Part 2 out of 3
"Not just now, as I hear carriage wheels."
A moment after the door opened, and Leonilda laughed heartily to
see her mother in my arms, and threw herself upon us, covering us
with kisses. The duke came in a little later, and we supped
together very merrily. He thought me the happiest of men when I
told him I was going to pass the night honourably with my wife
and daughter; and he was right, for I was so at that moment.
As soon as the worthy man left us we went to bed, but here I must
draw a veil over the most voluptuous night I have ever spent. If
I told all I should wound chaste ears, and, besides, all the
colours of the painter and all the phrases of the poet could not
do justice to the delirium of pleasure, the ecstasy, and the
license which passed during that night, while two wax lights
burnt dimly on the table like candles before the shrine of a saint.
We did not leave the stage, which I watered with my blood, till
long after the sun had risen. We were scarcely dressed when the
Leonilda gave him a vivid description of our nocturnal labours,
but in his unhappy state of impotence he must have been thankful
for his absence.
I was determined to start the next day so as to be at Rome for the
last week of the carnival and I begged the duke to let me give
Leonilda the five thousand ducats which would have been her dower
if she had become my bride.
"As she is your daughter," said he, "she can and ought to take
this present from her father, if only as a dowry for her future
"Will you accept it, then, my dear Leonilda?"
"Yes, papa dear," she said, embracing me, "on the condition that
you will promise to come and see me again as soon as you hear of
I promised to do so, and I kept my word.
"As you are going to-morrow," said the duke, "I shall ask all the
nobility of Naples to meet you at supper. In the meanwhile I
leave you with your daughter; we shall see each other again at
He went out and I dined with my wife and daughter in the best of
spirits. I spent almost the whole afternoon with Leonilda,
keeping within the bounds of decency, less, perhaps, out of
respect to morality, than because of my labours of the night
before. We did not kiss each other till the moment of parting,
and I could see that both mother and daughter were grieved to lose
After a careful toilette I went to supper, and found an assembly
of a hundred of the very best people in Naples. The duchess was
very agreeable, and when I kissed her hand to take leave, she
"I hope, Don Giacomo, that you have had no unpleasantness during
your short stay at Naples, and that you will sometimes think of
your visit with pleasure."
I answered that I could only recall my visit with delight after
the kindness with which she had deigned to treat me that evening;
and, in fact, my recollections of Naples were always of the
After I had treated the duke's attendants with generosity, the
poor nobleman, whom fortune had favoured, and whom nature had
deprived of the sweetest of all enjoyments, came with me to the
door of my carriage and I went on my way.
My Carriage Broken--Mariuccia's Wedding-Flight of Lord Lismore--My
Return to Florence, and My Departure with the Corticelli
My Spainiard was going on before us on horseback, and I was
sleeping profoundly beside Don Ciccio Alfani in my comfortable
carriage, drawn by four horses, when a violent shock aroused me.
The carriage had been overturned on the highway, at midnight,
beyond Francolisa and four miles from St. Agatha.
Alfani was beneath me and uttered piercing shrieks, for he thought
he had broken his left arm. Le Duc rode back and told me that the
postillions had taken flight, possibly to give notice of our
mishap to highwaymen, who are very common in the States of the
Church and Naples.
I got out of the carriage easily enough, but poor old Alfani, who
was unwieldly with fat, badly hurt, and half dead with fright,
could not extricate himself without assistance. It took us a
quarter of an hour to get him free. The poor wretch amused me by
the blasphemies which he mingled with prayers to his patron saint,
St. Francis of Assisi.
I was not without experience of such accidents and was not at all
hurt, for one's safety depends a good deal on the position one is
in. Don Ciccio had probably hurt his arm by stretching it out
just as the accident took place.
I took my sword, my musket, and my horse-pistols out of the
carriage, and I made them and my pockets pistols ready so as to
offer a stiff resistance to the brigands if they came; and I then
told Le Duc to take some money and ride off and see if he could
bring some peasants to our assistance.
Don Ciccio groaned over the accident, but I, resolving to sell my
money and my life dearly, made a rampart of the carriage and four
horses, and stood sentry, with my arms ready.
I then felt prepared for all hazards, and was quite calm, but my
unfortunate companion continued to pour forth his groans, and
prayers, and blasphemies, for all that goes together at Naples as
at Rome. I could do nothing but compassionate him; but in spite
of myself I could not help laughing, which seemed to vex the poor
abbe, who looked for all the world like a dying dolphin as he
rested motionless against the bank. His distress may be imagined,
when the nearest horse yielded to the call of nature, and voided
over the unfortunate man the contents of its bladder. There was
nothing to be done, and I could not help roaring with laughter.
Nevertheless, a strong northerly wind rendered our situation an
extremely unpleasant one. At the slightest noise I cried, "Who
goes there?" threatening to fire on anyone who dared approach.
I spent two hours in this tragic-comic position, until at last
Le Duc rode up and told me that a band of peasants, all armed and
provided with lanterns, were approaching to our assistance.
In less than an hour, the carriage, the horses, and Alfani were
seen to. I kept two of the country-folk to serve as postillions,
and I sent the others away well paid for the interruption of their
sleep. I reached St. Agatha at day-break, and I made the devil's
own noise at the door of the postmaster, calling for an attorney
to take down my statement, and threatening to have the postillions
who had overturned and deserted me, hanged.
A wheelwright inspected my coach and pronounced the axle-tree
broken, and told me I should have to remain for a day at least.
Don Ciccio, who stood in need of a surgeon's aid, called on the
Marquis Galliani without telling me anything about it. However,
the marquis hastened to beg me to stay at his home till I could
continue my journey. I accepted the invitation with great
pleasure, and with this my ill humour, which was really only the
result of my desire to make a great fuss like a great man,
The marquis ordered my carriage to be taken to his coach-house,
took me by the arm, and led me to his house. He was as learned as
he was polite, and a perfect Neapolitan--i.e., devoid of all
ceremony. He had not the brilliant wit of his brother, whom I had
known at Paris as secretary of embassy under the Count Cantillana
Montdragon, but he possessed a well-ordered judgment, founded on
study and the perusal of ancient and modern classics. Above all,
he was a great mathematician, and was then preparing an annotated
edition of Vitruvius, which was afterwards published.
The marquis introduced me to his wife, whom I knew as the intimate
friend of my dear Lucrezia. There was something saint-like in her
expression, and to see her surrounded by her little children was
like looking at a picture of the Holy Family.
Don Ciccio was put to bed directly, and a surgeon sent for, who
consoled him by saying that it was only a simple luxation, and
that he would be well again in a few days.
At noon a carriage stopped at the door, and Lucrezia got down.
She embraced the marchioness, and said to me in the most natural
manner, as we shook hands,--
"What happy chance brings you hear, dear Don Giacomo?"
She told her friend that I was a friend of her late husband's, and
that she had recently seen me again with great pleasure at the
Duke de Matalone's.
After dinner, on finding myself alone with this charming woman, I
asked her if it were not possible for us to pass a happy night
together, but she shewed me that it was out of the question, and I
had to yield. I renewed my offer to marry her.
"Buy a property," said she, "in the kingdom of Naples, and I will
spend the remainder of my days with you, without asking a priest
to give us his blessing, unless we happen to have children."
I could not deny that Lucrezia spoke very sensibly, and I could
easily have bought land in Naples, and lived comfortably on it,
but the idea of binding myself down to one place was so contrary
to my feelings that I had the good sense to prefer my vagabond
life to all the advantages which our union would have given me,
and I do not think that Lucrezia altogether disapproved of my
After supper I took leave of everybody, and I set out at day-break
in order to get to Rome by the next day. I had only fifteen
stages to do, and the road was excellent.
As we were getting into Carillano, I saw one of the two-wheeled
carriages, locally called mantice, two horses were being put into
it, while my carriage required four. I got out, and on hearing
myself called I turned round. I was not a little surprised to
find that the occupants of the mantice were a young and pretty
girl and Signora Diana, the Prince de Sassaro's mistress, who
owed me three hundred ounces. She told me that she was going
to Rome, and that she would be glad if we could make the journey
"I suppose you don't mind stopping for the night at Piperno?"
"No," said I, "I am afraid that can't be managed; I don't intend
to break my journey."
"But you would get to Rome by to-morrow."
"I know that, but I sleep better in my carriage than in the bad
beds they give you in the inns."
"I dare not travel by night."
"Well, well, madam, I have no doubt we shall see each other at
"You are a cruel man. You see I have only a stupid servant, and a
maid who is as timid as I am, besides it is cold and my carriage
is open. I will keep you company in yours."
"I really can't take you in, as all the available space is taken
up by my old secretary, who broke his arm yesterday."
"Shall we dine together at Terracino? We could have a little
We made good cheer at this small town, which is the frontier of
the States of the Church. We should not reach Piperno till far on
in the night, and the lady renewed and redoubled her efforts to
keep me till daybreak; but though young and pretty she did not
take my fancy; she was too fair and too fat. But her maid, who
was a pretty brunette, with a delicious rounded form and a
sparkling eye, excited all my feelings of desire. A vague hope of
possessing the maid won me over, and I ended by promising the
signora to sup with her, and not to continue my journey without
giving notice to the landlord.
When we got to Piperno, I succeeded in telling the pretty maid
that if she would let me have her quietly I would not go any
further. She promised to wait for me, and allowed me to take such
liberties as are usually the signs of perfect complaisance.
We had our supper, and I wished the ladies good night and escorted
them to their room, where I took note of the relative positions of
their beds so that there should be no mistake. I left them and
came back in a quarter of an hour. Finding the door open I felt
sure of success, and I got into bed; but as I found out, it was
the signora and not the maid who received me. Evidently the
little hussy had told her mistress the story, and the mistress had
thought fit to take the maid's place. There was no possibility of
my being mistaken, for though I could not see I could feel.
For a moment I was undecided, should I remain in bed and make the
best of what I had got, or go on my way to Rome immediately? The
latter counsel prevailed. I called Le Duc, gave my orders, and
started, enjoying the thought of the confusion of the two women,
who must have been in a great rage at the failure of their plans.
I saw Signora Diana three or four times at Rome, and we bowed
without speaking; if I had thought it likely that she would pay me
the four hundred louis she owed me I might have taken the trouble
to call on her, but I know that your stage queens are the worst
debtors in the world.
My brother, the Chevalier Mengs, and the Abbe Winckelmann were all
in good health and spirits. Costa was delighted to see me again.
I sent him off directly to His Holiness's 'scopatore maggiore' to
warn him that I was coming to take polenta with him, and all he
need do was to get a good supper for twelve. I was sure of
finding Mariuccia there, for I knew that Momolo had noticed her
presence pleased me.
The carnival began the day after my arrival, and I hired a superb
landau for the whole week. The Roman landaus seat four people and
have a hood which may be lowered at pleasure. In these landaus
one drives along the Corso with or without masks from nine to
twelve o'clock during the carnival time.
From time immemorial the Corso at Rome has presented a strange and
diverting spectacle during the carnival. The horses start from
the Piazza del Popolo, and gallop along to the Column of Trajan,
between two lines of carriages drawn up beside two narrow
pavements which are crowded with maskers and people of all
classes. All the windows are decorated. As soon as the horses
have passed the carriages begin to move, and the maskers on foot
and horseback occupy the middle of the street. The air is full of
real and false sweetmeats, pamphlets, pasquinades, and puns.
Throughout the mob, composed of the best and worst classes of
Rome, liberty reigns supreme, and when twelve o'clock is announced
by the third report of the cannon of St. Angelo the Corso begins
to clear, and in five minutes you would look in vain for a
carriage or a masker. The crowd disperses amongst the
neighbouring streets, and fills the opera houses, the theatres,
the rope-dancers' exhibitions, and even the puppet-shows. The
restaurants and taverns are not left desolate; everywhere you will
find crowds of people, for during the carnival the Romans only
think of eating, drinking, and enjoying themselves.
I banked my money with M. Belloni and got a letter of credit on
Turin, where I expected to find the Abbe Gama and to receive a
commission to represent the Portuguese Court at the Congress of
Augsburg, to which all Europe was looking forward, and then I went
to inspect my little room, where I hoped to meet Mariuccia the
next day. I found everything in good order.
In the evening Momolo and his family received me with joyful
exclamations. The eldest daughter said with a smile that she was
sure she would please me by sending for Mariuccia.
"You are right," said I, "I shall be delighted to see the fair
A few minutes after she entered with her puritanical mother, who
told me I must not be surprised to see her daughter better
dressed, as she was going to be married in a few days. I
congratulated her, and Momolo's daughters asked who was the happy
man. Mariuccia blushed and said modestly, to one of them,--
"It is somebody whom you know, So and so, he saw me here, and we
are going to open a hair-dresser's shop."
"The marriage was arranged by good Father St. Barnabe," added the
mother. "He has in his keeping my daughter's dower of four
hundred Roman crowns."
"He's a good lad," said Momolo. "I have a high opinion of him; he
would have married one of my daughters if I could have given him
such a dowry."
At these words the girl in question blushed and lowered her eyes.
"Never mind, my dear," said I, "your turn will come in time."
She took my words as seriously meant, and her face lit up with
joy. She thought I had guessed her love for Costa, and her idea
was confirmed when I told him to get my landau the next day and
take out all Momolo's daughters, well masked, as it would not do
for them to be recognized in a carriage I meant to make use of
myself. I also bade him hire some handsome costumes from a Jew,
and paid the hire-money myself. This put them all in a good humour.
"How about Signora Maria?" said the jealous sister.
"As Signora Maria is going to be married," I replied, "she must
not be present at any festivity without her future husband."
The mother applauded this decision of mine, and sly Mariuccia
pretended to feel mortified. I turned to Momolo and begged him to
ask Mariuccia's future husband to meet me at supper, by which I
pleased her mother greatly.
I felt very tired, and having nothing to keep me after seeing
Mariuccia, I begged the company to excuse me, and after wishing
them a good appetite I left them.
I walked out next morning at an early hour. I had no need of
going into the church, which I reached at seven o'clock, for
Mariuccia saw me at some distance off and followed me, and we were
soon alone together in the little room, which love and voluptuous
pleasure had transmuted into a sumptuous place. We would gladly
have talked to each other, but as we had only an hour before us,
we set to without even taking off our clothes. After the last
kiss which ended the third assault, she told me that she was to be
married on the eve of Shrove Tuesday, and that all had been
arranged by her confessor. She also thanked me for having asked
Momolo to invite her intended.
"When shall we see each other again, my angel?"
"On Sunday, the eve of my wedding, we shall be able to spend four
"Delightful! I promise you that when you leave me you will be in
such a state that the caresses of your husband won't hurt you."
She smiled and departed, and I threw myself on the bed where I
rested for a good hour.
As I was going home I met a carriage and four going at a great
speed. A footman rode in front of the carriage, and within it I
saw a young nobleman. My attention was arrested by the blue
ribbon on his breast. I gazed at him, and he called out my name
and had the carriage stopped. I was extremely surprised when I
found it was Lord O'Callaghan, whom I had known at Paris at his
mother's, the Countess of Lismore, who was separated from her
husband, and was the kept mistress of M. de St. Aubin, the
unworthy successor of the good and virtuous Fenelon in the
archbishopric of Cambrai. However, the archbishop owed his
promotion to the fact that he was a bastard of the Duc d'Orleans,
the French Regent.
Lord O'Callaghan was a fine-looking young man, with wit and
talent, but the slave of his unbridled passions and of every
species of vice. I knew that if he were lord in name he was not
so in fortune, and I was astonished to see him driving such a
handsome carriage, and still more so at his blue ribbon. In a few
words he told me that he was going to dine with the Pretender, but
that he would sup at home. He invited me to come to supper, and I
After dinner I took a short walk, and then went to enliven myself
at the theatre, where I saw Momolo's girls strutting about with
Costa; afterwards I went to Lord O'Callaghan, and was pleasantly
surprised to meet the poet Poinsinet. He was young, short, ugly,
full of poetic fire, a wit, and dramatist. Five or six years
later the poor fellow fell into the Guadalquivir and was drowned.
He had gone to Madrid in the hope of making his fortune. As I had
known him at Paris I addressed him as an old acquaintance.
"What are you doing at Rome? Where's my Lord O'Callaghan?"
"He's in the next room, but as his father is dead his title is now
Earl of Lismore. You know he was an adherent of the Pretender's.
I left Paris with him, well enough pleased at being able to come
to Rome without its costing me anything."
"Then the earl is a rich man now?"
"Not exactly; but he will be, as he is his father's heir, and the
old earl left an immense fortune. It is true that it is all
confiscated, but that is nothing, as his claims are irresistible."
"In short, he is rich in claims and rich in the future; but how
did he get himself made a knight of one of the French king's
"You're joking. That is the blue ribbon of the Order of St.
Michael, of which the late Elector of Cologne was grand master.
As you know, my lord plays exquisitely on the violin, and when he
was at Bonn he played the Elector a concerto by Tartini. The
prince could not find words in which to express the pleasure of my
lord's performance, and gave him the ribbon you have seen."
"A fine present, doubtless."
"You don't know what pleasure it gave my lord, for when we go back
to Paris everybody will take it for the Order of the Holy Ghost."
We passed into a large room, where we found the earl with the
party he had asked to supper. As soon as he saw me he embraced
me, called me his dear friend, and named his guests. There were
seven or eight girls, all of them pretty, three or four castrati
who played women's parts in the Roman theatre, and five or six
abbes, the husband of every wife and the wives of every husband,
who boasted of their wickedness, and challenged the girls to be
more shameless than they. The girls were not common courtezans,
but past mistresses of music, painting, and vice considered as a
fine art. The kind of society may be imagined when I say that I
found myself a perfect novice amongst them.
"Where are you going, prince?" said the earl to a respectable-
looking man who was making for the door.
"I don't feel well, my lord. I think I must go out."
"What prince is that?" said I.
"The Prince de Chimai. He is a sub-deacon, and is endeavouring to
gain permission to marry, lest his family should become extinct."
"I admire his prudence or his delicacy, but I am afraid I should
not imitate him."
There were twenty-four of us at table, and it is no exaggeration
to say that we emptied a hundred bottles of the choicest wines.
Everybody was drunk, with the exception of myself and the poet
Poinsinet, who had taken nothing but water. The company rose from
table, and then began a foul orgy which I should never have
conceived possible, and which no pen could describe, though
possibly a seasoned profligate might get some idea of it.
A castrato and a girl of almost equal height proposed to strip in
an adjoining room, and to lie on their backs, in the same bed with
their faces covered. They challenged us all to guess which was
We all went in and nobody could pronounce from sight which was
male and which was female, so I bet the earl fifty crowns that I
would point out the woman.
He accepted the wager, and I guessed correctly, but payment was
out of the question.
This first act of the orgy ended with the prostitution of the two
individuals, who defied everybody to accomplish the great act.
All, with the exception of Poinsinet and myself, made the attempt,
but their efforts were in vain.
The second act displayed four or five couples reversed, and here
the abbes shone, both in the active and passive parts of this
lascivious spectacle. I was the only person respected.
All at once, the earl, who had hitherto remained perfectly
motionless, attacked the wretched Poinsinet, who in vain attempted
to defend himself. He had to strip like my lord, who was as naked
as the others. We stood round in a circle. Suddenly the earl,
taking his watch, promised it to the first who succeeded in giving
them a sure mark of sensibility. The desire of gaining the prize
excited the impure crowd immensely, and the castrati, the girls,
and the abbes all did their utmost, each one striving to be the
first. They had to draw lots. This part interested me most, for
throughout this almost incredible scene of debauchery I did not
experience the slightest sensation, although under other
circumstances any of the girls would have claimed my homage, but
all I did was to laugh, especially to see the poor poet in terror
of experiencing the lust of the flesh, for the profligate nobleman
swore that if he made him lose he would deliver him up to the
brutal lust of all the abbes. He escaped, probably through fear
of the consequences.
The orgy came to an end when nobody had any further hopes of
getting the watch. The secret of the Lesbians was only employed,
however, by the abbes and the castrata. The girls, wishing to be
able to despise those who made use of it, refrained from doing so.
I suspect they were actuated by pride rather than shame, as they
might possibly have employed it without success.
This vile debauch disgusted me, and yet gave me a better knowledge
of myself. I could not help confessing that my life had been
endangered, for the only arm I had was my sword, but I should
certainly have used it if the earl had tried to treat me like the
others, and as he had treated poor Poinsinet. I never understood
how it was that he respected me, for he was quite drunk, and in a
kind of Bacchic fury.
As I left, I promised to come and see him as often as he pleased,
but I promised myself never to set foot in his house again.
Next day, he came to see me in the afternoon, and asked me to walk
with him to the Villa Medici.
I complimented him on the immense wealth he had inherited to
enable him to live so splendidly, but he laughed and told me that
he did not possess fifty piastres, that his father had left
nothing but debts, and that he himself already owed three or four
"I wonder people give you credit, then."
"They give me credit because everybody knows that I have drawn a
bill of exchange on Paris to the tune of two hundred thousand
francs. But in four or five days the bill will be returned
protested, and I am only waiting for that to happen to make my
"If you are certain of its being protested, I advise you to make
your escape to-day; for as it is so large a sum it may be taken up
before it is due."
"No, I won't do that; I have one hope left. I have written to
tell my mother that I shall be undone if she does not furnish the
banker, on whom I have drawn the bill, with sufficient funds and
if she does that, the bill will be accepted. You know my mother
is very fond of me."
"Yes, but I also know that she is far from rich."
"True, but M. de St. Aubin is rich enough, and between you and me
I think he is my father. Meanwhile, my creditors are almost as
quiet as I am. All those girls you saw yesterday would give me
all they have if I asked them, as they are all expecting me to
make them a handsome present in the course of the week, but I
won't abuse their trust in me. But I am afraid I shall be obliged
to cheat the Jew, who wants me to give him three thousand sequins
for this ring, as I know it is only worth one thousand."
"He will send the police after you."
"I defy him to do whatever he likes."
The ring was set with a straw-coloured diamond of nine or ten
carats. He begged me to keep his secret as we parted. I did not
feel any sentiments of pity for this extravagant madman, as I only
saw in him a man unfortunate by his own fault, whose fate would
probably make him end his days in a prison unless he had the
courage to blow his brains out.
I went to Momolo's in the evening, and found the intended husband
of my fair Mariuccia there, but not the lady herself. I heard she
had sent word to the 'scopatore santissimo' that, as her father
had come from Palestrina to be present at her wedding, she could
not come to supper. I admired her subtlety. A young girl has no
need of being instructed in diplomacy, nature and her own heart
are her teachers, and she never blunders. At supper I studied the
young man, and found him eminently suitable for Mariuccia; he was
handsome, modest, and intelligent, and whatever he said was spoken
frankly and to the point.
He told me before Momolo's daughter, Tecla, that he would have
married her if she had possessed means to enable him to open his
shop, and that he had reason to thank God for having met Maria,
whose confessor had been such a true spiritual father to her. I
asked him where the wedding festivities were to take place, and he
told me they were to be at his father's house, on the other side
of the Tiber. As his father, who kept a garden, was poor, he had
furnished him with ten crowns to defray the expenses.
I wanted to give him the ten crowns, but how was I to do it? It
would have betrayed me.
"Is your father's garden a pretty one?" I asked.
"Not exactly pretty, but very well kept. As he owns the land, he
has separated a plot which he wants to sell; it would bring in
twenty crowns a year, and I should be as happy as a cardinal if I
could buy it."
"How much will it cost?"
"It's a heavy price; two hundred crowns."
"Why, that's cheap! Listen to me. I have met your future bride
at this house, and I have found her all worthy of happiness. She
deserves an honest young fellow like you for a husband. Now what
would you do supposing I were to make you a present of two hundred
crowns to buy the garden?"
"I should put it to my wife's dowry."
"Then here are the two hundred crowns. I shall give them to
Momolo, as I don't know you well enough, though I think you are
perfectly to be trusted. The garden is yours, as part of your
Momolo took the money, and promised to buy the garden the
following day, and the young man shedding tears of joy and
gratitude fell on his knees and kissed my hand. All the girls
wept, as I myself did, for there's a contagion in such happy
tears. Nevertheless, they did not all proceed from the same
source; some were virtuous and some vicious, and the young man's
were the only ones whose source was pure and unalloyed. I lifted
him from the ground, kissed him, and wished him a happy marriage.
He made bold to ask me to his wedding, but I refused, thanking him
kindly. I told him that if he wanted to please me, he must come
and sup at Momolo's on the eve of his wedding, and I begged the
good scopatore to ask Mariuccia, her father and mother as well. I
was sure of seeing her for the last time on the Sunday morning.
At seven o'clock on the Sunday morning we were in each other's
arms, with four hours before us. After the first burst of mutual
ardour she told me that all arrangements had been made in her
house the evening before, in the presence of her confessor and of
Momolo; and that on the receipt for the two hundred crowns being
handed in the notary had put the garden into the settlement, and
that the good father had made her a present of twenty piastres
towards defraying the notary's fees and the wedding expenses.
"Everything is for the best, and I am sure I shall be happy. My
intended adores you, but you did wisely not to accept his
invitation, for you would have found everything so poor, and
besides tongues might have been set wagging to my disadvantage."
"You are quite right, dearest, but what do you intend to do if
your husband finds that the door has been opened by someone else,
for possibly he expects you to be a maid."
"I expect he will know no more about it than I did the first time
you knew me; besides, I do not feel that you have defiled me, and
my clean conscience will not allow me to think of the matter; and
I am sure that he will not think of it any more than I."
"Yes, but if he does?"
"It would not be delicate on his part, but what should prevent me
from replying that I don't know what he means?"
"You are right; that's the best way. But have you told your
confessor of our mutual enjoyment?"
"No, for as I did not give myself up to you with any criminal
intention, I do not think I have offended God."
"You are an angel, and I admire the clearness of your reasoning.
But listen to me; it's possible that you are already with child,
or that you may become so this morning; promise to name the child
"I will do so."
The four hours sped rapidly away. After the sixth assault we were
wearied though not satiated. We parted with tears, and swore to
love each other as brother and sister ever after.
I went home, bathed, slept an hour, rose, dressed, and dined
pleasantly with the family. In the evening I took the Mengs
family for a drive in my landau, and we then went to the theatre,
where the castrato who played the prima donna was a great
attraction. He was the favourite pathic of Cardinal Borghese, and
supped every evening with his eminence.
This castrato had a fine voice, but his chief attraction was his
beauty. I had seen him in man's clothes in the street, but though
a fine-looking fellow, he had not made any impression on me, for
one could see at once that he was only half a man, but on the
stage in woman's dress the illusion was complete; he was
He was enclosed in a carefully-made corset and looked like a
nymph; and incredible though it may seem, his breast was as
beautiful as any woman's; it was the monster's chiefest charm.
However well one knew the fellow's neutral sex, as soon as one
looked at his breast one felt all aglow and quite madly amorous of
him. To feel nothing one would have to be as cold and impassive
as a German. As he walked the boards, waiting for the refrain of
the air he was singing, there was something grandly voluptuous
about him; and as he glanced towards the boxes, his black eyes, at
once tender and modest, ravished the heart. He evidently wished
to fan the flame of those who loved him as a man, and probably
would not have cared for him if he had been a woman.
Rome the holy, which thus strives to make all men pederasts,
denies the fact, and will not believe in the effects of the
glamour of her own devising.
I made these reflections aloud, and an ecclesiastic, wishing to
blind me to the truth, spoke as follows:--
"You are quite right. Why should this castrato be allowed to shew
his breast, of which the fairest Roman lady might be proud, and
yet wish everyone to consider him as a man and not a woman? If
the stage is forbidden to the fair sex lest they excite desires,
why do they seek out men-monsters made in the form of women, who
excite much more criminal desires? They keep on preaching that
pederasty is comparatively unknown and entraps only a few, but
many clever men endeavour to be entrapped, and end by thinking it
so pleasant that they prefer these monsters to the most beautiful
"The Pope would be sure of heaven if he put a stop to this
"I don't agree with you. One could not have a pretty actress to
supper without causing a scandal, but such an invitation to a
castrato makes nobody talk. It is of course known perfectly well
that after supper both heads rest on one pillow, but what
everybody knows is ignored by all. One may sleep with a man out
of mere friendship, it is not so with a woman."
"True, monsignor, appearances are saved, and a sin concealed is
half pardoned, as they say in Paris."
"At Rome we say it is pardoned altogether. 'Peccato nascosto non
His jesuitical arguments interested me, for I knew that he was an
avowed partisan of the forbidden fruit.
In one of the boxes I saw the Marchioness Passarini (whom I had
known at Dresden) with Don Antonio Borghese, and I went to pay my
addresses to them. The prince, whom I had known at Paris ten
years before, recognized me, and asked me to dine with him on the
following day. I went, but my lord was not at home. A page told
me that my place was laid at table, and that I could dine just as
if the prince was there, on which I turned my back on him and went
away. On Ash Wednesday he sent his man to ask me to sup with him
and the marchioness, who was his mistress, and I sent word that I
would not fail to come; but he waited for me in vain. Pride is
the daughter of folly, and always keeps its mother's nature.
After the opera I went to Momolo's, where I found Mariuccia, her
father, her mother, and her future husband. They were anxiously
expecting me. It is not difficult to make people happy when one
selects for one's bounty persons who really deserve happiness. I
was amidst poor but honest people, and I can truly say that I had
a delightful supper. It may be that some of my enjoyment
proceeded from a feeling of vanity, for I knew that I was the
author of the happiness depicted on the faces of the bride and
bridegroom and of the father and mother of Mariuccia; but when
vanity causes good deeds it is a virtue. Nevertheless, I owe it
to myself to tell my readers that my pleasure was too pure to have
in it any admixture of vice.
After supper I made a small bank at faro, making everybody play
with counters, as nobody had a penny, and I was so fortunate as to
make everyone win a few ducats.
After the game we danced in spite of the prohibition of the Pope,
whom no Roman can believe to be infallible, for he forbids dancing
and permits games of chance. His successor Ganganelli followed
the opposite course, and was no better obeyed. To avoid suspicion
I did not give the pair any present, but I gave up my landau to
them that they might enjoy the carnival on the Corso, and I told
Costa to get them a box at the Capranica Theatre. Momolo asked me
to supper on Shrove Tuesday.
I wished to leave Rome on the second day of Lent, and I called on
the Holy Father at a time when all Rome was on the Corso. His
Holiness welcomed me most graciously, and said he was surprised
that I had not gone to see the sights on the Corso like everybody
else. I replied that as a lover of pleasure I had chosen the
greatest pleasure of all for a Christian--namely, to kneel at the
feet of the vicar of Christ on earth. He bowed with a kind of
majestic humility, which shewed me how the compliment had pleased
him. He kept me for more than an hour, talking about Venice,
Padua, and Paris, which latter city the worthy man would not have
been sorry to have visited. I again commended myself to his
apostolic intercession to enable me to return to my native
country, and he replied,--
"Have recourse to God, dear son; His grace will be more
efficacious than my prayers;" and then he blessed me and wished me
a prosperous journey.
I saw that the Head of the Church had no great opinion of his own
On Shrove Tuesday I dressed myself richly in the costume of
Polichinello, and rode along the Corso showering sweetmeats on all
the pretty women I saw. Finally I emptied the basket on the
daughters of the worthy 'scopatore', whom Costa was taking about
in my landau with all the dignity of a pasha.
At night-time I took off my costume and went to Momolo's, where I
expected to see dear Mariuccia for the last time. Supper passed
off in almost a similar manner to the supper of last Sunday; but
there was an interesting novelty for me--namely, the sight of my
beloved mistress in her character of bride. Her husband seemed to
be much more reserved with respect to me than at our first
meeting. I was puzzled by his behaviour, and sat down by
Mariuccia and proceeded to question her. She told me all the
circumstances which had passed on the first night, and she spoke
highly of her husband's good qualities. He was kind, amorous,
good-tempered, and delicate. No doubt he must have noticed that
the casket had been opened, but he had said nothing about it. As
he had spoken about me, she had not been able to resist the
pleasure of telling him that I was her sole benefactor, at which,
so far from being offended, he seemed to trust in her more than
"But has he not questioned you indirectly as to the connection
"Not at all. I told him that you went to my confessor after
having spoken to me once only in the church, where I told you what
a good chance I had of being married to him."
"Do you think he believed you?"
"I am not sure; however, even if it were otherwise, it is enough
that he pretends to, for I am determined to win his esteem."
"You are right, and I think all the better of him for his
suspicions, for it is better to marry a man with some sense in his
head than to marry a fool."
I was so pleased with what she told me that when I took leave of
the company I embraced the hairdresser, and drawing a handsome
gold watch from my fob I begged him to accept it as a souvenir of
me. He received it with the utmost gratitude. From my pocket I
took a ring, worth at least six hundred francs, and put it on his
wife's finger, wishing them a fair posterity and all manner of
happiness, and I then went home to bed, telling Le Duc and Costa
that we must begin to pack up next day.
I was just getting up when they brought me a note from Lord
Lismore, begging me to come and speak to him at noon at the Villa
I had some suspicion of what he might want, and kept the
appointment. I felt in a mood to give him some good advice.
Indeed, considering the friendship between his mother and myself,
it was my duty to do so.
He came up to me and gave me a letter he had received the evening
before from his mother. She told him that Paris de Monmartel had
just informed her that he was in possession of a bill for two
hundred thousand francs drawn by her son, and that he would honour
it if she would furnish him with the funds. She had replied that
she would let him know in two or three days if she could do so;
but she warned her son that she had only asked for this delay to
give him time to escape, as the bill would certainly be protested
and returned, it being absolutely out of the question for her
to get the money.
"You had better make yourself scarce as soon as you can," said I,
returning him the letter.
"Buy this ring, and so furnish me with the means for my escape.
You would not know that it was not my property if I had not told
you so in confidence."
I made an appointment with him, and had the stone taken out and
valued by one of the best jewellers in Rome.
"I know this stone," said he, "it is worth two thousand Roman
At four o'clock I took the earl five hundred crowns in gold and
fifteen hundred crowns in paper, which he would have to take to a
banker, who would give him a bill of exchange in Amsterdam.
"I will be off at nightfall," said he, "and travel by myself to
Amsterdam, only taking such effects as are absolutely necessary,
and my beloved blue ribbon."
"A pleasant journey to you," said I, and left him. In ten days I
had the stone mounted at Bologna.
I got a letter of introduction from Cardinal Albani for Onorati,
the nuncio at Florence, and another letter from M. Mengs to Sir
Mann, whom he begged to receive me in his house. I was going to
Florence for the sake of the Corticelli and my dear Therese, and I
reckoned on the auditor's feigning to ignore my return, in spite
of his unjust order, especially if I were residing at the English
On the second day of Lent the disappearance of Lord Lismore was
the talk of the town. The English tailor was ruined, the Jew who
owned the ring was in despair, and all the silly fellow's servants
were turned out of the house in almost a state of nakedness, as
the tailor had unceremoniously taken possession of everything in
the way of clothes that he could lay his hands on.
Poor Poinsinet came to see me in a pitiable condition; he had only
his shirt and overcoat. He had been despoiled of everything, and
threatened with imprisonment. "I haven't a farthing," said the
poor child of the muses, "I have only the shirt on my back. I
know nobody here, and I think I shall go and throw myself into the
He was destined, not to be drowned in the Tiber but in the
Guadalquivir. I calmed him by offering to take him to Florence
with me, but I warned him that I must leave him there, as someone
was expecting me at Florence. He immediately took up his abode
with me, and wrote verses incessantly till it was time to go.
My brother Jean made me a present of an onyx of great beauty. It
was a cameo, representing Venus bathing, and a genuine antique, as
the name of the artist, Sostrates, was cut on the stone. Two
years later I sold it to Dr. Masti, at London, for three hundred
pounds, and it is possibly still in the British Museum.
I went my way with Poinsinet who amused me, in spite of his
sadness, with his droll fancies. In two days I got down at Dr.
Vannini's, who tried to conceal his surprise at seeing me. I lost
no time, but waited on Sir ---- Mann immediately, and found him
sitting at table. He gave me a very friendly reception, but he
seemed alarmed when, in reply to his question, I told him that my
dispute with the auditor had not been arranged. He told me
plainly that he thought I had made a mistake in returning to
Florence, and that he would be compromised by my staying with him.
I pointed out that I was only passing through Florence.
"That's all very well," said he, "but you know you ought to call
on the auditor."
I promised to do so, and returned to my lodging. I had scarcely
shut the door, when an agent of police came and told me that the
auditor had something to say to me, and would be glad to see me at
an early hour next morning.
I was enraged at this order, and determined to start forthwith
rather than obey. Full of this idea I called on Therese and found
she was at Pisa. I then went to see the Corticelli, who threw her
arms round my neck, and made use of the Bolognese grimaces
appropriate to the occasion. To speak the truth, although the
girl was pretty, her chief merit in my eyes was that she made me
I gave some money to her mother to get us a good supper, and I
took the girl out on pretence of going for a walk. I went with
her to my lodging, and left her with Poinsinet, and going to
another room I summoned Costa and Vannini. I told Costa in
Vannini's presence to go on with Le Duc and my luggage the
following day, and to call for me at the "Pilgrim" at Bologna. I
gave Vannini my instructions, and he left the room; and then I
ordered Costa to leave Florence with Signora Laura and her son,
and to tell them that I and the daughter were on in front. Le Duc
received similar orders, and calling Poinsinet I gave him ten
Louis, and begged him to look out for some other lodging that very
evening. The worthy but unfortunate young man wept grateful
tears, and told me that he would set out for Parma on foot next
day, and that there M. Tillot would do some, thing for him.
I went back to the next room, and told the Corticelli to come with
me. She did so under the impression that we were going back to
her mother's, but without taking the trouble to undeceive her I
had a carriage and pair got ready, and told the postillion to
drive to Uccellatoio, the first post on the Bologna road.
"Where in the world are we going?" said she.
"How about mamma?"
"She will come on to-morrow."
"Does she know about it?"
"No, but she will to-morrow when Costa comes to tell her, and to
fetch her and your brother"
She liked the joke, and got into the carriage laughing, and we
My Arrival at Bologna--I Am Expelled from Modena--I Visit Parma
and Turin--The Pretty Jewess--The Dressmaker
The Corticelli had a good warm mantle, but the fool who carried
her off had no cloak, even of the most meagre kind, to keep off
the piercing cold, which was increased by a keen wind blowing
right in our faces.
In spite of all I would not halt, for I was afraid I might be
pursued and obliged to return, which would have greatly vexed me.
When I saw that the postillion was slackening his speed, I
increased the amount of the present I was going to make him, and
once more we rushed along at a headlong pace. I felt perishing
with the cold; while the postillions seeing me so lightly clad,
and so prodigal of my money to speed them on their way, imagined
that I was a prince carrying off the heiress of some noble family.
We heard them talking to this effect while they changed horses,
and the Corticelli was so much amused that she did nothing but
laugh for the rest of the way. In five hours we covered forty
miles; we started from Florence at eight o'clock, and at one in
the morning we stopped at a post in the Pope's territory, where I
had nothing to fear. The stage goes under the name of "The Ass
The odd name of the inn made my mistress laugh afresh. Everybody
was asleep, but the noise I made and the distribution of a few
pauls procured me the privilege of a fire. I was dying of hunger,
and they coolly told me there was nothing to eat. I laughed in
the landlord's face, and told him to bring me his butter, his
eggs, his macaroni, a ham, and some Parmesan cheese, for I knew
that so much will be found in the inns all over Italy. The repast
was soon ready, and I shewed the idiot host that he had materials
for an excellent meal. We ate like four, and afterwards they made
up an impromptu bed and we went to sleep, telling them to call me
as soon as a carriage and four drew up.
Full of ham and macaroni, slightly warmed with the Chianti and
Montepulciano, and tired with our journey, we stood more in need
of slumber than of love, and so we gave ourselves up to sleep till
morning. Then we gave a few moments to pleasure, but it was so
slight an affair as not to be worth talking about.
At one o'clock we began to feel hungry again and got up, and the
host provided us with an excellent dinner, after receiving
instructions from me. I was astonished not to see the carriage
draw up, but I waited patiently all day. Night came on and still
no coach, and I began to feel anxious; but the Corticelli
persisted in laughing at everything. Next morning I sent off an
express messenger with instructions for Costa. In the event of
any violence having taken place, I was resolved to return to
Florence, of which city I could at any time make myself free by
the expenditure of two hundred crowns.
The messenger started at noon, and returned at two o'clock with
the news that my servants would shortly be with me. My coach was
on its way, and behind it a smaller carriage with two horses, in
which sat an old woman and a young man.
"That's the mother," said Corticelli; "now we shall have some fun.
Let's get something for them to eat, and be ready to hear the
history of this marvellous adventure which she will remember to
her dying day."
Costa told me that the auditor had revenged my contempt of his
orders by forbidding the post authorities to furnish any horses
for my carriage. Hence the delay. But here we heard the
allocution of the Signora Laura.
"I got an excellent supper ready," she began, "according to your
orders; it cost me more than ten pauls, as I shall shew you, and I
hope you will make it up to me as I'm but a poor woman. All was
ready and I joyfully expected you, but in vain; I was in despair.
At last when midnight came I sent my son to your lodging to
enquire after you, but you may imagine my 'grief when I heard that
nobody knew what had become of you. I passed a sleepless night,
weeping all the time, and in the morning I went and complained to
the police that you had taken off my daughter, and asked them to
send after you and make you give her back to me. But only think,
they laughed at me! 'Why did you let her go out without you?
laughing in my face. 'Your daughter's in good hands,' says
another, 'you know perfectly well where she is.' In fact I was
"Slandered?" said the Corticelli.
"Yes, slandered, for it was as much as to say that I had consented
to your being carried off, and if I had done that the fools might
have known I would not have come to them about it. I went away in
a rage to Dr. Vannini's, where I found your man, who told me that
you had gone to Bologna, and that I could follow you if I liked.
I consented to this plan, and I hope you wilt pay my travelling
expenses. But I can't help telling you that this is rather beyond
I consoled her by telling her I would pay all she had spent, and
we set off for Bologna the next day, and reached that town at an
early hour. I sent my servants to the inn with my carriage, and I
went to lodge with the Corticelli.
I spent a week with the girl, getting my meals from the inn, and
enjoying a diversity of pleasures which I shall remember all my
days; my young wanton had a large circle of female friends, all
pretty and all kind. I lived with them like a sultan, and still I
delight to recall this happy time, and I say with a sigh, 'Tempi
There are many towns in Italy where one can enjoy all the
pleasures obtainable at Bologna; but nowhere so cheaply, so
easily, or with so much freedom. The living is excellent, and
there are arcades where one can walk in the shade in learned and
witty company. It is a great pity that either from the air, the
water, or the wine--for men of science have not made up their
minds on the subject persons who live at Bologna are subject to a
slight itch. The Bolognese, however, far from finding this
unpleasant, seem to think it an advantage; it gives them the
pleasure of scratching themselves. In springtime the ladies
distinguish themselves by the grace with which they use their
Towards mid-Lent I left the Corticelli, wishing her a pleasant
journey, for she was going to fulfil a year's engagement at Prague
as second dancer. I promised to fetch her and her mother to
Paris, and my readers will see how I kept my word.
I got to Modena the evening after I left Bologna, and I stopped
there, with one of those sudden whims to which I have always been
subject. Next morning I went out to see the pictures, and as I
was returning to my lodging for dinner a blackguardly-looking
fellow came up and ordered me, on the part of the Government, to
continue my journey on the day following at latest.
"Very good," said I, and the fellow went away.
"Who is that man?" I said to the landlord.
"A spy; and the Government dares to send such a fellow to me?"
"The 'borgello' must have sent him."
"Then the 'borgello' is the Governor of Modena--the infamous
"Hush! hush! all the best families speak to him in the street."
"Then the best people are very low here, I suppose?"
"Not more than anywhere else. He is the manager of the opera
house, and the greatest noblemen dine with him and thus secure his
"It's incredible! But why should the high and mighty borgello
send me away from Modena?"
"I don't know, but do you take my advice and go and speak to him;
you will find him a fine fellow."
Instead of going to see this b. . . . I called on the Abbe Testa
Grossa, whom I had known at Venice in 1753. Although he was a man
of low extraction he had a keen wit. At this time he was old and
resting on his laurels; he had fought his way into favour by the
sheer force of merit, and his master, the Duke of Modena, had long
chosen him as his representative with other powers.
Abbe Testa Grossa recognized me and gave me the most gracious
reception, but when he heard of what had befallen me he seemed
"What can I do?" said I.
"You had better go, as the man may put a much more grievous insult
"I will do so, but could you oblige me by telling me the reason
for such a high-handed action?"
"Come again this evening; I shall probably be able to satisfy
I called on the abbe again in the evening, for I felt anxious to
learn in what way I had offended the lord borgello, to whom I
thought I was quite unknown. The abbe satisfied me.
"The borgello," said he, "saw your name on the bill which he
receives daily containing a list of the names of those who enter
or leave the city. He remembered that you were daring enough to
escape from The Leads, and as he does not at all approve of that
sort of thing he resolved not to let the Modenese be contaminated
by so egregious an example of the defiance of justice, however
unjust it may be; and in short he has given you the order to leave
"I am much obliged, but I really wonder how it is that while you
were telling me this you did not blush to be a subject of the Duke
of Modena's. What an unworthy action! How contrary is such a
system of government to all the best interests of the state!"
"You are quite right, my dear sir, but I am afraid that as yet
men's eyes are not open to what best serves their interests."
"That is doubtless due to the fact that so many men are unworthy."
"I will not contradict you."
"Farewell, M. Casanova."
Next morning, just as I was going to get into my carriage, a young
man between twenty-five and thirty, tall and strong and broad
shouldered, his eyes black and glittering, his eyebrows strongly
arched, and his general air being that of a cut-throat, accosted
me and begged me to step aside and hear what he had to say.
"If you like to stop at Parma for three days, and if you will
promise to give me fifty sequins when I bring you the news that
the borgello is dead, I promise to shoot him within the next
"Thanks. Such an animal as that should be allowed to die a
natural death. Here's a crown to drink my health."
At the present time I feel very thankful that I acted as I did,
but I confess that if I had felt sure that it was not a trap I
should have promised the money. The fear of committing myself
spared me this crime.
The next day I got to Parma, and I put up at the posting-house
under the name of the Chevalier de Seingalt, which I still bear.
When an honest man adopts a name which belongs to no one, no one
has a right to contest his use of it; it becomes a man's duty to
keep the name. I had now borne it for two years, but I often
subjoined to it my family name.
When I got to Parma I dismissed Costa, but in a week after I had
the misfortune to take him on again. His father, who was a poor
violin player, as I had once been, with a large family to provide
for, excited my pity.
I made enquiries about M. Antonio, but he had left the place; and
M. Dubois Chalelereux, Director of the Mint, had gone to Venice
with the permission of the Duke of Parma, to set up the beam,
which was never brought into use. Republics are famous for their
superstitious attachment to old customs; they are afraid that
changes for the better may destroy the stability of the state, and
the government of aristocratic Venice still preserves its original
My Spaniard was delighted when I dismissed Costa and
proportionately sorry when I took him back.
"He's no profligate," said Le Duc; "he is sober, and has no liking
for bad company. But I think he's a robber, and a dangerous
robber, too. I know it, because he seems so scrupulously careful
not to cheat you in small things. Remember what I say, sir; he
will do you. He is waiting to gain your confidence, and then he
will strike home. Now, I am quite a different sort of fellow, a
rogue in a small way; but you know me."
His insight was, keener than mine, for five or six months later
the Italian robbed me of fifty thousand crowns. Twenty-three
years afterwards, in 1784, I found him in Venice, valet to Count
Hardegg, and I felt inclined to have him hanged. I shewed him by
proof positive that I could do so if I liked; but he had resource
to tears and supplications, and to the intercession of a worthy
man named Bertrand, who lived with the ambassador of the King of
Sardinia. I esteemed this individual, and he appealed to me
successfully to pardon Costa. I asked the wretch what he had done
with the gold and jewels he had stolen from me, and he told me
that he had lost the whole of it in furnishing funds for a bank at
Biribi, that he had been despoiled by his own associates, and had
been poor and miserable ever since.
In the same year in which he robbed me he married Momolo's
daughter, and after making her a mother he abandoned her.
To pursue our story.
At Turin I lodged in a private house with the Abbe Gama, who had
been expecting me. In spite of the good abbe's sermon on economy,
I took the whole of the first floor, and a fine suite it was.
We discussed diplomatic topics, and he assured me that I should be
accredited in May, and that he would give me instructions as to
the part I was to play. I was pleased with his commission, and I
told the abbe that I should be ready to go to Augsburg whenever
the ambassadors of the belligerent powers met there.
After making the necessary arrangements with my landlady with
regard to my meals I went to a coffeehouse to read the papers, and
the first person I saw was the Marquis Desarmoises, whom I had
known in Savoy. The first thing he said was that all games of
chance were forbidden, and that the ladies I had met would no
doubt be delighted to see me. As for himself, he said that he
lived by playing backgammon, though he was not at all lucky at it,
as talent went for more than luck at that game. I can understand
how, if fortune is neutral, the best player will win, but I do not
see how the contrary can take place.
We went for a walk in the promenade leading to the citadel, where
I saw numerous extremely pretty women. In Turin the fair sex is
most delightful, but the police regulations are troublesome to a
degree. Owing to the town being a small one and thinly peopled,
the police spies find out everything. Thus one cannot enjoy any
little freedoms without great precautions and the aid of cunning
procuresses, who have to be well paid, as they would be cruelly
punished if they were found out. No prostitutes and no kept women
are allowed, much to the delight of the married women, and with
results which the ignorant police might have anticipated. As well
be imagined, pederasty has a fine field in this town, where the
passions are kept under lock and key.
Amongst the beauties I looked at, one only attracted me. I asked
Desarmoises her name, as he knew all of them.
"That's the famous Leah," said he; "she is a Jewess, and
impregnable. She has resisted the attacks of the best strategists
in Turin. Her father's a famous horse-dealer; you can go and see
her easily enough, but there's nothing to be done there."
The greater the difficulty the more I felt spurred on to attempt
"Take me there," said I, to Desarmoises.
"As soon as you please."
I asked him to dine with me, and we were on our way when we met M.
Zeroli and two or three other persons whom I had met at Aix. I
gave and received plenty of compliments, but not wishing to pay
them any visits I excused myself on the pretext of business.
When we had finished dinner Desarmoises took me to the horse-
dealer's. I asked if he had a good saddle horse. He called a lad
and gave his orders, and whilst he was speaking the charming
daughter appeared on the scene. She was dazzlingly beautiful, and
could not be more than twenty-two. Her figure was as lissom as a
nymph's, her hair a raven black, her complexion a meeting of the
lily and the rose, her eyes full of fire, her lashes long, and her
eye-brows so well arched that they seemed ready to make war on any
who would dare the conquest of her charms. All about her
betokened an educated mind and knowledge of the world.
I was so absorbed in the contemplation of her charms that I did
not notice the horse when it was brought to me. However, I
proceeded to scrutinise it, pretending to be an expert, and after
feeling the knees and legs, turning back the ears, and looking at
the teeth, I tested its behaviour at a walk, a trot, and a gallop,
and then told the Jew that I would come and try it myself in top-
boots the next day. The horse was a fine dappled bay, and was
priced at forty Piedmontese pistoles--about a hundred sequins.
"He is gentleness itself," said Leah, "and he ambles as fast as
any other horse trots."
"You have ridden it, then?"
"Often, sir, and if I were rich I would never sell him."
"I won't buy the horse till I have seen you ride it."
She blushed at this.
"You must oblige the gentleman," said her father. She consented
to do so, and I promised to come again at nine o'clock the next
I was exact to time, as may be imagined, and I found Leah in
riding costume. What proportions! What a Venus Callipyge! I was
Two horses were ready, and she leapt on hers with the ease and
grace of a practised rider, and I got up on my horse. We rode
together for some distance. The horse went well enough, but what
of that; all my eyes were for her.
As we were turning, I said,--
"Fair Leah, I will buy the horse, but as a present for you; and if
you will not take it I shall leave Turin today. The only
condition I attach to the gift is, that you will ride with me
whenever I ask you."
I saw she seemed favourably inclined to my proposal, so I told her
that I should stay six weeks at Turin, that I had fallen in love
with her on the promenade, and that the purchase of the horse had
been a mere pretext for discovering to her my feelings. She
replied modestly that she was vastly flattered by the liking I had
taken to her, and that I need not have made her such a present to
assure myself of her friendship.
"The condition you impose on me is an extremely pleasant one, and
I am sure that my father will like me to accept it."
To this she added,--
"All I ask is for you to make me the present before him, repeating
that you will only buy it on the condition that I will accept it."
I found the way smoother than I had expected, and I did what she
asked me. Her father, whose name was Moses, thought it a good
bargain, congratulated his daughter, took the forty pistoles and
gave me a receipt, and begged me to do them the honour of
breakfasting with them the next day. This was just what I wanted.
The following morning Moses received me with great respect. Leah,
who was in her ordinary clothes, told me that if I liked to ride
she would put on her riding habit.
"Another day," said I; "to-day I should like to converse with you
in your own house."
But the father, who was as greedy as most Jews are, said that if I
liked driving he could sell me a pretty phaeton with two excellent
"You must shew them to the gentleman," said Leah, possibly in
concert with her father.
Moses said nothing, but went out to get the horses harnessed.
"I will look at them," I said to Leah, "but I won't buy, as I
should not know what to do with them."
"You can take your lady-love out for a drive."
"That would be you; but perhaps you would be afraid!"
"Not at all, if you drove in the country or the suburbs."
"Very good, Leah, then I will look at them."
The father came in, and we went downstairs. I liked the carriage
and the horses, and I told Leah so.
"Well," said Moses, "you can have them now for four hundred
sequins, but after Easter the price will be five hundred sequins
Leah got into the carriage, and I sat beside her, and we went for
an hour's drive into the country. I told Moses I would give him
an answer by the next day, and he went about his business, while
Leah and I went upstairs again.
"It's quite worth four hundred sequins," said I, "and to-morrow I
will buy it with pleasure; but on the same condition as that on
which I bought the horse, and something more--namely, that you
will grant me all the favours that a tender lover can desire."
"You speak plainly, and I will answer you in the same way. I'm an
honest girl, sir, and not for sale."
"All women, dear Leah, whether they are honest or not, are for
sale. When a man has plenty of time he buys the woman his heart
desires by unremitting attentions; but when he's in a hurry he
buys her with presents, and even with money."
"Then he's a clumsy fellow; he would do better to let sentiment
and attention plead his cause and gain the victory."
"I wish I could give myself that happiness, fair Leah, but I'm in
a great hurry."
As I finished this sentence her father came in, and I left the
house telling him that if I could not come the next day I would
come the day after, and that we could talk about the phaeton then.
It was plain that Leah thought I was lavish of my money, and would
make a capital dupe. She would relish the phaeton, as she had
relished the horse, but I knew that I was not quite such a fool as
that. It had not cost me much trouble to resolve to chance the
loss of a hundred sequins, but beyond that I wanted some value for
I temporarily suspended my visits to see how Leah and her father
would settle it amongst themselves. I reckoned on the Jew's
greediness to work well for me. He was very fond of money, and
must have been angry that his daughter had not made me buy the
phaeton by some means or another, for so long as the phaeton was
bought the rest would be perfectly indifferent to him. I felt
almost certain that they would come and see me.
The following Saturday I saw the fair Jewess on the promenade. We
were near enough for me to accost her without seeming to be
anxious to do so, and her look seemed to say, "Come."
"We see no more of you now," said she, "but come and breakfast
with me to-morrow, or I will send you back the horse."
I promised to be with her in good time, and, as the reader will
imagine, I kept my word.
The breakfast party was almost confined to ourselves, for though
her aunt was present she was only there for decency's sake. After
breakfast we resolved to have a ride, and she changed her clothes
before me, but also before her aunt. She first put on her leather
breeches, then let her skirts fall, took off her corset, and
donned a jacket. With seeming indifference I succeeded in
catching a glimpse of a magnificent breast; but the sly puss knew
how much my indifference was worth.
"Will you arrange my frill?" said she.
This was a warm occupation for me, and I am afraid my hand was
indiscreet. Nevertheless, I thought I detected a fixed design
under all this seeming complaisance, and I was on my guard.
Her father came up just as we were getting on horseback.
"If you will buy the phaeton and horses," said he, "I will abate
"All that depends on your daughter," said I.
We set off at a walk, and Leah told me that she had been imprudent
enough to confess to her father that she could make me buy the
carriage, and that if I did not wish to embroil her with him I
would be kind enough to purchase it.
"Strike the bargain," said she, "and you can give it me when you
are sure of my love."
"My dear Leah, I am your humble servant, but you know on what
"I promise to drive out with you whenever you please, without
getting out of the carriage, but I know you would not care for
that. No, your affection was only a temporary caprice."
"To convince you of the contrary I will buy the phaeton and put it
in a coach-house. I will see that the horses are taken-care of,
though I shall not use them. But if you do not make me happy in
the course of a week I shall re-sell the whole."
"Come to us to-morrow."
"I will do so, but I trust have some pledge of your affection this
"This morning? It's impossible."
"Excuse me; I will go upstairs with you, and you can shew me more
than one kindness while you are undressing."
We came back, and I was astonished to hear her telling her father
that the phaeton was mine, and all he had to do was to put in the
horses. The Jew grinned, and we all went upstairs, and Leah
"Count out the money."
"I have not any money about me, but I will write you a cheque, if
"Here is paper."
I wrote a cheque on Zappata for three hundred sequins, payable at
sight. The Jew went off to get the money, and Leah remained alone
"You have trusted me," she said, "and have thus shewn yourself
worthy of my love."
"Then undress, quick!"
"No, my aunt is about the house; and as I cannot shut the door
without exciting suspicion, she might come in; but I promise that
you shall be content with me tomorrow. Nevertheless, I am going
to undress, but you must go in this closet; you may come back when
I have got my woman's clothes on again."
I agreed to this arrangement, and she shut me in. I examined the
door, and discovered a small chink between the boards. I got on a
stool, and saw Leah sitting on a sofa opposite to me engaged in
undressing herself. She took off her shift and wiped her breasts
and her feet with a towel, and just as she had taken off her
breeches, and was as naked as my hand, one of her rings happened
to slip off her finger, and rolled under the sofa. She got up,
looked to right and left, and then stooped to search under the
sofa, and to do this she had to kneel with her head down. When
she got back to couch, the towel came again into requisition, and
she wiped herself all over in such a manner that all her charms
were revealed to my eager eyes. I felt sure that she knew I was a
witness of all these operations, and she probably guessed what a
fire the sight would kindle in my inflammable breast.
At last her toilette was finished, and she let me out. I clasped
her in my arms, with the words, "I have seen everything." She
pretended not to believe me, so I chewed her the chink, and was
going to obtain my just dues, when the accursed Moses came in. He
must have been blind or he would have seen the state his daughter
had put me in; however, he thanked me, and gave me a receipt for
the money, saying, "Everything in my poor house is at your
I bade them adieu, and I went away in an ill temper. I got into
my phaeton, and drove home and told the coachman to find me a
stable for the horses and a coach-house for the carriage.
I did not expect to see Leah again, and I felt enraged with her.
She had pleased me only too much by her voluptuous attitudes, but
she had set up an irritation wholly hostile to Love. She had made
Love a robber, and the hungry boy had consented, but afterwards,
when he craved more substantial fare, she refused him, and ardour
was succeeded by contempt. Leah did not want to confess herself
to be what she really was, and my love would not declare itself
I made the acquaintance of an amiable chevalier, a soldier, a man
of letters, and a great lover of horses, who introduced me to
several pleasant families. However, I did not cultivate them, as
they only offered me the pleasures of sentiment, while I longed
for lustier fare for which I was willing to pay heavily. The
Chevalier de Breze was not the man for me; he was too respectable
for a profligate like myself. He bought the phaeton and horses,
and I only lost thirty sequins by the transaction.
A certain M. Baretti, who had known me at Aix, and had been the
Marquis de Pries croupier, took me to see the Mazzoli, formerly a
dancer, and then mistress to the Chevalier Raiberti, a hardheaded
but honest man, who was then secretary for foreign affairs.
Although the Mazzoli was by no means pretty, she was extremely
complaisant, and had several girls at her house for me to see;
but I did not think any of them worthy of occupying Leah's place.
I fancied I no longer loved Leah, but I was wrong.
The Chevalier Cocona, who had the misfortune to be suffering from
a venereal disease, gave me up his mistress, a pretty little
'soubrette'; but in spite of the evidence of my own eyes, and in
spite of the assurances she gave me, I could not make up my mind
to have her, and my fear made me leave her untouched. Count
Trana, a brother of the chevalier's whom I had known at Aix,
introduced me to Madame de Sc----, a lady of high rank and very
good-looking, but she tried to involve me in a criminal
transaction, and I ceased to call on her. Shortly after, Count
Trana's uncle died and he became rich and got married, but he
lived an unhappy life.
I was getting bored, and Desarmoises, who had all his meals with
me, did not know what to do. At last he advised me to make the
acquaintance of a certain Madame R----, a Frenchwoman, and well
known in Turin as a milliner and dressmaker. She had six or eight
girls working for her in a room adjoining her shop. Desarmoises
thought that if I got in there I might possibly be able to find
one to my taste. As my purse was well furnished I thought I
should not have much difficulty, so I called on Madame R----. I
was agreeably surprised to find Leah there, bargaining for a
quantity of articles, all of which she pronounced to be too dear.
She told me kindly but reproachfully that she had thought I must
"I have been very busy," I said; and felt all my old ardour
revive. She asked me to come to a Jewish wedding, where there
would be a good many people and several pretty girls. I knew that
ceremonies of this kind are very amusing, and I promised to be
present. She proceeded with her bargaining, but the price was
still too high and she left the shop. Madame R---- was going to
put back all the trifles in their places, but I said,--
"I will take the lot myself."
She smiled, and I drew out my purse and paid the money.
"Where do you live, sir?" said she; "and when shall I send you
"You may bring them to-morrow yourself, and do me the honour of
breakfasting with me."
"I can never leave the shop, sir." In spite of her thirty-five
years, Madame R---- was still what would be called a tasty morsel,
and she had taken my fancy.
"I want some dark lace," said I.
"Then kindly follow me, sir."
I was delighted when I entered the room to see a lot of young
work-girls, all charming, hard at work, and scarcely daring to
look at me. Madame R---- opened several cupboards, and showed me
some magnificent lace. I was distracted by the sight of so many
delicious nymphs, and I told her that I wanted the lace for two
'baoutes' in the Venetian style. She knew what I meant. The lace
cost me upwards of a hundred sequins. Madame R---- told two of
her girls to bring me the lace the next day, together with the
goods which Leah had thought too dear. They meekly replied,--
They rose and kissed the mother's hand, which I thought a
ridiculous ceremony; however, it gave me an opportunity of
examining them, and I thought them delicious. We went back to the
shop, and sitting down by the counter I enlarged on the beauty of
the girls, adding, though not with strict truth, that I vastly
preferred their mistress. She thanked me for the compliment and
told me plainly that she had a lover, and soon after named him.
He was the Comte de St. Giles, an infirm and elderly man, and by
no means a model lover. I thought Madame R---- was jesting, but
next day I ascertained that she was speaking the truth. Well,
everyone to his taste, and I suspect that she was more in love
with the count's purse than his person. I had met him at the
The next day the two pretty milliners brought me my goods. I
offered them chocolate, but they firmly and persistently declined.
The fancy took me to send them to Leah with all the things she had
chosen, and I bade them return and tell me what sort of a
reception they had had. They said they would do so, and waited
for me to write her a note.
I could not give them the slightest mark of affection. I dared
not shut the door, and the mistress and the ugly young woman of
the house kept going and coming all the time; but when they came
back I waited for them on the stairs, and giving them a sequin
each told each of them that she might command my heart if she
would. Leah had accepted my handsome present and sent to say that
she was waiting for me.
As I was walking aimlessly about in the afternoon I happened to
pass the milliner's shop, and Madame R---- saw me and made me come
in and sit down beside her.
"I am really much obliged to you," said she, "for your kindness to
my girls. They came home enchanted. Tell me frankly whether you
are really in love with the pretty Jewess."
"I am really in love with her, but as she will not make me happy I
have signed my own dismissal."
"You were quite right. All Leah thinks of is duping those who are
captivated by her charms."
"Do not your charming apprentices follow your maxims?"
"No; but they are only complaisant when I give them leave."
"Then I commend myself to your intercession, for they would not
even take a cup of chocolate from me."
"They were perfectly right not to accept your chocolate: but I see
you do not know the ways of Turin. Do you find yourself
comfortable in your present lodging?"
"Are you perfectly free to do what you like?"
"I think so."
"Can you give supper to anyone you like in your own rooms? I am
certain you can't."
"I have not had the opportunity of trying the experiment so far,
but I believe . . . ."
"Don't flatter yourself by believing anything; that house is full
of the spies of the police."
"Then you think that I could not give you and two or three of your
girls a little supper?"
"I should take very good care not to go to it, that's all I know.
By next morning it would be known to all the town, and especially
to the police."
"Well, supposing I look out for another lodging?"
"It's the same everywhere. Turin is a perfect nest of spies; but
I do know a house where you could live at ease, and where my girls
might perhaps be able to bring you your purchases. But we should
have to be very careful."
"Where is the house I will be guided by you in everything."
"Don't trust a Piedmontese; that's the first commandment here."
She then gave me the address of a small furnished house, which was
only inhabited by an old door-keeper and his wife.
"They will let it you by the month," said she, "and if you pay a
month in advance you need not even tell them your name."
I found the house to be a very pretty one, standing in a lonely
street at about two hundred paces from the citadel. One gate,
large enough to admit a carriage, led into the country. I found
everything to be as Madame R---- had described it. I paid a month
in advance without any bargaining, and in a day I had settled in
my new lodging. Madame R---- admired my celerity.
I went to the Jewish wedding and enjoyed myself, for there is
something at once solemn and ridiculous about the ceremony; but I
resisted all Leah's endeavours to get me once more into her
meshes.. I hired a close carriage from her father, which with the
horses I placed in the coach-house and stables of my new house.
Thus I was absolutely free to go whenever I would by night or by
day, for I was at once in the town and in the country. I was
obliged to tell the inquisitive Gama where I was living, and I hid
nothing from Desarmoises, whose needs made him altogether
dependent on me. Nevertheless I gave orders that my door was shut
to them as to everyone else, unless I had given special
instructions that they were to be admitted. I had no reason to
doubt the fidelity of my two servants.
In this blissful abode I enjoyed all Mdlle. R----'s girls, one
after the other. The one I wanted always brought a companion,
whom I usually sent back after giving her a slice of the cake.
The last of them, whose name was Victorine, as fair as day and as
soft as a dove, had the misfortune to be tied, though she knew
nothing about it. Mdlle. R----, who was equally ignorant on the
subject, had represented her to me as a virgin, and so I thought
her for two long hours in which I strove with might and main to
break the charm, or rather open the shell. All my efforts were in
vain. I was exhausted at last, and I wanted to see in what the
obstacle consisted. I put her in the proper position, and armed
with a candle I began my scrutiny. I found a fleshy membrane
pierced by so small a hole that large pin's head could scarcely
have gone through. Victorine encouraged me to force a passage
with my little finger, but in vain I tried to pierce this wall,
which nature had made impassable by all ordinary means. I was
tempted to see what I could do with a bistoury, and the girl
wanted me to try, but I was afraid of the haemorrhage which might
have been dangerous, and I wisely refrained.
Poor Victorine, condemned to die a maid, unless some clever
surgeon performed the same operation that was undergone by Mdlle.
Cheruffini shortly after M. Lepri married her, wept when I said,--
"My dear child, your little Hymen defies the most vigorous lover
to enter his temple."
But I consoled her by saying that a good surgeon could easily make
a perfect woman of her.
In the morning I told Madame R---- of the case.
She laughed and said,--
"It may prove a happy accident for Victorine; it may make her
A few years after the Count of Padua had her operated on, and made
her fortune. When I came back from Spain I found that she was
with child, so that I could not exact the due reward for all the
trouble I had taken with her.
Early in the morning on Maunday Thursday they told me that Moses
and Leah wanted to see me. I had not expected to see them, but I
welcomed them warmly. Throughout Holy Week the Jews dared not
shew themselves in the streets of Turin, and I advised them to
stay with me till the Saturday. Moses began to try and get me to
purchase a ring from him, and I judged from that that I should not
have to press them very much.
"I can only buy this ring from Leah's hands," said I.
He grinned, thinking doubtless that I intended to make her a
present of it, but I was resolved to disappoint him. I gave them
a magnificent dinner and supper, and in the evening they were
shewn a double-bedded room not far from mine. I might have put
them in different rooms, and Leah in a room adjoining mine, which
would have facilitated any nocturnal excursions; but after all I
had done for her I was resolved to owe nothing to a surprise; she
should come of herself.
The next day Moses (who noticed that I had not yet bought the
ring) was obliged to go out on business, and asked for the loan of
my carriage for the whole day, telling me that he would come for
his daughter in the evening. I had the horses harnessed, and when
he was gone I bought the ring for six hundred sequins, but on my
own terms. I was in my own house, and Leah could not deceive me.
As soon as the father was safely out of the way I possessed myself
of the daughter. She proved a docile and amorous subject the
whole day. I had reduced her to a state of nature, and though her
body was as perfect as can well be imagined I used it and abused
it in every way imaginable. In the evening her father found her
looking rather tired, but he seemed as pleased as I was. Leah was
not quite so well satisfied, for till the moment of their
departure she was expecting me to give her the ring, but I
contented myself with saying that I should like to reserve myself
the pleasure of taking it to her.
On Easter Monday a man brought me a note summoning me to appear at
the police office.
My Victory Over the Deputy Chief of Police--My Departure--
Chamberi--Desarmoises's Daughter--M. Morin--M * * * M * * *
--At Aix--The Young Boarder--Lyons--Paris
This citation, which did not promise to lead to anything
agreeable, surprised and displeased me exceedingly. However, I
could not avoid it, so I drove to the office of the deputy-
superintendent of police. I found him sitting at a long table,
surrounded by about a score of people in a standing posture. He
was a man of sixty, hideously ugly, his enormous nose half
destroyed by an ulcer hidden by a large black silk plaster, his
mouth of huge dimensions, his lips thick, with small green eyes
and eyebrows which had partly turned white. As soon as this
disgusting fellow saw me, he began,--
"You are the Chevalier de Seingalt?"
"That is my name, and I have come here to ask how I can oblige
"I have summoned you here to order you to leave the place in three
days at latest."
"And as you have no right to give such an order, I have come here
to tell you that I shall go when I please, and not before."
"I will expel you by force."
"You may do that whenever you please. I cannot resist force, but
I trust you will give the matter a second thought; for in a well-
ordered city they do not expel a man who has committed no crimes,
and has a balance of a hundred thousand francs at the bank."
"Very good, but in three days you have plenty of time to pack up
and arrange matters with your banker. I advise you to obey, as
the command comes from the king."
"If I were to leave the town I should become accessory to your
injustice! I will not obey, but since you mention the king's
name, I will go to his majesty at once, and he will deny your
words or revoke the unjust order you have given me with such
"Pray, does not the king possess the power to make you go?"
"Yes, by force, but not by justice. He has also the power to kill
me, but he would have to provide the executioner, as he could not
make me commit suicide."
"You argue well, but nevertheless you will obey."
"I argue well, but I did not learn the art from you, and I will
With these words I turned my back on him, and left without another
I was in a furious rage. I felt inclined to offer overt
resistance to all the myrmidons of the infamous superintendent.
Nevertheless I soon calmed myself, and summoning prudence to my
aid I remembered the Chevalier Raiberti, whom I had seen at his
mistress's house, and I decided on asking his advice. He was the
chief permanent official in the department of foreign affairs. I
told the coachman to drive to his house, and I recounted to him
the whole tale, saying, finally, that I should like to speak to
the king, as I was resolved that I would not go unless I was
forced to do so. The worthy man advised me to go to the Chevalier
Osorio, the principal secretary for foreign affairs, who could
always get an audience of the king. I was pleased with his
advice, and I went immediately to the minister, who was a Sicilian
and a man of parts. He gave me a very good reception, and after I
had informed him of the circumstances of the case I begged him to
communicate the matter to his majesty, adding that as the
superintendent's order appeared horribly unjust to me I was
resolved not to obey it unless compelled to do so by main force.
He promised to oblige me in the way I wished, and told me to call
again the next day.
After leaving him I took a short walk to cool myself, and then
went to the Abbe Gama, hoping to be the first to impart my
ridiculous adventure to him. I was disappointed; he already knew
that I had been ordered to go, and how I had answered the
superintendent. When he saw that I persisted in my determination
to resist, he did not condemn my firmness, though he must have
thought it very extraordinary, for the good abbe could not
understand anybody's disobeying the order of the authorities. He
assured me that if I had to go he would send me the necessary
instructions to any address I liked to name.
The next day the Chevalier Osorio received me with the utmost
politeness, which I thought a good omen. The Chevalier Raiberti
had spoken to him in my behalf, and he had laid the matter before
the king and also before the Count d'Aglie, and the result was
that I could stay as long as I liked. The Count d'Aglie was none