not going so suddenly she would gladly have given me another opportunity.

This piece of impudence made me want to break the wine bottle on her head. She must have known what I was going to do from the way I took it up, but she did not waver for a moment. This coolness of hers prevented my committing a crime.

I contented myself with saying that she was the most impudent slut I had ever met, and I poured the wine into my glass with a shaking hand, as if that were the purpose for which I had taken up the bottle.

After this scene I got up and went into the next room; nevertheless, in half an hour she came to take coffee with me.

This persistence of hers disgusted me, but I calmed myself by the reflection that her conduct must be dictated by vengeance.

"I should like to help you to pack," said she.

"And I should like to be left alone," I replied; and taking her by the arm I led her out of the room and locked the door after her.

We were both of us in the right. Leah had deceived and humiliated me, and I had reason to detest her, while I had discovered her for a monster of hypocrisy and immodesty, and this was good cause for her to dislike me.

Towards evening two sailors came after the rest of the luggage, and thanking my hostess I told Leah to put up my linen, and to give it to her father, who had taken the box of which I was to be the bearer down to the vessel.

We set sail with a fair wind, and I thought never to set face on Leah again. But fate had ordered otherwise.

We had gone twenty miles with a good wind in our quarter, by which we were borne gently from wave to wave, when all of a sudden there fell a dead calm.

These rapid changes are common enough in the Adriatic, especially in the part we were in.

The calm lasted but a short time, and a stiff wind from the west-north-west began to blow, with the result that the sea became very rough, and I was very ill.

At midnight the storm had become dangerous. The captain told me that if we persisted in going in the wind's eye we should be wrecked, and that the only thing to be done was to return to Ancona.

In less than three hours we made the harbour, and the officer of the guard having recognized me kindly allowed me to land.

While I was talking to the officer the sailors took my trunks, and carried them to my old lodgings without waiting to ask my leave.

I was vexed. I wanted to avoid Leah, and I had intended to sleep at the nearest inn. However, there was no help for it. When I arrived the Jew got up, and said he was delighted to see me again.

It was past three o'clock in the morning, and I felt very ill, so I said I would not get up till late, and that I would dine in my bed without any foie gras. I slept ten hours, and when I awoke I felt hungry and rang my bell.

The maid answered and said that she would have the honour of waiting on me, as Leah had a violent headache.

I made no answer, thanking Providence for delivering me from this impudent and dangerous woman.

Having found my dinner rather spare I told the cook to get me a good supper.

The weather was dreadful. The Venetian consul had heard of my return, and not having seen me concluded I was ill, and paid me a two hours' visit. He assured me the storm would last for a week at least. I was very sorry to hear it; in the first place, because I did not want to see any more of Leah, and in the second, because I had not got any money. Luckily I had got valuable effects, so this second consideration did not trouble me much.

As I did not see Leah at supper-time I imagined that she was feigning illness to avoid meeting me, and I felt very much obliged to her on this account. As it appeared, however, I was entirely mistaken in my conjectures.

The next day she came to ask for chocolate in her usual way, but she no longer bore upon her features her old tranquillity of expression.

"I will take coffee, mademoiselle," I observed; "and as I do not want foie gras any longer, I will take dinner by myself. Consequently, you may tell your father that I shall only pay seven pauls a day. In future I shall only drink Orvieto wine."

"You have still four bottles of Scopolo and Cyprus."

"I never take back a present; the wine belongs to you. I shall be obliged by your leaving me alone as much as possible, as your conduct is enough to irritate Socrates, and I am not Socrates. Besides, the very sight of you is disagreeable to me. Your body may be beautiful, but knowing that the soul within is a monster it charms me no longer. You may be very sure that the sailors brought my luggage here without my orders, or else you would never have seen me here again, where I dread being poisoned every day."

Leah went out without giving me any answer, and I felt certain that after my plain-spoken discourse she would take care not to trouble me again.

Experience had taught me that girls like Leah are not uncommon. I had known specimens at Spa, Genoa, London, and at Venice, but this Jewess was the worst I had ever met.

It was Saturday. When Mardocheus came back from the synagogue he asked me gaily why I had mortified his daughter, as she had declared she had done nothing to offend me.

"I have not mortified her, my dear Mardocheus, or at all events, such was not my intention; but as I have put myself on diet, I shall be eating no more foie gras, and consequently I shall dine by myself, and save three pauls a day."

"Leah is quite ready to pay me out of her private purse, and she wants to dine with you to assure you against being poisoned, as she informs me that you have expressed that fear."

"That was only a jest; I am perfectly aware that I am in the house of an honest man. I don't want your daughter to pay for herself, and to prove that I am not actuated by feelings of economy, you shall dine with me too. To offer to pay for me is an impertinence on her part. In fine, I will either dine by myself and pay you seven pawls a day, or I will pay you thirteen, and have both father and daughter to dine with me."

The worthy Mardocheus went away, saying that he really could not allow me to dine by myself.

At dinner-time I talked only to Mardocheus, without glancing at Leah or paying any attention to the witty sallies she uttered to attract me. I only drank Orvieto.

At dessert Leah filled my glass with Scopolo, saying that if I did not drink it neither would she.

I replied, without looking at her, that I advised her only to drink water for the future, and that I wanted nothing at her hands.

Mardocheus, who liked wine, laughed and said I was right, and drank for three.

The weather continued bad, and I spent the rest of the day in writing, and after supper I retired and went to sleep.

Suddenly I was aroused by a slight noise.

"Who is there?" said I.

I heard Leah's voice, whispering in reply,

"'Tis I; I have not come to disturb you, but to justify myself."

So saying she lay down on the bed, but on the outside of the coverlet.

I was pleased with this extraordinary visit, for my sole desire was for vengeance, and I felt certain of being able to resist all her arts. I therefore told her politely enough that I considered her as already justified and that I should be obliged by her leaving me as I wanted to go to sleep.

"Not before you have heard what I have to say."

"Go on; I am listening to you."

Thereupon she began a discourse which I did not interrupt, and which lasted for a good hour.

She spoke very artfully, and after confessing she had done wrong she said that at my age I should have been ready to overlook the follies of a young and passionate girl. According to her it was all weakness, and pardonable at such an age.

"I swear I love you," said she, "and I would have given you good proof before now if I had not been so unfortunate as to love the young Christian you saw with me, while he does not care for me in the least; indeed I have to pay him.

"In spite of my passion," she continued, "I have never given him what a girl can give but once. I had not seen him for six months, and it was your fault that I sent for him, for you inflamed me with your pictures and strong wines."

The end of it all was that I ought to forget everything, and treat her kindly during the few days I was to remain there.

When she finished I did not allow myself to make any objection. I pretended to be convinced, assuring her that I felt I had been in the wrong in letting her see Aretin's figures, and that I would no longer evince any resentment towards her.

As her explanation did not seem likely to end in the way she wished, she went on talking about the weakness of the flesh, the strength of self-love which often hushes the voice of passion, etc., etc.; her aim being to persuade me that she loved me, and that her refusals had all been given with the idea of making my love the stronger.

No doubt I might have given her a great many answers, but I said nothing. I made up my mind to await the assault that I saw was impending, and then by refusing all her advances I reckoned on abasing her to the uttermost. Nevertheless, she made no motion; her hands were at rest, and she kept her face at a due distance from mine.

At last, tired out with the struggle, she left me pretending to be perfectly satisfied with what she had done.

As soon as she had gone, I congratulated myself on the fact that she had confined herself to verbal persuasion; for if she had gone further she would probably have achieved a complete victory, though we were in the dark.

I must mention that before she left me I had to promise to allow her to make my chocolate as usual.

Early the next morning she came for the stick of chocolate. She was in a complete state of negligee, and came in on tiptoe, though if she chose to look towards the bed she might have seen that I was wide awake.

I marked her artifices and her cunning, and resolved to be equal to all her wiles. When she brought the chocolate I noticed that there were two cups on the tray, and I said,—

"Then it is not true that you don't like chocolate?"

"I feel obliged to relieve you of all fear of being poisoned."

I noticed that she was now dressed with the utmost decency, while half an hour before she had only her chemise and petticoat her neck being perfectly bare. The more resolved she seemed to gain the victory, the more firmly I was determined to humiliate her, as it appeared to me the only other alternative would have been my shame and dishonour; and this turned me to stone.

In spite of my resolves, Leah renewed the attack at dinner, for, contrary to my orders, she served a magnificent foie gras, telling me that it was for herself, and that if she were poisoned she would die of pleasure; Mardocheus said he should like to die too, and began regaling himself on it with evident relish.

I could not help laughing, and announced my wish to taste the deadly food, and so we all of us were eating it.

"Your resolves are not strong enough to withstand seduction," said Leah. This remark piqued me, and I answered that she was imprudent to disclose her designs in such a manner, and that she would find my resolves strong enough when the time came.

A faint smile played about her lips.

"Try if you like," I said, "to persuade me to drink some Scopolo or Muscat. I meant to have taken some, but your taunt has turned me to steel. I mean to prove that when I make up my mind I never alter it."

"The strong-minded man never gives way," said Leah, "but the good-hearted man often lets himself be overpersuaded."

"Quite so, and the good-hearted girl refrains from taunting a man for his weakness for her."

I called the maid and told her to go to the Venetian consul's and get me some more Scopolo and Muscat. Leah piqued me once more by saying enthusiastically,—

"I am sure you are the most good-hearted of men as well as the firmest." Mardocheus, who could not make out what we meant, ate, drank, and laughed, and seemed pleased with everything.

In the afternoon I went out to a cafe in spite of the dreadful weather. I thought over Leah and her designs, feeling certain that she would pay me another nocturnal visit and renew the assault in force. I resolved to weaken myself with some common woman, if I could find one at all supportable.

A Greek who had taken me to a disgusting place a few days before, conducted me to another where he introduced me to a painted horror of a woman from whose very sight I fled in terror.

I felt angry that in a town like Ancona a man of some delicacy could not get his money's worth for his money, and went home, supped by myself, and locked the door after me.

The precaution, however, was useless.

A few minutes after I had shut the door, Leah knocked on the pretext that I had forgotten to give her the chocolate.

I opened the door and gave it her, and she begged me not to lock myself in, as she wanted to have an important and final interview.

"You can tell me now what you want to say."

"No, it will take some time, and I should not like to come till everyone is asleep. You have nothing to be afraid of; you are lord of yourself. You can go to bed in peace."

"I have certainly nothing to be afraid of, and to prove it to you I will leave the door open."

I felt more than ever certain of victory, and resolved not to blow out the candles, as my doing so might be interpreted into a confession of fear. Besides, the light would render my triumph and her humiliation more complete. With these thoughts I went to bed.

At eleven o'clock a slight noise told me that my hour had come. I saw Leah enter my room in her chemise and a light petticoat. She locked my door softly, and when I cried, "Well; what do you want with me?" she let her chemise and petticoat drop, and lay down beside me in a state of nature.

I was too much astonished to repulse her.

Leah was sure of victory, and without a word she threw herself upon me, pressing her lips to mine, and depriving me of all my faculties except one.

I utilised a short moment of reflection by concluding that I was a presumptuous fool, and that Leah was a woman with a most extensive knowledge of human nature.

In a second my caress became as ardent as hers, and after kissing her spheres of rose and alabaster I penetrated to the sanctuary of love, which, much to my astonishment, I found to be a virgin citadel.

There was a short silence, and then I said,—

"Dearest Leah, you oblige me to adore you; why did you first inspire me with hate? Are you not come here merely to humiliate me, to obtain an empty victory? If so, I forgive you; but you are in the wrong, for, believe me, enjoyment is sweeter far than vengeance."

"Nay, I have not come to achieve a shameful victory, but to give myself to you without reserve, to render you my conqueror and my king. Prove your love by making me happy, break down the barrier which I kept intact, despite its fragility and my ardour, and if this sacrifice does not convince you of my affection you must be the worst of men."

I had never heard more energetic opinions, and I had never seen a more voluptuous sight. I began the work, and while Leah aided me to the best of her ability, I forced the gate, and on Leah's face I read the most acute pain and pleasure mingled. In the first ecstasy of delight I felt her tremble in every limb.

As for me, my enjoyment was quite new; I was twenty again, but I had the self-restraint of my age, and treated Leah with delicacy, holding her in my arms till three o'clock in the morning. When I left her she was inundated and exhausted with pleasure, while I could do no more.

She left me full of gratitude, carrying the soaking linen away with her. I slept on till twelve o'clock.

When I awoke and saw her standing by my bedside with the gentle love of the day after the wedding, the idea of my approaching departure saddened me. I told her so, and she begged me to stay on as long as I could. I repeated that we would arrange everything when we met again at night.

We had a delicious dinner, for Mardocheus was bent on convincing me that he was no miser.

I spent the afternoon with the consul, and arranged that I should go on a Neapolitan man-of-war which was in quarantine at the time, and was to sail for Trieste.

As I should be obliged to pass another month at Ancona, I blessed the storm that had driven me back.

I gave the consul the gold snuff-box with which the Elector of Cologne had presented me, keeping the portrait as a memento. Three days later he handed me forty gold sequins, which was ample for my needs.

My stay in Ancona was costing me dear; but when I told Mardocheus that I should not be going for another month he declared he would no longer feed at my expense. Of course I did not insist. Leah still dined with me.

It has always been my opinion, though perhaps I may be mistaken, that the Jew was perfectly well aware of my relations with his daughter. Jews are usually very liberal on this article, possibly because they count on the child being an Israelite.

I took care that my dear Leah should have no reason to repent of our connection. How grateful and affectionate she was when I told her that I meant to stay another month! How she blessed the bad weather which had driven me back. We slept together every night, not excepting those nights forbidden by the laws of Moses.

I gave her the little gold heart, which might be worth ten sequins, but that would be no reward for the care she had taken of my linen. She also made me accept some splendid Indian handkerchiefs. Six years later I met her again at Pesaro.

I left Ancona on November 14th, and on the 15th I was at Trieste.





CHAPTER XXI

     Pittoni—Zaguri—The Procurator Morosini—The Venetian
     Consul—Gorice—The French Consul—Madame Leo—My Devotion
     to The State Inquisitors—Strasoldo—Madame Cragnoline—
     General Burghausen

The landlord asked me my name, we made our agreement, and I found myself very comfortably lodged. Next day I went to the post-office and found several letters which had been awaiting me for the last month. I opened one from M. Dandolo, and found an open enclosure from the patrician Marco Dona, addressed to Baron Pittoni, Chief of Police. On reading it, I found I was very warmly commended to the baron. I hastened to call on him, and gave him the letter, which he took but did not read. He told me that M. Donna had written to him about me, and that he would be delighted to do anything in his power for me.

I then took Mardocheus's letter to his friend Moses Levi. I had not the slightest idea that the letter had any reference to myself, so I gave it to the first clerk that I saw in the office.

Levi was an honest and an agreeable man, and the next day he called on me and offered me his services in the most cordial manner. He shewed me the letter I had delivered, and I was delighted to find that it referred to myself. The worthy Mardocheus begged him to give me a hundred sequins in case I needed any money, adding that any politeness shewn to me would be as if shewn to himself.

This behaviour on the part of Mardocheus filled me with gratitude, and reconciled me, so to speak, with the whole Jewish nation. I wrote him a letter of thanks, offering to serve him at Venice in any way I could.

I could not help comparing the cordiality of Levi's welcome with the formal and ceremonious reception of Baron Pittoni. The baron was ten or twelve years younger than I. He was a man of parts, and quite devoid of prejudice. A sworn foe of 'meum and tuum', and wholly incapable of economy, he left the whole care of his house to his valet, who robbed him, but the baron knew it and made no objection. He was a determined bachelor, a gallant, and the friend and patron of libertines. His chief defect was his forgetfulness and absence of mind, which made him mismanage important business.

He was reputed, though wrongly, to be a liar. A liar is a person who tells falsehoods intentionally, while if Pittoni told lies it was because he had forgotten the truth. We became good friends in the course of a month, and we have remained friends to this day.

I wrote to my friends at Venice, announcing my arrival at Trieste, and for the next ten days I kept my room, busied in putting together the notes I had made on Polish events since the death of Elizabeth Petrovna. I meant to write a history of the troubles of unhappy Poland up to its dismemberment, which was taking place at the epoch in which I was writing.

I had foreseen all this when the Polish Diet recognized the dying czarina as Empress of all the Russians, and the Elector of Brandenburg as King of Prussia, and I proceeded with my history; but only the first three volumes were published, owing to the printers breaking the agreement.

The four last volumes will be found in manuscript after my death, and anyone who likes may publish them. But I have become indifferent to all this as to many other matters since I have seen Folly crowned king of the earth.

To-day there is no such country as Poland, but it might still be in existence if it had not been for the ambition of the Czartoryski family, whose pride had been humiliated by Count Bruhl, the prime minister. To gain vengeance Prince Augustus Czartoryski ruined his country. He was so blinded by passion that he forgot that all actions have their inevitable results.

Czartoryski had determined not only to exclude the House of Saxony from the succession, but to dethrone the member of that family who was reigning. To do this the help of the Czarina and of the Elector of Brandenburg was necessary, so he made the Polish Diet acknowledge the one as Empress of all the Russians, and the other as King of Prussia. The two sovereigns would not treat with the Polish Commonwealth till this claim had been satisfied; but the Commonwealth should never have granted these titles, for Poland itself possessed most of the Russias, and was the true sovereign of Prussia, the Elector of Brandenburg being only Duke of Prussia in reality.

Prince Czartoryski, blinded by the desire of vengeance, persuaded the Diet that to give the two sovereigns these titles would be merely a form, and that they would never become anything more than honorary. This might be so, but if Poland had possessed far-seeing statesmen they would have guessed that an honorary title would end in the usurpation of the whole country.

The Russian palatin had the pleasure of seeing his nephew Stanislas Poniatowski on the throne.

I myself told him that these titles gave a right, and that the promise not to make any use of them was a mere delusion. I added jokingly—for I was obliged to adopt a humorous tone—that before long Europe would take pity on Poland, which had to bear the heavy weight of all the Russias and the kingdom of Prussia as well, and the Commonwealth would find itself relieved of all these charges.

My prophecy has been fulfilled. The two princes whose titles were allowed have torn Poland limb from limb; it is now absorbed in Russia and Prussia.

The second great mistake made by Poland was in not remembering the apologue of the man and the horse when the question of protection presented itself.

The Republic of Rome became mistress of the world by protecting other nations.

Thus Poland came to ruin through ambition, vengeance, and folly—but folly most of all.

The same reason lay at the root of the French Revolution. Louis XVI. paid the penalty of his folly with his life. If he had been a wise ruler he would still be on the throne, and France would have escaped the fury of the Revolutionists. France is sick; in any other country this sickness might be remedied, but I would not wonder if it proved incurable in France.

Certain emotional persons are moved to pity by the emigrant French nobles, but for my part I think them only worthy of contempt. Instead of parading their pride and their disgrace before the eyes of foreign nations, they should have rallied round their king, and either have saved the throne or died under its ruins. What will become of France? It was hard to say; but it is certain that a body without a head cannot live very long, for reason is situate in the head.

On December 1st Baron Pittoni begged me to call on him as some one had come from Venice on purpose to see me.

I dressed myself hastily, and went to the baron's, where I saw a fine-looking man of thirty-five or forty, elegantly dressed. He looked at me with the liveliest interest.

"My heart tells me," I began, "that your excellence's name is Zaguri?"

"Exactly so, my dear Casanova. As soon as my friend Dandolo told me of your arrival here, I determined to come and congratulate you on your approaching recall, which will take place either this year or the next, as I hope to see two friends of mine made Inquisitors. You may judge of my friendship for you when I tell you that I am an 'avogador', and that there is a law forbidding such to leave Venice. We will spend to-day and to-morrow together."

I replied in a manner to convince him that I was sensible of the honour he had done me; and I heard Baron Pittoni begging me to excuse him for not having come to see me. He said he had forgotten all about it, and a handsome old man begged his excellence to ask me to dine with him, though he had not the pleasure of knowing me.

"What!" said Zaguri. "Casanova has been here for the last ten days, and does not know the Venetian consul?"

I hastened to speak.

"It's my own fault," I observed, "I did not like calling on this gentleman, for fear he might think me contraband."

The consul answered wittily that I was not contraband but in quarantine, pending my return to my native land; and that in the meanwhile his house would always be open to me, as had been the house of the Venetian consul at Ancona.

In this manner he let me know that he knew something about me, and I was not at all sorry for it.

Marco Monti, such was the consul's name, was a man of parts and much experience; a pleasant companion and a great conversationalist, fond of telling amusing stories with a grave face—in fact, most excellent company.

I was something of a 'conteur' myself, and we soon became friendly rivals in telling anecdotes. In spite of his thirty additional years I was a tolerable match for him, and when we were in a room there was no question of gaining to kill the time.

We became fast friends, and I benefited a good deal by his offices during the two years I spent in Trieste, and I have always thought that he had a considerable share in obtaining my recall. That was my great object in those days; I was a victim to nostalgia, or home sickness.

With the Swiss and the Sclavs it is really a fatal disease, which carries them off if they are not sent home immediately. Germans are subject to this weakness also; whilst the French suffer very little, and Italians not much more from the complaint.

No rule, however, lacks its exception, and I was one. I daresay I should have got over my nostalgia if I had treated it with contempt, and then I should not have wasted ten years of my life in the bosom of my cruel stepmother Venice.

I dined with M. Zaguri at the consul's, and I was invited to dine with the governor, Count Auersperg, the next day.

The visit from a Venetian 'avogador' made me a person of great consideration. I was no longer looked upon as an exile, but as one who had successfully escaped from illegal confinement.

The day after I accompanied M. Zaguri to Gorice, where he stayed three days to enjoy the hospitality of the nobility. I was included in all their invitations, and I saw that a stranger could live very pleasantly at Gorice.

I met there a certain Count Cobenzl, who may be alive now—a man of wisdom, generosity, and the vastest learning, and yet without any kind of pretention. He gave a State dinner to M. Zaguri, and I had the pleasure of meeting there three or four most charming ladies. I also met Count Tomes, a Spaniard whose father was in in the Austrian service. He had married at sixty, and had five children all as ugly as himself. His daughter was a charming girl in spite of her plainness; she evidently got her character from the mother's side. The eldest son, who was ugly and squinted, was a kind of pleasant madman, but he was also a liar, a profligate, a boaster, and totally devoid of discretion. In spite of these defects he was much sought after in society as he told a good tale and made people laugh. If he had been a student, he would have been a distinguished scholar, as his memory was prodigious. He it was who vainly guaranteed the agreement I made with Valerio Valeri for printing my "History of Poland." I also met at Gorice a Count Coronini, who was known in learned circles as the author of some Latin treatises on diplomacy. Nobody read his books, but everybody agreed that he was a very learned man.

I also met a young man named Morelli, who had written a history of the place and was on the point of publishing the first volume. He gave me his MS. begging me to make any corrections that struck me as desirable. I succeeded in pleasing him, as I gave him back his work without a single note or alteration of any kind, and thus he became my friend.

I became a great friend of Count Francis Charles Coronini, who was a man of talents. He had married a Belgian lady, but not being able to agree they had separated and he passed his time in trifling intrigues, hunting, and reading the papers, literary and political. He laughed at those sages who declared that there was not one really happy person in the world, and he supported his denial by the unanswerable dictum:

"I myself am perfectly happy."

However, as he died of a tumor in the head at the age of thirty-five, he probably acknowledged his mistake in the agonies of death.

There is no such thing as a perfectly happy or perfectly unhappy man in the world. One has more happiness in his life and another more unhappiness, and the same circumstance may produce widely different effects on individuals of different temperaments.

It is not a fact that virtue ensures happiness for the exercise of some virtues implies suffering, and suffering is incompatible with happiness.

My readers may be aware that I am not inclined to make mental pleasure pre-eminent and all sufficing. It may be a fine thing to have a clear conscience, but I cannot see that it would at all relieve the pangs of hunger.

Baron Pittoni and myself escorted Zaguri to the Venetian border, and we then returned to Trieste together.

In three or four days Pittoni took me everywhere, including the club where none but persons of distinction were admitted. This club was held at the inn where I was staying.

Amongst the ladies, the most noteworthy was the wife of the merchant, David Riguelin, who was a Swabian by birth.

Pittoni was in love with her and continued so till her death. His suit lasted for twelve years, and like Petrarch, he still sighed, still hoped, but never succeeded. Her name was Zanetta, and besides her beauty she had the charm of being an exquisite singer and a polished hostess. Still more noteworthy, however, was the unvarying sweetness and equability of her disposition.

I did not want to know her long before recognizing that she was absolutely impregnable. I told Pittoni so, but all in vain; he still fed on empty hope.

Zanetta had very poor health, though no one would have judged so from her appearance, but it was well known to be the case. She died at an early age.

A few days after M. Zaguri's departure, I had a note from the consul informing me that the Procurator Morosini was stopping in my inn, and advising me to call on him if I knew him.

I was infinitely obliged for this advice, for M. Morosini was a personage of the greatest importance. He had known me from childhood, and the reader may remember that he had presented me to Marshal Richelieu, at Fontainebleau, in 1750.

I dressed myself as if I had been about to speak to a monarch, and sent in a note to his room.

I had not long to wait; he came out and welcomed me most graciously, telling me how delighted he was to see me again.

When he heard the reason of my being at Trieste, and how I desired to return to my country, he assured me he would do all in his power to obtain me my wish. He thanked me for the care I had taken of his nephew at Florence, and kept me all the day while I told him my principal adventures.

He was glad to hear that M. Zaguri was working for me, and said that they must concert the mater together. He commended me warmly to the consul, who was delighted to be able to inform the Tribunal of the consideration with which M. Morosini treated me.

After the procurator had gone I began to enjoy life at Trieste, but in strict moderation and with due regard for economy, for I had only fifteen sequins a month. I abjured play altogether.

Every day I dined with one of the circle of my friends, who were the Venetian consul, the French consul (an eccentric but worthy man who kept a good cook), Pittoni, who kept an excellent table, thanks to his man who knew what was to his own interests, and several others.

As for the pleasures of love I enjoyed them in moderation, taking care of my purse and of my health.

Towards the end of the carnival I went to a masked ball at the theatre, and in the course of the evening a harlequin came up and presented his columbine to me. They both began to play tricks on me. I was pleased with the columbine, and felt a strong desire to be acquainted with her. After some vain researches the French consul, M. de St. Sauveur, told me that the harlequin was a young lady of rank, and that the columbine was a handsome young man.

"If you like," he added, "I will introduce you to the harlequin's family, and I am sure you will appreciate her charms when you see her as a girl."

As they persisted in their jokes I was able, without wounding decency overmuch, to convince myself that the consul was right on the question of sex; and when the ball was over I said I should be obliged by his introducing me as he had promised. He promised to do so the day after Ash Wednesday.

Thus I made the acquaintance of Madame Leo, who was still pretty and agreeable, though she had lived very freely in her younger days. There was her husband, a son, and six daughters, all handsome, but especially the harlequin with whom I was much taken. Naturally I fell in love with her, but as I was her senior by thirty years, and had begun my addresses in a tone of fatherly affection, a feeling of shame prevented my disclosing to her the real state of my heart. Four years later she told me herself that she had guessed my real feelings, and had been amused by my foolish restraint.

A young girl learns deeper lessons from nature than we men can acquire with all our experience.

At the Easter of 1773 Count Auersperg, the Governor of Trieste, was recalled to Vienna, and Count Wagensberg took his place. His eldest daughter, the Countess Lantieri, who was a great beauty, inspired me with a passion which would have made me unhappy if I had not succeeded in hiding it under a veil of the profoundest respect.

I celebrated the accession of the new governor by some verses which I had printed, and in which, while lauding the father, I paid conspicuous homage to the charms of the daughter.

My tribute pleased them, and I became an intimate friend of the count's. He placed confidence in me with the idea of my using it to my own advantage, for though he did not say so openly I divined his intention.

The Venetian consul had told me that he had been vainly endeavouring for the last four years to get the Government of Trieste to arrange for the weekly diligence from Trieste to Mestre to pass by Udine, the capital of the Venetian Friuli.

"This alteration," he had said, "would greatly benefit the commerce of the two states; but the Municipal Council of Trieste opposes it for a plausible but ridiculous reason."

These councillors, in the depth of their wisdom, said that if the Venetian Republic desired the alteration it would evidently be to their advantage, and consequently to the disadvantage of Trieste.

The consul assured me that if I could in any way obtain the concession it would weigh strongly in my favour with the State Inquisitors, and even in the event of my non-success he would represent my exertions in the most favourable light.

I promised I would think the matter over.

Finding myself high in the governor's favour, I took the opportunity of addressing myself to him on the subject. He had heard about the matter, and thought the objection of the Town Council absurd and even monstrous; but he professed his inability to do anything himself.

"Councillor Rizzi," said he, "is the most obstinate of them all, and has led astray the rest with his sophisms. But do you send me in a memorandum shewing that the alteration will have a much better effect on the large commerce of Trieste than on the comparatively trifling trade of Udine. I shall send it into the Council without disclosing the authorship, but backing it with my authority, and challenging the opposition to refute your arguments. Finally, if they do not decide reasonably I shall proclaim before them all my intention to send the memoir to Vienna with my opinion on it."

I felt confident of success, and wrote out a memoir full of incontrovertible reasons in favour of the proposed change.

My arguments gained the victory; the Council were persuaded, and Count Wagensberg handed me the decree, which I immediately laid before the Venetian consul. Following his advice, I wrote to the secretary of the Tribunal to the effect that I was happy to have given the Government a proof of my zeal, and an earnest of my desire to be useful to my country and to be worthy of being recalled.

Out of regard for me the count delayed the promulgation of the decree for a week, so that the people of Udine heard the news from Venice before it had reached Trieste, and everybody thought that the Venetian Government had achieved its ends by bribery. The secretary of the Tribunal did not answer my letter, but he wrote to the consul ordering him to give me a hundred ducats, and to inform me that this present was to encourage me to serve the Republic. He added that I might hope great things from the mercy of the Inquisitors if I succeeded in negotiating the Armenian difficulty.

The consul gave me the requisite information, and my impression was that my efforts would be in vain; however, I resolved to make the attempt.

Four Armenian monks had left the Convent of St. Lazarus at Venice, having found the abbot's tyranny unbearable. They had wealthy relations at Constantinople, and laughed the excommunication of their late tyrant to scorn. They sought asylum at Vienna, promising to make themselves useful to the State by establishing an Armenian press to furnish all the Armenian convents with books. They engaged to sink a capital of a million florins if they were allowed to settle in Austria, to found their press, and to buy or build a convent, where they proposed to live in community but without any abbot.

As might be expected the Austrian Government did not hesitate to grant their request; it did more, it gave them special privileges.

The effect of this arrangement would be to deprive Venice of a lucrative trade, and to place it in the emperor's dominions. Consequently the Viennese Court sent them to Trieste with a strong recommendation to the governor, and they had been there for the past six months.

The Venetian Government, of course, wished to entice them back to Venice. They had vainly induced their late abbot to make handsome offers to them, and they then proceeded by indirect means, endeavoring to stir up obstacles in their way, and to disgust them with Trieste.

The consul told me plainly that he had not touched the matter, thinking success to be out of the question; and he predicted that if I attempted it I should find myself in the dilemma of having to solve the insoluble. I felt the force of the consul's remark when I reflected that I could not rely on the governor's assistance, or even speak to him on the subject. I saw that I must not let him suspect my design, for besides his duty to his Government he was a devoted friend to the interests of Trieste, and for this reason a great patron of the monks.

In spite of these obstacles my nostalgia made me make acquaintance with these monks under pretence of inspecting their Armenian types, which they were already casting. In a week or ten days I became quite intimate with them. One day I said that they were bound in honour to return to the obedience of their abbot, if only to annul his sentence of excommunication.

The most obstinate of them told me that the abbot had behaved more like a despot than a father, and had thus absolved them from their obedience. "Besides," he said, "no rascally priest has any right to cut off good Christians from communion with the Saviour, and we are sure that our patriarch will give us absolution and send us some more monks."

I could make no objection to these arguments; however, I asked on another occasion on what conditions they would return to Venice.

The most sensible of them said that in the first place the abbot must withdraw the four hundred thousand ducats which he had entrusted to the Marquis Serpos at four per cent.

This sum was the capital from which the income of the Convent of St. Lazarus was derived. The abbot had no right whatever to dispose of it, even with the consent of a majority among the monks. If the marquis became bankrupt the convent would be utterly destitute. The marquis was an Armenian diamond merchant, and a great friend of the abbot's.

I then asked the monks what were the other conditions, and they replied that these were some matters of discipline which might easily be settled; they would give me a written statement of their grievances as soon as I could assure them that the Marquis Serpos was no longer in possession of their funds.

I embodied my negotiations in writing, and sent the document to the Inquisitors by the consul. In six weeks I received an answer to the effect that the abbot saw his way to arranging the money difficulty, but that he must see a statement of the reforms demanded before doing so. This decided me to have nothing to do with the affair, but a few words from Count Wagensberg made me throw it up without further delay. He gave me to understand that he knew of my attempts to reconcile the four monks with their abbot, and he told me that he had been sorry to hear the report, as my success would do harm to a country where I lived and where I was treated as a friend.

I immediately told him the whole story, assuring him that I would never have begun the negotiation if I had not been certain of failure, for I heard on undoubted authority that Serpos could not possibly restore the four hundred thousand ducats.

This explanation thoroughly dissipated any cloud that might have arisen between us.

The Armenians bought Councillor Rizzi's house for thirty thousand florins. Here they established themselves, and I visited them from time to time without saying anything more about Venice.

Count Wagensberg gave me another proof of his friendship. Unhappily for me he died during the autumn of the same year, at the age of fifty.

One morning he summoned me, and I found him perusing a document he had just received from Vienna. He told me he was sorry I did not read German, but that he would tell me the contents of the paper.

"Here," he continued, "you will be able to serve your country without in any way injuring Austria.

"I am going to confide in you a State secret (it being understood of course that my name is never to be mentioned) which ought to be greatly to your advantage, whether you succeed or fail; at all hazards your patriotism, your prompt action, and your cleverness in obtaining such information will be made manifest. Remember you must never divulge your sources of information; only tell your Government that you are perfectly sure of the authenticity of the statement you make.

"You must know," he continued, "that all the commodities we export to Lombardy pass through Venice where they have to pay duty. Such has long been the custom, and it may still be so if the Venetian Government will consent to reduce the duty of four per cent to two per cent.

"A plan has been brought before the notice of the Austrian Court, and it has been eagerly accepted. I have received certain orders on the matter, which I shall put into execution without giving any warning to the Venetian Government.

"In future all goods for Lombardy will be embarked here and disembarked at Mezzola without troubling the Republic. Mezzola is in the territories of the Duke of Modem; a ship can cross the gulf in the night, and our goods will be placed in storehouses, which will be erected.

"In this way we shall shorten the journey and decrease the freights, and the Modenese Government will be satisfied with a trifling sum, barely equivalent to a fourth of what we pay to Venice.

"In spite of all this, I feel sure that if the Venetian Government wrote to the Austrian Council of Commerce expressing their willingness to take two per cent henceforth, the proposal would be accepted, for we Austrians dislike novelties.

"I shall not lay the matter before the Town Council for four or five days, as there is no hurry for us; but you had better make haste, that you may be the first to inform your Government of the matter.

"If everything goes as I should wish I hope to receive an order from Vienna suspending the decree just as I am about to make it public."

Next morning the governor was delighted to hear that everything had been finished before midnight. He assured me that the consul should not have official information before Saturday. In the meanwhile the consul's uneasy state of mind was quite a trouble to me, for I could not do anything to set his mind at ease.

Saturday came and Councillor Rizzi told me the news at the club. He seemed in high spirits over it, and said that the loss of Venice was the gain of Trieste. The consul came in just then, and said that the loss would be a mere trifle for Venice, while the first-shipwreck would cost more to Trieste than ten years' duty. The consul seemed to enjoy the whole thing, but that was the part he had to play. In all small trading towns like Trieste, people make a great account of trifles.

I went to dine with the consul, who privately confessed his doubts and fears on the matter.

I asked him how the Venetians would parry the blow, and he replied,—

"They will have a number of very learned consultations, and then they will do nothing at all, and the Austrians will send their goods wherever they please."

"But the Government is such a wise one."

"Or rather has the reputation of wisdom."

"Then you think it lives on its reputation?"

"Yes; like all your mouldy institutions, they continue to be simply because they have been. Old Governments are like those ancient dykes which are rotten at the base, and only stay in position by their weight and bulk."

The consul was in the right. He wrote to his chief the same day, and in the course of the next week he heard that their excellencies had received information of the matter some time ago by extraordinary channels.

For the present his duties would be confined to sending in any additional information on the same subject.

"I told you so," said the consul; "now, what do you think of the wisdom of our sages?"

"I think Bedlam of Charenton were their best lodging."

In three weeks the consul received orders to give me another grant of a hundred ducats, and to allow me ten sequins a month, to encourage me to deserve well of the State.

From that time I felt sure I should be allowed to return in the course of the year, but I was mistaken, for I had to wait till the year following.

This new present, and the monthly payment of ten sequins put me at my ease, for I had expensive tastes of which I could not cure myself. I felt pleased at the thought that I was now in the pay of the Tribunal which had punished me, and which I had defied. It seemed to me a triumph, and I determined to do all in my power for the Republic.

Here I must relate an amusing incident, which delighted everyone in Trieste.

It was in the beginning of summer. I had been eating sardines by the sea-shore, and when I came home at ten o'clock at night I was astonished to be greeted by a girl whom I recognized as Count Strasoldo's maid.

The count was a handsome young man, but poor like most of that name; he was fond of expensive pleasures, and was consequently heavily in debt. He had a small appointment which brought him in an income of six hundred florins, and he had not the slightest difficulty in spending a year's pay in three months. He had agreeable manners and a generous disposition, and I had supped with him in company with Baron Pittoni several times. He had a girl in his service who was exquisitely pretty, but none of the count's friends attempted her as he was very jealous. Like the rest, I had seen and admired her, I had congratulated the count on the possession of such a treasure in her presence, but I had never addressed a word to her.

Strasoldo had just been summoned to Vienna by Count Auersperg who liked him, and had promised to do what he could for him. He had got an employment in Poland, his furniture had been sold, he had taken leave of everyone, and nobody doubted that he would take his pretty maid with him. I thought so too, for I had been to wish him a pleasant journey that morning, and my astonishment at finding the girl in my room may be imagined.

"What do you want, my dear?" I asked.

"Forgive me, sir, but I don't want to go with Strasoldo, and I thought you would protect me. Nobody will be able to guess where I am, and Strasoldo will be obliged to go by himself. You will not be so cruel as to drive me away?"

"No, dearest."

"I promise you I will go away to-morrow, for Strasoldo is going to leave at day-break."

"My lovely Leuzica (this was her name), no one would refuse you an asylum, I least of all. You are safe here, and nobody shall come in without your leave. I am only too happy that you came to me, but if it is true that the count is your lover you may be sure he will not go so easily. He will stay the whole of to-morrow at least, in the hope of finding you again."

"No doubt he will look for me everywhere but here. Will you promise not to make me go with him even if he guesses that I am with you?"

"I swear I will not."

"Then I am satisfied."

"But you will have to share my bed."

"If I shall not inconvenience you, I agree with all my heart."

"You shall see whether you inconvenience me or not. Undress, quick! But where are your things?"

"All that I have is in a small trunk behind the count's carriage, but I don't trouble myself about it."

"The poor count must be raging at this very moment."

"No, for he will not come home till midnight. He is supping with Madame Bissolotti, who is in love with him."

In the meantime Leuzica had undressed and got into bed. In a moment I was beside her, and after the severe regimen of the last eight months I spent a delicious night in her arms, for of late my pleasures had been few.

Leuzica was a perfect beauty, and worthy to be a king's mistress; and if I had been rich I would have set up a household that I might retain her in my service.

We did not awake till seven o'clock. She got up, and on looking out of the window saw Strasoldo's carriage waiting at the door.

I confronted her by saying that as long as she liked to stay with me no one could force her away.

I was vexed that I had no closet in my room, as I could not hide her from the waiter who would bring us coffee. We accordingly dispensed with breakfast, but I had to find out some way of feeding her. I thought I had plenty of time before me, but I was wrong.

At ten o'clock I saw Strasoldo and his friend Pittoni coming into the inn. They spoke to the landlord, and seemed to be searching the whole place, passing from one room to another.

I laughed, and told Leuzica that they were looking for her, and that our turn would doubtless come before long.

"Remember your promise," said she.

"You may be sure of that."

The tone in which this remark was delivered comforted her, and she exclaimed,—

"Well; well, let them come; they will get nothing by it."

I heard footsteps approaching, and went out, closing the door behind me, and begging them to excuse my not asking them in, as there was a contraband commodity in my room.

"Only tell me that it is not my maid," said Strasoldo, in a pitiable voice. "We are sure she is here, as the sentinel at the gate saw her come in at ten o'clock."

"You are right, the fair Leuzica is at this moment in my room. I have given her my word of honour that no violence shall be used, and you may be sure I shall keep my word."

"I shall certainly not attempt any violence, but I am sure she would come of her own free will if I could speak to her."

"I will ask her if she wishes to see you. Wait a moment."

Leuzica had been listening to our conversation, and when I opened the door she told me that I could let them in.

As soon as Strasoldo appeared she asked him proudly if she was under any obligations to him, if she had stolen anything from him, and if she was not perfectly free to leave him when she liked.

The poor count replied mildly that on the contrary it was he who owed her a year's wages and had her box in his possession, but that she should not have left him without giving any reason.

"The only reason is that I don't want to go to Vienna," she replied. "I told you so a week ago. If you are an honest man you will leave me my trunk, and as to my wages you can send them to me at my aunt's at Laibach if you haven't got any money now."

I pitied Strasoldo from the bottom of my heart; he prayed and entreated, and finally wept like a child. However, Pittoni roused my choler by saying that I ought to drive the slut out of my room.

"You are not the man to tell me what I ought and what I ought not to do," I replied, "and after I have received her in my apartments you ought to moderate your expressions."

Seeing that I stood on my dignity he laughed, and asked me if I had fallen in love with her in so short a time.

Strasoldo here broke in by saying he was sure she had not slept with me.

"That's where you are mistaken," said she, "for there's only one bed, and I did not sleep on the floor."

They found prayers and reproaches alike useless and left us at noon. Leuzica was profuse in her expressions of gratitude to me.

There was no longer any mystery, so I boldly ordered dinner for two, and promised that she should remain with me till the count had left Trieste.

At three o'clock the Venetian consul came, saying that Count Strasoldo had begged him to use his good offices with me to persuade me to deliver up the fair Leuzica.

"You must speak to the girl herself," I replied; "she came here and stays here of her own free will."

When the worthy man had heard the girl's story he went away, saying that we had the right on our side.

In the evening a porter brought her trunk, and at this she seemed touched but not repentant.

Leuzica supped with me and again shared my couch. The count left Trieste at day-break.

As soon as I was sure that he was gone, I took a carriage and escorted the fair Leuzica two stages on her way to Laibach. We dined together, and I left her in the care of a friend of hers.

Everybody said I had acted properly, and even Pittoni confessed that in my place he would have done the same.

Poor Strasoldo came to a bad end. He got into debt, committed peculation, and had to escape into Turkey and embrace Islam to avoid the penalty of death.

About this time the Venetian general, Palmanova, accompanied by the procurator Erizzo, came to Trieste to visit the governor, Count Wagensberg. In the afternoon the count presented me to the patricians who seemed astonished to see me at Trieste.

The procurator asked me if I amused myself as well as I had done at Paris sixteen years ago, and I told him that sixteen years more, and a hundred thousand francs less, forced me to live in a different fashion. While we were talking, the consul came in to announce that the felucca was ready. Madame de Lantieri as well as her father pressed me to join the party.

I gave a bow, which might mean either no or yes, and asked the consul what the party was. He told me that they were going to see a Venetian man-of-war at anchor in the harbor; his excellence there being the captain I immediately turned to the countess and smilingly professed my regret that I was unable to set foot on Venetian soil.

Everybody exclaimed at me,—

"You have nothing to fear. You are with honest people. Your suspicion is quite offensive."

"That is all very fine, ladies and gentlemen, and I will come with all my heart, if your excellences will assure me that my joining this little party will not be known to the State Inquisitors possibly by to-morrow."

This was enough. Everybody looked at me in silence, and no objections could be found to my argument.

The captain of the vessel, who did not know me, spoke a few whispered words to the others, and then they left.

The next day the consul told me that the captain had praised my prudence in declining to go on board, as if anyone had chanced to tell him my name and my case whilst I was on his ship, it would have been his duty to detain me.

When I told the governor of this remark he replied gravely that he should not have allowed the ship to leave the harbour.

I saw the procurator Erizzo the same evening, and he congratulated me on my discretion, telling me he would take care to let the Tribunal know how I respected its decisions.

About this time I had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful Venetian, who visited Trieste with several of her admirers. She was of the noble family of Bon, and had married Count Romili de Bergamo, who left her free to do whatever she liked. She drew behind her triumphal chariot an old general, Count Bourghausen, a famous rake who had deserted Mars for the past ten years in order to devote his remaining days to the service of Venus. He was a delightful man, and we became friends. Ten years later he was of service to me, as my readers will find in the next volume, which may perhaps be the last.





CHAPTER XXII

     Some Adventures at Trieste—I Am of Service to the Venetian
     Government—My Expedition to Gorice and My Return to
     Trieste—I Find Irene as an Actress and Expert Gamester

Some of the ladies of Trieste thought they would like to act a French play, and I was made stage manager. I had not only to choose the pieces, but to distribute the parts, the latter being a duty of infinite irksomeness.

All the actresses were new to the boards, and I had immense trouble in hearing them repeat their parts, which they seemed unable to learn by heart. It is a well-known fact that the revolution which is really wanted in Italy is in female education. The very best families with few exceptions are satisfied with shutting up their daughters in a convent for several years till the time comes for them to marry some man whom they never see till the eve or the day of their marriage. As a consequence we have the 'cicisbeo', and in Italy as in France the idea that our nobles are the sons of their nominal fathers is a purely conventional one.

What do girls learn in convents, especially in Italian convents? A few mechanical acts of devotion and outward forms, very little real religion, a good deal of deceit, often profligate habits, a little reading and writing, many useless accomplishments, small music and less drawing, no history, no geography or mythology, hardly any mathematics, and nothing to make a girl a good wife and a good mother.

As for foreign languages, they are unheard of; our own Italian is so soft that any other tongue is hard to acquire, and the 'dolce far niente' habit is an obstacle to all assiduous study.

I write down these truths in spite of my patriotism. I know that if any of my fellow-countrywomen come to read me they will be very angry; but I shall be beyond the reach of all anger.

To return to our theatricals. As I could not make my actresses get their parts letter perfect, I became their prompter, and found out by experience all the ungratefulness of the position.

The actors never acknowledged their debt to the prompter, and put down to his account all the mistakes they make.

A Spanish doctor is almost as badly off; if his patient recovers, the cure is set down to the credit of one saint or another; but if he dies, the physician is blamed for his unskilful treatment.

A handsome negress, who served the prettiest of my actresses to whom I shewed great attentions, said to me one day,—

"I can't make out how you can be so much in love with my mistress, who is as white as the devil."

"Have you never loved a white man?" I asked.

"Yes," said she, "but only because I had no negro, to whom I should certainly have given the preference."

Soon after the negress became mine, and I found out the falsity of the axiom, 'Sublata lucerna nullum discrimen inter feminas', for even in the darkness a man would know a black woman from a white one.

I feel quite sure myself that the negroes are a distinct species from ourselves. There is one essential difference, leaving the colour out of account—namely, that an African woman can either conceive or not, and can conceive a boy or a girl. No doubt my readers will disbelieve this assertion, but their incredulity would cease if I instructed them in the mysterious science of the negresses.

Count Rosenberg, grand chamberlain of the emperor, came on a visit to Trieste in company with an Abbe Casti, whose acquaintance I wished to make on account of some extremely blasphemous poems he had written. However, I was disappointed; and instead of a man of parts, I found the abbe to be an impudent worthless fellow, whose only merit was a knack of versification.

Count Rosenberg took the abbe with him, because he was useful in the capacities of a fool and a pimp-occupations well suited to his morals, though by no means agreeable to his ecclesiastical status. In those days syphilis had not completely destroyed his uvula.

I heard that this shameless profligate, this paltry poetaster, had been named poet to the emperor. What a dishonour to the memory of the great Metastasio, a man free from all vices, adorned with all virtues, and of the most singular ability.

Casti had neither a fine style, nor a knowledge of dramatic requirements, as appears from two or three comic operas composed by him, in which the reader will find nothing but foolish buffooneries badly put together. In one of these comic operas he makes use of slander against King Theodore and the Venetian Republic, which he turns into ridicule by means of pitiful lies.

In another piece called The Cave of Trophonius, Casti made himself the laughing-stock of the literary world by making a display of useless learning which contributes nothing towards the plot.

Among the persons of quality who came to Gorice, I met a certain Count Torriano, who persuaded me to spend the autumn with him at a country house of his six miles from Gorice.

If I had listened to the voice of my good genius I should certainly never have gone.

The count was under thirty, and was not married. He could not exactly be called ugly in spite of his hangdog countenance, in which I saw the outward signs of cruelty, disloyalty, treason, pride, brutal sensuality, hatred, and jealousy. The mixture of bad qualities was such an appalling one that I thought his physiognomy was at fault, and the goods better than the sign. He asked me to come and see him so graciously that I concluded that the man gave the lie to his face.

I asked about him before accepting the invitation, and I heard nothing but good. People certainly said he was fond of the fair sex, and was a fierce avenger of any wrong done to him, but not thinking either of these characteristics unworthy of a gentleman I accepted his invitation. He told me that he would expect me to meet him at Gorice on the first day of September, and that the next day we would leave for his estate.

In consequence of Torriano's invitation I took leave of everybody, especially of Count Wagensberg, who had a serious attack of that malady which yields so easily to mercury when it is administered by a skilled hand, but which kills the unfortunate who falls amongst quacks. Such was the fate of the poor count; he died a month after I had left Trieste.

I left Trieste in the morning, dined at Proseco, and reached Gorice in good time. I called at Count Louis Torriano's mansion, but was told he was out. However, they allowed me to deposit what little luggage I had when I informed them that the count had invited me. I then went to see Count Torres, and stayed with him till supper-time.

When I got back to the count's I was told he was in the country, and would not be back till the next day, and that in the meantime my trunks had been taken to the inn where a room and supper had been ordered.

I was extremely astonished, and went to the inn, where I was served with a bad supper in an uncomfortable room; however, I supposed that the count had been unable to accommodate me in his house, and I excused him though I wished he had forewarned me. I could not understand how a gentleman who has a house and invites a friend can be without a room wherein to lodge him.

Next morning Count Torriano came to see me, thanked me for my punctuality, congratulated himself on the pleasure he expected to derive from my society, and told me he was very sorry we could not start for two days, as a suit was to be heard the next day between himself and a rascally old farmer who was trying to cheat him.

"Well, well," said I, "I will go and hear the pleadings; it will be an amusement for me."

Soon after he took his leave, without asking me where I intended dining, or apologizing for not having accommodated me himself.

I could not make him out; I thought he might have taken offence at my descending at his doors without having given him any warning.

"Come, come, Casanova," I said to myself, "you may be all abroad. Knowledge of character is an unfathomable gulf. We thought we had studied it deeply, but there is still more to learn; we shall see. He may have said nothing out of delicacy. I should be sorry to be found wanting in politeness, though indeed I am puzzled to know what I have done amiss."

I dined by myself, made calls in the afternoon, and supped with Count Tomes. I told him that I promised myself the pleasure of hearing the eloquence of the bar of Gorice the next day.

"I shall be there, too," said he, "as I am curious to see what sort of a face Torriano will put on it, if the countryman wins. I know something about the case," he continued, "and Torriano is sure of victory, unless the documents attesting the farmer's indebtedness happen to be forgeries. On the other hand, the farmer ought to win unless it can be shewn that the receipts signed by Torriano are forgeries. The farmer has lost in the first court and in the second court, but he has paid the costs and appealed from both, though he is a poor man. If he loses to-morrow he will not only be a ruined man, but be sentenced to penal servitude, while if he wins, Torriano should be sent to the galleys, together with his counsel, who has deserved this fate many times before."

I knew Count Tomes passed for somewhat of a scandal-monger, so his remarks made little impression on me beyond whetting my curiosity. The next day I was one of the first to appear in the court, where I found the bench, plaintiff and defendant, and the barristers, already assembled. The farmer's counsel was an old man who looked honest, while the count's had all the impudence of a practised knave. The count sat beside him, smiling disdainfully, as if he was lowering himself to strive with a miserable peasant whom he had already twice vanquished.

The farmer sat by his wife, his son, and two daughters, and had that air of modest assurance which indicates resignation and a good conscience.

I wondered how such honest people could have lost in two courts; I was sure their cause must be a just one.

They were all poorly clad, and from their downcast eyes and their humble looks I guessed them to be the victims of oppression.

Each barrister could speak for two hours.

The farmer's advocate spoke for thirty minutes, which he occupied by putting in the various receipts bearing the count's signature up to the time when he had dismissed the farmer, because he would not prostitute his daughters to him. He then continued, speaking with calm precision, to point out the anachronisms and contradictions in the count's books (which made his client a debtor), and stated that his client was in a position to prosecute the two forgers who had been employed to compass the ruin of an honest family, whose only crime was poverty. He ended his speech by an appeal for costs in all the suits, and for compensation for loss of time and defamation of character.

The harangue of the count's advocate would have lasted more than two hours if the court had not silenced him. He indulged in a torrent of abuse against the other barrister, the experts in hand-writing, and the peasant, whom he threatened with a speedy consignment to the galleys.

The pleadings would have wearied me if I had been a blind man, but as it was I amused myself by a scrutiny of the various physiognomies before me. My host's face remained smiling and impudent through it all.

The pleadings over, the court was cleared, and we awaited the sentence in the adjoining room.

The peasant and his family sat in a corner apart, sad, sorry, and comfortless, with no friend to speak a consoling word, while the count was surrounded by a courtly throng, who assured him that with such a case he could not possibly lose; but that if the judges did deliver judgment against him he should pay the peasant, and force him to prove the alleged forgery.

I listened in profound silence, sympathising with the countryman rather than my host, whom I believed to be a thorough-paced scoundrel, though I took care not to say so.

Count Torres, who was a deadly foe to all prudence and discretion, asked me my opinion of the case, and I whispered that I thought the count should lose, even if he were in the right, on account of the infamous apostrophes of his counsel, who deserved to have his ears cut off or to stand in the pillory for six months.

"And the client too," said Tomes aloud; but nobody had heard what I had said.

After we had waited for an hour the clerk of the court came in with two papers, one of which he gave to the peasant's counsel and the other to Torriano's. Torriano read it to himself, burst into a loud laugh, and then read it aloud.

The court condemned the count to recognize the peasant as his creditor, to pay all costs, and to give him a year's wages as damages; the peasant's right to appeal ad minimum on account of any other complaints he might have being reserved.

The advocate looked downcast, but Torriano consoled him by a fee of six sequins, and everybody went away.

I remained with the defendant, and asked him if he meant to appeal to Vienna.

"I shall appeal in another sort," said he; but I did not ask him what he meant.

We left Gorice the next morning.

My landlord gave me the bill, and told me he had received instructions not to insist on my paying it if I made any difficulty, as in that case the count would pay himself.

This struck me as somewhat eccentric, but I only laughed. However, the specimens I had seen of his character made me imagine that I was going to spend six weeks with a dangerous original.

In two hours we were at Spessa, and alighted at a large house, with nothing distinguished about it from an architectural point of view. We went up to the count's room, which was tolerably furnished, and after shewing me over the house he took me to my own room. It was on the ground floor, stuffy, dark, and ill furnished.

"Ah!" said he, "this is the room my poor old father used to love to sit in; like you, he was very fond of study. You may be sure of enjoying perfect liberty here, for you will see no one."

We dined late, and consequently no supper was served. The eating and the wine were tolerable, and so was the company of a priest, who held the position of the count's steward; but I was disgusted at hearing the count, who ate ravenously, reproach me with eating too slowly.

When we rose from table he told me he had a lot to do, and that we should see each other the next day.

I went to my room to put things in order, and to get out my papers. I was then working at the second volume of the Polish troubles.

In the evening I asked for a light as it was growing dark, and presently a servant came with one candle. I was indignant; they ought to have given me wax lights or a lamp at least. However, I made no complaint, merely asking one of the servants if I was to rely on the services of any amongst them.

"Our master has given us no instructions on the subject, but of course we will wait on you whenever you call us."

This would have been a troublesome task, as there was no bell, and I should have been obliged to wander all over the house, to search the courtyard, and perhaps the road, whenever I wanted a servant.

"And who will do my room?" I asked.

"The maid."

"Then she has a key of her own?"

"There is no need for a key, as your door has no lock, but you can bolt yourself in at night."

I could only laugh, whether from ill humour or amusement I really cannot say. However, I made no remark to the man.

I began my task, but in half an hour I was so unfortunate as to put out the candle whilst snuffing it. I could not roam about the house in the dark searching for a light, as I did not know my way, so I went to bed in the dark more inclined to swear than to laugh.

Fortunately the bed was a good one, and as I had expected it to be uncomfortable I went to sleep in a more tranquil humour.

In the morning nobody came to attend on me, so I got up, and after putting away my papers I went to say good morning to my host in dressing-gown and nightcap. I found him under the hand of one of his men who served him as a valet. I told him I had slept well, and had come to breakfast with him; but he said he never took breakfast, and asked me, politely enough, not to trouble to come and see him in the morning as he was always engaged with his tenants, who were a pack of thieves. He then added that as I took breakfast he would give orders to the cook to send me up coffee whenever I liked.

"You will also be kind enough to tell your man to give me a touch with his comb after he has done with you."

"I wonder you did not bring a servant."

"If I had guessed that I should be troubling you, I should certainly have brought one."

"It will not trouble me but you, for you will be kept waiting."

"Not at all. Another thing I want is a lock to my door, for I have important papers for which I am responsible, and I cannot lock them up in my trunk whenever I leave my room."

"Everything is safe in my house."

"Of course, but you see how absurd it would be for you to be answerable in case any of my papers were missing. I might be in the greatest distress, and yet I should never tell you of it."

He remained silent for some time, and then ordered his man to tell the priest to put a lock on my door and give me the key.

While he was thinking, I noticed a taper and a book on the table beside his bed. I went up to it, and asked politely if I might see what kind of reading had beguiled him to sleep. He replied as politely, requesting me not to touch it. I withdrew immediately, telling him with a smile that I felt sure that it was a book of prayers, but that I would never reveal his secret.

"You have guessed what it is," he said, laughing.

I left him with a courteous bow, begging him to send me his man and a cup of coffee, chocolate, or broth, it mattered not which.

I went back to my room meditating seriously on his strange behaviour, and especially on the wretched tallow candle which was given me, while he had a wax taper. My first idea was to leave the house immediately, for though I had only fifty ducats in my possession my spirit was as high as when I was a rich man; but on second thoughts I determined not to put myself in the wrong by affronting him in such a signal manner.

The tallow candle was the most grievous wrong, so I resolved to ask the man whether he had not been told to give me wax lights. This was important, as it might be only a piece of knavery or stupidity on the part of the servant.

The man came in an hour with a cup of coffee, sugared according to his taste or that of the cook. This disgusted me, so I let it stay on the table, telling him, with a burst of laughter (if I had not laughed I must have thrown the coffee in his face), that that was not the way to serve breakfast. I then got ready to have my hair done.

I asked him why he had brought me a wretched tallow candle instead of two wax lights.

"Sir," the worthy man replied, humbly, "I could only give you what the priest gave me; I received a wax taper for my master and a candle for you."

I was sorry to have vexed the poor fellow, and said no more, thinking the priest might have taken a fancy to economise for the count's profit or his own. I determined to question him on the subject.

As soon as I was dressed I went out to walk off my bad humour. I met the priest-steward, who had been to the locksmith. He told me that the man had no ready-made locks, but he was going to fit my door with a padlock, of which I should have the key.

"Provided I can lock my door," I said, "I care not how it's done."

I returned to the house to see the padlock fitted, and while the locksmith was hammering away I asked the priest why he had given a tallow candle instead of one or two wax tapers.

"I should never dare to give you tapers, sir, without express orders from the count."

"I should have thought such a thing would go without saying."

"Yes, in other houses, but here nothing goes without saying. I have to buy the tapers and he pays me, and every time he has one it is noted down."

"Then you can give me a pound of wax lights if I pay you for them?"

"Of course, but I think I must tell the count, for you know . . . ."

"Yes, I know all about it, but I don't care:"

I gave him the price of a pound of wax lights, and went for a walk, as he told me dinner was at one. I was somewhat astonished on coming back to the house at half-past twelve to be told that the count had been half an hour at table.

I did not know what to make of all these acts of rudeness; however, I moderated my passion once more, and came in remarking that the abbe had told me dinner was at one.

"It is usually," replied the count, "but to-day I wanted to pay some calls and take you with me, so I decided on dining at noon. You will have plenty of time."

He then gave orders for all the dishes that had been taken away to be brought back.

I made no answer, and sat down to table, and feigning good humour ate what was on the table, refusing to touch those dishes which had been taken away. He vainly asked me to try the soup, the beef, the entrees; I told him that I always punished myself thus when I came in late for a nobleman's dinner.

Still dissembling my ill humour, I got into his carriage to accompany him on his round of visits. He took me to Baron del Mestre, who spent the whole of the year in the country with his family, keeping up a good establishment.

The count spent the whole of the day with the baron, putting off the other visits to a future time. In the evening we returned to Spessa. Soon after we arrived the priest returned the money I had given him for the candles, telling me that the count had forgotten to inform him that I was to be treated as himself.

I took this acknowledgement for what it was worth.

Supper was served, and I ate with the appetite of four, while the count hardly ate at all.

The servant who escorted me to my room asked me at what time I should like breakfast. I told him, and he was punctual; and this time the coffee was brought in the coffee-pot and the sugar in the sugar basin.

The valet did my hair, and the maid did my room, everything was changed, and I imagined that I had given the count a little lesson, and that I should have no more trouble with him. Here, however, I was mistaken, as the reader will discover.

Three or four days later the priest came to me one morning, to ask when I would like dinner, as I was to dine in my room.

"Why so?" I asked.

"Because the count left yesterday for Gorice, telling me he did not know when he should come back. He ordered me to give you your meals in your room."

"Very good. I will dine at one."

No one could be more in favour of liberty and independence than myself, but I could not help feeling that my rough host should have told me he was going to Gorice. He stayed a week, and I should have died of weariness if it had not been for my daily visits to the Baron del Mestre. Otherwise there was no company, the priest was an uneducated man, and there were no pretty country girls. I felt as if I could not bear another four weeks of such a doleful exile.

When the count came back, I spoke to him plainly.

"I came to Spessa," I said, "to keep you company and to amuse myself; but I see that I am in the way, so I hope you will take me back to Gorice and leave me there. You must know that I like society as much as you do, and I do not feel inclined to die of solitary weariness in your house."

He assured me that it should not happen again, that he had gone to Gorice to meet an actress, who had come there purposely to see him, and that he had also profited by the opportunity to sign a contract of marriage with a Venetian lady.

These excuses and the apparently polite tone in which they were uttered induced me to prolong my stay with the extraordinary count.

He drew the whole of his income from vineyards, which produced an excellent white wine and a revenue of a thousand sequins a year. However, as the count did his best to spend double that amount, he was rapidly ruining himself. He had a fixed impression that all the tenants robbed him, so whenever he found a bunch of grapes in a cottage he proceeded to beat the occupants unless they could prove that the grapes did not come from his vineyards. The peasants might kneel down and beg pardon, but they were thrashed all the same.

I had been an unwilling witness of several of these arbitrary and cruel actions, when one day I had the pleasure of seeing the count soundly beaten by two peasants. He had struck the first blow himself, but when he found that he was getting the worst of it he prudently took to his heels.

He was much offended with me for remaining a mere spectator of the fray; but I told him very coolly that, being the aggressor, he was in the wrong, and in the second place I was not going to expose myself to be beaten to a jelly by two lusty peasants in another man's quarrel.

These arguments did not satisfy him, and in his rage he dared to tell me that I was a scurvy coward not to know that it was my duty to defend a friend to the death.

In spite of these offensive remarks I merely replied with a glance of contempt, which he doubtless understood.

Before long the whole village had heard what had happened, and the joy was universal, for the count had the singular privilege of being feared by all and loved by none. The two rebellious peasants had taken to their heels. But when it became known that his lordship had announced his resolution to carry pistols with him in all future visits, everybody was alarmed, and two spokesmen were sent to the count informing him that all his tenants would quit the estate in a week's time unless he gave them a promise to leave them in peace in their humble abodes.

The rude eloquence of the two peasants struck me as sublime, but the count pronounced them to be impertinent and ridiculous.

"We have as good a right to taste the vines which we have watered with the sweat of our brow," said they, "as your cook has to taste the dishes before they are served on your table."

The threat of deserting just at the vintage season frightened the count, and he had to give in, and the embassy went its way in high glee at its success.

Next Sunday we went to the chapel to hear mass, and when we came in the priest was at the altar finishing the Credo. The count looked furious, and after mass he took me with him to the sacristy, and begun to abuse and beat the poor priest, in spite of the surplice which he was still wearing. It was really a shocking sight.

The priest spat in his face and cried help, that being the only revenge in his power.

Several persons ran in, so we left the sacristy. I was scandalised, and I told the count that the priest would be certain to go to Udine, and that it might turn out a very awkward business.

"Try to prevent his doing so," I added, "even by violence, but in the first place endeavour to pacify him."

No doubt the count was afraid, for he called out to his servants and ordered them to fetch the priest, whether he could come or no. His order was executed, and the priest was led in, foaming with rage, cursing the count, calling him excommunicated wretch, whose very breath was poisonous; swearing that never another mass should be sung in the chapel that had been polluted with sacrilege, and finally promising that the archbishop should avenge him.

The count let him say on, and then forced him into a chair, and the unworthy ecclesiastic not only ate but got drunk. Thus peace was concluded, and the abbe forgot all his wrongs.

A few days later two Capuchins came to visit him at noon. They did not go, and as he did not care to dismiss them, dinner was served without any place being laid for the friars. Thereupon the bolder of the two informed the count that he had had no dinner. Without replying, the count had him accommodated with a plateful of rice. The Capuchin refused it, saying that he was worthy to sit, not only at his table, but at a monarch's. The count, who happened to be in a good humour, replied that they called themselves "unworthy brethren," and that they were consequently not worthy of any of this world's good things.

The Capuchin made but a poor answer, and as I thought the count to be in the right I proceeded to back him up, telling the friar he ought to be ashamed at having committed the sin of pride, so strictly condemned by the rules of his order.

The Capuchin answered me with a torrent of abuse, so the count ordered a pair of scissors to be brought, that the beards of the filthy rogues might be cut off. At this awful threat the two friars made their escape, and we laughed heartily over the incident.

If all the count's eccentricities had been of this comparatively harmless and amusing nature, I should not have minded, but such was far from being the case.

Instead of chyle his organs must have distilled some virulent poison; he was always at his worst in his after dinner hours. His appetite was furious; he ate more like a tiger than a man. One day we happened to be eating woodcock, and I could not help praising the dish in the style of the true gourmand. He immediately took up his bird, tore it limb from limb, and gravely bade me not to praise the dishes I liked as it irritated him. I felt an inclination to laugh and also an inclination to throw the bottle at his head, which I should probably have indulged in had I been twenty years younger. However, I did neither, feeling that I should either leave him or accommodate myself to his humours.

Three months later Madame Costa, the actress whom he had gone to see at Gorice, told me that she would never have believed in the possibility of such a creature existing if she had not known Count Torriano.

"Though he is a vigorous lover," she continued, "it is a matter of great difficulty with him to obtain the crisis; and the wretched woman in his arms is in imminent danger of being strangled to death if she cannot conceal her amorous ecstacy. He cannot bear to see another's pleasure. I pity his wife most heartily."

I will now relate the incident which put an end to my relations with this venomous creature.

Amidst the idleness and weariness of Spessa I happened to meet a very pretty and very agreeable young widow. I made her some small presents, and finally persuaded her to pass the night in my room. She came at midnight to avoid observation, and left at day-break by a small door which opened on to the road.

We had amused ourselves in this pleasant manner for about a week, when one morning my sweetheart awoke me that I might close the door after her as usual. I had scarcely done so when I heard cries for help. I quickly opened it again, and I saw the scoundrelly Torriano holding the widow with one hand while he beat her furiously with a stick he held in the other. I rushed upon him, and we fell together, while the poor woman made her escape.

I had only my dressing-gown on, and here I was at a disadvantage; for civilized man is a poor creature without his clothes. However, I held the stick with one hand, while I squeezed his throat with the other. On his side he clung to the stick with his right hand, and pulled my hair with the left. At last his tongue started out and he had to let go.

I was on my feet again in an instant, and seizing the stick I aimed a sturdy blow at his head, which, luckily for him, he partially parried.

I did not strike again, so he got up, ran a little way, and began to pick up stones. However, I did not wait to be pelted, but shut myself in my room and lay down on the bed, only sorry that I had not choked the villain outright.

As soon as I had rested I looked to my pistols, dressed myself, and went out with the intention of looking for some kind of conveyance to take me back to Gorice. Without knowing it I took a road that led me to the cottage of the poor widow, whom I found looking calm though sad. She told me she had received most of the blows on her shoulders, and was not much hurt. What vexed her was that the affair would become public, as two peasants had seen the count beating her, and our subsequent combat.

I gave her two sequins, begging her to come and see me at Gorice, and to tell me where I could find a conveyance.

Her sister offered to shew me the way to a farm, where I could get what I wanted. On the way she told me that Torriano had been her sister's enemy before the death of her husband because she rejected all his proposals.

I found a good conveyance at the farm, and the man promised to drive me in to Gorice by dinner-time.

I gave him half-a-crown as an earnest, and went away, telling him to come for me.

I returned to the count's and had scarcely finished getting ready when the conveyance drove up.

I was about to put my luggage in it, when a servant came from the count asking me to give him a moment's conversation.

I wrote a note in French, saying that after what had passed we ought not to meet again under his roof.

A minute later he came into my room, and shut the door, saying,—

"As you won't speak to me, I have come to speak to you."

"What have you got to say?"

"If you leave my house in this fashion you will dishonour me, and I will not allow it."

"Excuse me, but I should very much like to see how you are going to prevent me from leaving your house."

"I will not allow you to go by yourself; we must go together."

"Certainly; I understand you perfectly. Get your sword or your pistols, and we will start directly. There is room for two in the carriage."

"That won't do. You must dine with me, and then we can go in my carriage."

"You make a mistake. I should be a fool if I dined with you when our miserable dispute is all over the village; to-morrow it will have reached Gorice."

"If you won't dine with me, I will dine with you, and people may say what they like. We will go after dinner, so send away that conveyance."

I had to give in to him. The wretched count stayed with me till noon, endeavouring to persuade me that he had a perfect right to beat a country-woman in the road, and that I was altogether in the wrong.

I laughed, and said I wondered how he derived his right to beat a free woman anywhere, and that his pretence that I being her lover had no right to protect her was a monstrous one.

"She had just left my arms," I continued, "was I not therefore her natural protector? Only a coward or a monster like yourself would have remained indifferent, though, indeed, I believe that even you would have done the same."

A few minutes before we sat down to dinner he said that neither of us would profit by the adventure, as he meant the duel to be to the death.

"I don't agree with you as far as I am concerned," I replied; "and as to the duel, you can fight or not fight, as you please; for my part I have had satisfaction. If we come to a duel I hope to leave you in the land of the living, though I shall do my best to lay you up for a considerable time, so that you may have leisure to reflect on your folly. On the other hand, if fortune favours you, you may act as you please."

"We will go into the wood by ourselves, and my coachman shall have orders to drive you wherever you like if you come out of the wood by yourself."

"Very good indeed; and which would you prefer—swords or pistols?"

"Swords, I think."

"Then I promise to unload my pistols as soon as we get into the carriage."

I was astonished to find the usually brutal count become quite polite at the prospect of a duel. I felt perfectly confident myself, as I was sure of flooring him at the first stroke by a peculiar lunge. Then I could escape through Venetian territory where I was not known.

But I had good reasons for supposing that the duel would end in smoke as so many other duels when one of the parties is a coward, and a coward I believed the count to be.

We started after an excellent dinner; the count having no luggage, and mine being strapped behind the carriage.

I took care to draw the charges of my pistols before the count.

I had heard him tell the coachman to drive towards Gorice, but every moment I expected to hear him order the man to drive up this or that turning that we might settle our differences.

I asked no questions, feeling that the initiative lay with him; but we drove on till we were at the gates of Gorice, and I burst out laughing when I heard the count order the coachman to drive to the posting inn.

As soon as we got there he said,—

"You were in the right; we must remain friends. Promise me not to tell anyone of what has happened."

I gave him the promise; we shook hands, and everything was over.

The next day I took up my abode in one of the quietest streets to finish my second volume on the Polish troubles, but I still managed to enjoy myself during my stay at Gorice. At last I resolved on returning to Trieste, where I had more chances of serving and pleasing the State Inquisitors.

I stayed at Gorice till the end of the year 1773, and passed an extremely pleasant six weeks.

My adventure at Spessa had become public property. At first everybody addressed me on the subject, but as I laughed and treated the whole thing as a joke it would soon be forgotten. Torriano took care to be most polite whenever we met; but I had stamped him as a dangerous character, and whenever he asked me to dinner or supper I had other engagements.

During the carnival he married the young lady of whom he had spoken to me, and as long as he lived her life was misery. Fortunately he died a madman