Part 3 out of 3
speak the truth. This Count Clary, who was not one of the Clarys of
Teplitz, could neither go to his own country nor to Vienna, because
he had deserted the army on the eve of a battle. He was lame, but he
walked so adroitly that his defect did not appear. If this had been
the only truth he concealed, it would have been well, for it was a
piece of deception that hurt no one. He died miserably in Venice.
We reached Breslau in perfect safety, and without experiencing any
adventures. Campioni, who had accompanied me as far as Wurtemburg,
returned, but rejoined me at Vienna in the course of seven months.
Count Clary had left Breslau, and I thought I would make the
acquaintance of the Abbe Bastiani, a celebrated Venetian, whose
fortune had been made by the King of Prussia. He was canon of the
cathedral, and received me cordially; in fact, each mutually desired
the other's acquaintance. He was a fine well-made man, fair-
complexioned, and at least six feet high. He was also witty,
learned, eloquent, and gifted with a persuasive voice; his cook was
an artist, his library full of choice volumes, and his cellar a very
good one. He was well lodged on the ground floor, and on the first
floor he accommodated a lady, of whose children he was very fond,
possibly because he was their father. Although a great admirer of
the fair sex, his tastes were by no means exclusive, and he did not
despise love of the Greek or philosophic kind. I could see that he
entertained a passion for a young priest whom I met at his table.
This young abbe was Count di Cavalcano and Bastiani seemed to adore
him, if fiery glances signified anything; but the innocent young man
did not seem to understand, and I suppose Bastiani did not like to
lower his dignity by declaring his love. The canon shewed me all the
letters he had received from the King of Prussia before he had been
made canon. He was the son of a tailor at Venice, and became a
friar, but having committed some peccadillo which got him into
trouble, he was fortunate enough to be able to make his escape. He
fled to The Hague, and there met Tron, the Venetian ambassador, who
lent him a hundred ducats with which he made his way to Berlin and
favour with the king. Such are the ways by which men arrive at
fortune! 'Sequere deum'!
On the event of my departure from Breslau I went to pay a call on a
baroness for whom I had a letter of introduction from her son, who
was an officer of the Polish Court. I sent up my name and was asked
to wait a few moments, as the baroness was dressing. I sat down
beside a pretty girl, who was neatly dressed in a mantle with a hood.
I asked her if she were waiting for the baroness like myself.
"Yes, sir," she replied, "I have come to offer myself as governess
for her three daughters."
"What! Governess at your age?"
"Alas! sir, age has nothing to do with necessity. I have neither
father nor mother. My brother is a poor lieutenant who cannot help
me; what can I do? I can only get a livelihood by turning my good
education to account."
"What will your salary be?"
"Fifty wretched crowns, enough to buy my dresses."
"It's very little."
"It is as much as people give."
"Where are you living now?"
"With a poor aunt, where I can scarce earn enough bread to keep me
alive by sewing from morning till night."
"If you liked to become my governess instead of becoming a children's
governess, I would give you fifty crowns, not per year, but per
"Your governess? Governess to your family, you mean, I suppose?"
"I have no family; I am a bachelor, and I spend my time in
travelling. I leave at five o'clock to-morrow morning for Dresden,
and if you like to come with me there is a place for you in my
carriage. I am staying at such an inn. Come there with your trunk,
and we will start together."
"You are joking; besides, I don't know you."
"I am not jesting; and we should get to know each other perfectly
well in twenty-four hours; that is ample time."
My serious air convinced the girl that I was not laughing at her; but
she was still very much astonished, while I was very much astonished
to find I had gone so far when I had only intended to joke. In
trying to win over the girl I had won over myself. It seemed to me a
rare adventure, and I was delighted to see that she was giving it her
serious attention by the side-glances she kept casting in my
direction to see if I was laughing at her. I began to think that
fate had brought us together that I might become the architect of her
fortune. I had no doubt whatever as to her goodness or her feelings
for me, for she completely infatuated my judgment. To put the
finishing stroke on the affair I drew out two ducats and gave them
her as an earnest of her first month's wages. She took them timidly,
but seemed convinced that I was not imposing on her.
By this time the baroness was ready, and she welcomed me very kindly;
but I said I could not accept her invitation to dine with her the
following day, as I was leaving at day-break. I replied to all the
questions that a fond mother makes concerning her son, and then took
leave of the worthy lady. As I went out I noticed that the would-be
governess had disappeared. The rest of the day I spent with the
canon, making good cheer, playing ombre, drinking hard, and talking
about girls or literature. The next day my carriage came to the door
at the time I had arranged, and I went off without thinking of the
girl I had met at the baroness's. But we had not gone two hundred
paces when the postillion stopped, a bundle of linen whirled through
the window into the carriage, and the governess got in. I gave her a
hearty welcome by embracing her, and made her sit down beside me, and
so we drove off.
In the ensuing chapter the reader will become more fully acquainted
with my fresh conquest. In the meantime let him imagine me rolling
peacefully along the Dresden road.
My Arrival at Dresden with Maton--She Makes Me a Present--Leipzig--
Castelbajac--Schwerin--Return to Dresden and Departure--I Arrive at
When I saw myself in the carriage with this pretty girl, who had
fallen on me as if from the clouds, I imagined I was intended to
shape her destiny. Her tutelary genius must have placed her in my
hands, for I felt inclined to do her all the good that lay in my
power. But for myself; was it a piece of good or ill luck for me?
I formed the question, but felt that time alone could give the
answer. I knew that I was still living in my old style, while I was
beginning to feel that I was no longer a young man.
I was sure that my new companion could not have abandoned herself to
me in this manner, without having made up her mind to be complaisant;
but this was not enough for me, it was my humour to be loved. This
was my chief aim, everything else was only fleeting enjoyment, and as
I had not had a love affair since I parted with Zaira, I hoped most
fervently that the present adventure would prove to be one.
Before long I learnt that my companion's name was Maton; this at
least was her surname, and I did not feel any curiosity to know the
name of the he or she saint whom her godmothers had constituted her
patron at the baptismal font. I asked her if she could write French
as well as she spoke it, and she shewed me a letter by way of sample.
It assured me that she had received an excellent education, and this
fact increased my pleasure in the conquest I had made. She said she
had left Breslau without telling her aunt or her cousin that she was
going, perhaps never to return.
"How about your belongings?"
"Belongings? They were not worth the trouble of gathering together.
All I have is included in that small package, which contains a
chemise, a pair of stockings, some handkerchiefs, and a few
"What will your lover say?"
"Alas! I haven't got one to say anything."
"I cannot credit that."
"I have had two lovers; the first one was a rascal, who took
advantage of my innocence to seduce me, and then left me when I
ceased to present any novelty for him; my second was an honest man,
but a poor lieutenant with no prospects of getting on. He has not
abandoned me, but his regiment was ordered to Stetin, and since
"And since then?"
"We were too poor to write to one another, so we had to suffer in
This pathetic history seemed to bear the marks of truth; and I
thought it very possible that Maton had only come with me to make her
fortune or to do rather better than she had been doing, which would
not be difficult. She was twenty-five years old, and as she had
never been out of Breslau before, she would doubtless be delighted to
see what the world was like at Dresden. I could not help feeling
that I had been a fool to burden myself with the girl, who would most
likely cost me a lot of money; but still I found my conduct
excusable, as the chances were a hundred to one against her accepting
the proposal I had been foolish enough to make. In short, I resolved
to enjoy the pleasure of having a pretty girl all to myself, and I
determined not to do anything during the journey, being anxious to
see whether her moral qualities would plead as strongly with me as
her physical beauty undoubtedly did. At nightfall I stopped, wishing
to spend the night at the posting-station. Maton, who had been very
hungry all day, but had not dared to tell me so, ate with an amazing
and pleasing appetite; but not being accustomed to wine, she would
have fallen asleep at table, if I had not begged her to retire. She
begged my pardon, assuring me she would not let such a thing occur
again. I smiled by way of reply, and stayed at the table, not
looking to see whether she undressed or went to bed in her clothes.
I went to bed myself soon after, and at five o'clock was up again to
order the coffee, and to see that the horses were put in. Maton was
lying on her bed with all her clothes on, fast asleep, and perspiring
with the heat. I woke her, telling her that another time she must
sleep more comfortably, as such heats were injurious to health.
She got up and left the room, no doubt to wash, for she returned
looking fresh and gay, and bade me good day, and asked me if I would
like to give her a kiss.
"I shall be delighted," I replied; and, after kissing her, I made her
hurry over the breakfast, as I wished to reach Dresden that evening.
However, I could not manage it, my carriage broke down, and took five
hours to mend, so I had to sleep at another posting station. Maton
undressed this time, but I had the firmness not to look at her.
When I reached Dresden I put up at the "Hotel de Saxe," taking the
whole of the first floor. My mother was in the country, and I paid
her a visit, much to her delight; we made quite an affecting picture,
with my arm in a sling. I also saw my brother John and his wife
Therese, Roland, and a Roman girl whom I had known before him, and
who made much of me. I also saw my sister, and I then went with my
brother to pay my suit to Count Bruhl and to his wife, the daughter
of the palatin of Kiowia, who was delighted to hear news of her
family. I was welcomed everywhere, and everywhere I had to tell the
story of my duel. I confess that very little pressing was required,
for I was very proud of it.
At this period the States were assembled in Dresden, and Prince
Xavier, uncle of the Elector, was regent during his minority.
The same evening I went to the opera-house, where faro was played. I
played, but prudently, for my capital only consisted of eighteen
When I came back we had a good supper, and Maton pleased me both by
her appetite and amiability. When we had finished I affectionately
asked her if she would like to share my bed, and she replied as
tenderly that she was wholly mine. And so, after passing a
voluptuous night, we rose in the morning the best friends in the
I spent the whole morning in furnishing her toilette. A good many
people called on me, and wanted to be presented to Maton; but my
answer was that, as she was only my housekeeper, and not my wife, I
could not have the pleasure of introducing her. In the same way I
had instructed her that she was not to let anyone in when I was away.
She was working in her room on the linen I had provided for her,
aided in her task by a seamstress. Nevertheless, I did not want to
make her a slave, so I occasionally took her into the pleasant
suburbs of Dresden, where she was at liberty to speak to any of my
acquaintances we might meet.
This reserve of mine which lasted for the fortnight we stayed in
Dresden was mortifying for all the young officers in the place, and
especially for the Comte de Bellegarde, who was not accustomed to
being denied any girl to whom he chose to take a fancy. He was a
fine young fellow, of great boldness and even impudence, and one day
he came into our room and asked me to give him a dinner just as Maton
and myself were sitting down to table. I could not refuse him, and I
could not request Maton to leave the room, so from the beginning to
the end of the meal he showered his military jokes and attentions on
her, though he was perfectly polite the whole time. Maton behaved
very well; she was not prudish, nor did she forget the respect she
owed to me and indeed to herself.
I was accustomed to take a siesta every day after dinner, so half an
hour after the conclusion of the meal I stated the fact and begged
him to leave us. He asked smilingly if the lady took a siesta too,
and I replied that we usually took it together. This made him take
up his hat and cane, and as he did so he asked us both to dine with
him the next day. I replied that I never took Maton out anywhere,
but that he would be welcome to come and take pot-luck with us every
day if he liked.
This refusal exhausted his resources, and he took his leave if not
angrily, at least very coldly.
My mother returned to her town apartments, which were opposite to
mine, and the next day when I was calling on her I noticed the erker
(a sort of grating in the Spanish fashion) which indicated my rooms
in the hotel. I happened to look in that direction and I saw
Maton at the window standing up and talking to M. de Bellegarde, who
was at a neighbouring window. This window belonged to a room which
adjoined my suite of rooms, but did not belong to it. This discovery
amused me. I knew what I was about, and did not fear to be made a
cuckold in spite of myself. I was sure I had not been observed, and
I was not going to allow any trespassers. I was jealous, in fact;
but the jealousy was of the mind, not the heart.
I came in to dinner in the highest spirits, and Maton was as gay as
myself. I led the conversation up to Bellegarde, and said I believed
him to be in love with her.
"Oh, he is like all officers with girls; but I don't think he is more
in love with me than any other girl."
"Oh, but didn't he come to call on me this morning?"
"Certainly not; and if he had come the maid would have told him you
"Did you not notice him walking up and down 'under the windows?"
This was enough for me; I knew they had laid a plot together. Maton
was deceiving me, and I should be cheated in twenty-four hours unless
I took care. At my age such treason should not have astonished me,
but my vanity would not allow me to admit the fact.
I dissembled my feelings and caressed the traitress, and then leaving
the house I went to the theatre where I played with some success and
returned home while the second act was in progress; it was still
daylight. The waiter was at the door, and I asked him whether there
were any rooms besides those which I occupied on the first floor.
"Yes, two rooms, both looking on the street."
"Tell the landlord that I will take them both."
"They were taken yesterday evening."
"By a Swiss officer, who is entertaining a party of friends to supper
here this evening."
I said no more lest I should awaken suspicion; but I felt sure that
Bellegarde could easily obtain access to my rooms from his. Indeed,
there was a door leading to the room where Maton slept with her maid
when I did not care to have her in my room. The door was bolted on
her side, but as she was in the plot there was not much security in
I went upstairs softly, and finding Maton on the balcony, I said,
after some indifferent conversation, that I should like to change
"You shall have my room," I said, "and I will have yours; I can read
there, and see the people going by."
She thought it a very good idea, and added that it would serve us
both if I would allow her to sit there when I was out.
This reply shewed me that Maton was an old hand, and that I had
better give her up if I did not wish to be duped.
I changed the rooms, and we supped pleasantly together, laughing and
talking, and in spite of all her craft Maton did not notice any
change in me.
I remained alone in my new room, and soon heard the voices of
Bellegarde and his merry companions. I went on to the balcony, but
the curtains of Bellegarde's room were drawn, as if to assure me that
there was no complot. However, I was not so easily deceived, and I
found afterwards that Mercury had warned Jupiter that Amphytrion had
changed his room.
Next day, a severe headache, a thing from which I seldom suffer, kept
me to the house all day. I had myself let blood, and my worthy
mother, who came to keep me company, dined with Maton. My mother had
taken a weakness for the girl, and had often asked me to let her come
and see her, but I had the good sense to refuse this request. The
next day I was still far from well, and took medicine, and in the
evening, to my horror, I found myself attacked by a fearful disease.
This must be a present from Maton, for I had not known anyone else
since leaving Leopol. I spent a troubled night, rage and indignation
being my principal emotions; and next morning, coming upon Maton
suddenly, I found everything in the most disgusting state. The
wretched creature confessed she had been infected for the last six
months, but that she had hoped not to give it me, as she had washed
herself carefully whenever she thought I was going to have to do with
"Wretch, you have poisoned me; but nobody shall know it, as it is by
my own fault, and I am ashamed of it. Get up, and you shall see how
generous I can be."
She got up, and I had all the linen I had given her packed into a
trunk. This done, I told my man to take a small room for her at
another inn. His errand was soon over, and I then told Maton to go
immediately, as I had done with her. I gave her fifty crowns, and
made her sign a receipt specifying the reason why I had sent her
away, and acknowledging that she had no further claim upon me. The
conditions were humiliating, and she wished me to soften them down,
but she soon gave in when I told her that unless she signed I would
turn her into the streets as naked as when I found her.
"What am I to do here? I don't know anyone."
"If you like to return to Breslau I will pay your expenses there."
She made no answer, so I sent her away bag and baggage, and merely
turned my back on her when she went down on her knees to excite my
I got rid of her without the slightest feeling of pity, for from what
she had done to me and from what she was preparing to do I considered
her as a mere monster, who would sooner or later have cost me my
I left the inn the following day, and I took a furnished apartment on
the first floor of the house where my mother lived for six months,
and proceeded about my cure. Everyone asked me what I had done with
my housekeeper, and I said that having no further need of her
services I had sent her away.
A week afterwards my brother John came to tell me that Bellegarde and
five or six of his friends were on the sick list; Maton had certainly
lost no time.
"I am sorry for them, but it's their own fault; why didn't they take
"But the girl came to Dresden with you."
"Yes, and I sent her about her business. It was enough for me to
keep them off while she was under my charge. Tell them that if they
complain of me they are wrong, and still more wrong to publish their
shame. Let them learn discretion and get themselves cured in
secrecy, if they do not want sensible men to laugh at them. Don't
you think I am right?"
"The adventure is not a very honourable one for you."
"I know it, and that's why I say nothing; I am not such a fool as to
proclaim my shame from the housetops. These friends of yours must be
simpletons indeed; they must have known that I had good reasons for
sending the girl away, and should consequently have been on their
guard. They deserve what they got, and I hope it may be a lesson to
"They are all astonished at your being well."
"You may comfort them by saying that I have been as badly treated as
they, but that I have held my tongue, not wishing to pass for a
Poor John saw he had been a simpleton himself and departed in
silence. I put myself under a severe diet, and by the middle of
August my health was re-established.
About this time, Prince Adam Czartoryski's sister came to Dresden,
lodging with Count Bruhl. I had the honour of paying my court to
her, and I heard from her own mouth that her royal cousin had had the
weakness to let himself be imposed on by calumnies about me. I told
her that I was of Ariosto's opinion that all the virtues are nothing
worth unless they are covered with the veil of constancy.
"You saw yourself when I supped with you, how his majesty completely
ignored me. Your highness will be going to Paris next year; you will
meet me there and you can write to the king that if I had been burnt
in effigy I should not venture to shew myself."
The September fair being a great occasion at Leipzig, I went there to
regain my size by eating larks, for which Leipzig is justly famous.
I had played a cautious but a winning game at Dresden, the result of
which had been the gain of some hundreds of ducats, so I was able to
start for Leipzig with a letter of credit for three thousand crowns
on the banker Hohman, an intelligent old man of upwards of eighty.
It was of him I heard that the hair of the Empress of Russia, which
looked a dark brown or even black, had been originally quite fair.
The old banker had seen her at Stettin every day between her seventh
and tenth years, and told me that even then they had begun to comb
her hair with lead combs, and to rub a certain composition into it.
From an early age Catherine had been looked upon as the future bride
of the Duke of Holstein, afterwards the hapless Peter III. The
Russians are fair as a rule, and so it was thought it that the
reigning family should be dark.
Here I will note down a pleasant adventure I had at Leipzig. The
Princess of Aremberg had arrived from Vienna, and was staying at the
same hotel as myself. She took a fancy to go to the fair incognito,
and as she had a large suite she dressed up one of her maids as the
princess, and mingled with her following. I suppose my readers to be
aware that this princess was witty and beautiful, and that she was
the favourite mistress of the Emperor Francis the First.
I heard of his masquerade, and leaving my hotel at the same time I
followed her till she stopped at a stall, and then going up to her
and addressing her as one would any other maid, I asked if that
(pointing at the false princess) were really the famous Princess of
"Certainly," she replied.
"I can scarcely believe it, for she is not pretty, and she, has, not
the look nor the manners of a princess."
"Perhaps you are not a good judge of princesses."
"I have seen enough of them anyhow, and to prove that I am a good
judge I say that it is you who ought to be the princess; I would
willingly give a hundred ducats to spend the night with you."
"A hundred ducats! What would you do if I were to take you at your
"Try me. I lodge at the same hotel as you, and if yet can contrive
ways and means, I will give you the money in advance, but not till I
am sure of my prize, for I don't like being taken in."
"Very good. Say not a word to anyone, but try to speak with me
either before or after supper. If you are brave enough to face
certain risks, we will spend the night together."
"What is your name?"
I felt certain it would come to nothing, but I was glad to have
amused the princess, and to have let her know that I appreciated her
beauties, and I resolved to go on with the part I was playing.
About supper-time I began a promenade near the princess's apartments,
stopping every now and then in front of the room where her women were
sitting, till one of them came out to ask me if I wanted anything.
"I want to speak for a moment to one of your companions to whom I had
the pleasure of talking at the fair."
"You mean Caroline, I expect?"
"She is waiting on the princess, but she will be out in half an
I spent this half hour in my own room, and then returned to dance
attendance. Before long the same maid to whom I had spoken came up
to me and told me to wait in a closet which she shewed me, telling me
that Caroline would be there before long. I went into the closet,
which was small, dark, and uncomfortable. I was soon joined by a
woman. This time I was sure it was the real Caroline, but I said
She came, in, took my hand, and told me that if I would wait there
she would come to me as soon as her mistress was in bed.
"Without any light?"
"Of course, or else the people of the house would notice it, and I
should not like that."
"I cannot do anything without light, charming Caroline; and besides,
this closet is not a very nice place to pass five or six hours.
There is another alternative, the first room above is mine. I shall
be alone, and I swear to you that no one shall come in; come up and
make me happy; I have got the hundred ducats here."
"Impossible! I dare not go upstairs for a million ducats."
"So much the worse for you, as I am not going to stay in this hole
which "has only a chair in it, if you offer me a million and a half.
Farewell, sweet Caroline."
"Wait a moment; let me go out first."
The sly puss went out quickly enough, but I was as sharp as she, and
trod on the tail of her dress so that she could not shut the door
after her. So we went out together, and I left her at the door,
"Good night, Caroline, you see it was no use."
I went to bed well pleased with the incident. The princess, it was
plain, had intended to make me pass the night in the hole of a
closet, as a punishment for having dared to ask the mistress of an
emperor to sleep with me for a hundred crowns.
Two days later, as I was buying a pair of lace cuffs, the princess
came into the shop with Count Zinzendorf, whom I had known at Paris
twelve years before. just as I was making way for the lady the count
recognized me, and asked me if I knew anything about the Casanova
that had fought the duel at Warsaw.
"Alas! count, I am that Casanova, and here is my arm still in a
"I congratulate you, my dear fellow; I should like to hear about it."
With these words he introduced me to the princess, asking her if she
had heard of the duel.
"Yes; I heard something about it in the papers. So this is the hero
of the tale. Delighted to make your acquaintance."
The princess spoke with great kindness, but with the cool politeness
of the Court. She did not give me the slightest sign of recognition,
and of course I imitated her in her reserve.
I visited the count in the afternoon, and he begged me to come and
see the princess, who would be delighted to hear the account of my
duel from my own lips, and I followed him to her apartment with
pleasure. The princess listened to my narrative in stately sort, and
her women never looked at me. She went away the day after, and the
story went no farther.
Towards the end of the fair I received a very unexpected visit from
the fair Madame Castelbajac. I was just sitting down to table to eat
a dozen larks, when she made her appearance.
"What, madam, you here!"
"Yes, to my sorrow. I have been here for the last three weeks, and
have seen you several times, but you have always avoided us."
"Who are 'us'?"
"Schwerin and myself"
"Schwerin is here, is he?"
"Yes; and in prison on account of a forged bill. I am sure I do not
know what they will do to the poor wretch. He would have been wise
to have fled, but it seems as if he wanted to get hanged."
"And you have been with him ever since you left England? that is,
three years ago."
"Exactly. Our occupation is robbing, cheating, and escaping from one
land to another. Never was a woman so unhappy as I."
"For how much is the forged bill?"
"For three hundred crowns. Do a generous action M. Casanova, and let
bygones be bygones; deliver the poor wretch from the gallows and me
from death, for if he is hanged I shall kill myself."
"Indeed, madam, he may hang for me, for he did his best to send me to
the gallows with his forged bills; but I confess I pity you. So
much, indeed, that I invite you to come to Dresden with me the day
after to-morrow, and I promise to give you three hundred crowns as
soon as Schwerin has undergone the extreme penalty of the law. I
can't understand how a woman like you can have fallen in love with a
man that has neither face, nor talents, nor wit, nor fortune, for all
that he has to boast of is his name of Schwerin."
"I confess, to my shame, that I never loved him. Ever since the
other rogue, Castelbajac--who, by the way, was never married to me--
made me know him, I have only lived with him by force, though his
tears and his despairs have excited my compassion. If destiny had
given me an honest man in his stead, I would have forsaken him long
ago, for sooner or later he will be the death of me."
"Where do you live?"
"Nowhere. I have been turned out into the street with nothing but
the clothes on my back. Have compassion on me."
With these words the hapless woman threw herself at my knees and
burst into tears. I was much affected. The waiter of the inn stood
staring with amazement till I told him to go out. I may safely say
that this woman was one of the most handsome in France; she was
probably about twenty-six years old. She had been the wife of a
druggist of Montpellier, and had been so unfortunate as to let
Castelbajac seduce her. At London her beauty had produced no
impression on me, my heart was another's; nevertheless, she was made
to seduce the heart of man.
I raised her from her knees, and said I felt inclined to help her,
but that in the first place she must calm herself, and in the second
share my supper. The waiter brought another bed and put it in my
room, without receiving any orders to do so; this made me feel
inclined to laugh.
The appetite with which the poor woman ate, despite her sorrow,
reminded me of the matron of Ephesus. When supper was over I gave
her her choice: she might either stay in Leipzig and fare as best she
might, or I would reclaim her effects, take her with me to Dresden,
and pay her a hundred gold ducats as soon as I could be certain that
she would not give the money to the wretch who had reduced her to
such an extremity. She did not ask much time for reflection. She
said that it would be no good for her to stay in Leipzig, for she
could do nothing for the wretched Schwerin or even keep herself for a
day, for she had not got a farthing. She would have to beg or to
become a prostitute, and she could not make up her mind to either
"Indeed," she concluded, "if you were to give me the hundred ducats
this moment, and I used them to free Schwerin, I should be no better
off than before; so I accept your generous offer thankfully."
I embraced her, promised to get back what her landlord had seized for
rent, and then begged her to go to bed, as she was in need of rest.
"I see," she answered, "that either out of liking or for politeness'
sake you will ask me for those favours which I should be only too
happy to grant, but if I allowed that it would be a bad return indeed
for your kindness. Look at my linen, and behold in what a state that
unhappy wretch has left me!"
I saw that I ran the risk of being infected again, and thanked her
for warning me of the danger I ran. In spite of her faults she was a
woman of feeling, and had an excellent heart, and from these good
qualitites of hers proceeded all her misfortunes.
The next morning I arranged for the redemption of her effects, which
cost me sixty crowns of Saxony, and in the afternoon the poor woman
saw herself once more in possession of her belongings, which she had
thought never to see again. She seemed profoundly grateful, and
deplored her state, which hindered her from proving the warmth of her
Such is the way of women: a grateful woman has only one way of
shewing her gratitude, and that is to surrender herself without
reserve. A man is different, but we are differently constituted; a
man is made to give and a woman to receive.
The next day, a short while before we left, the broker I had employed
in the redemption of the lady's effects, told me that the banker,
whom Schwerin had cheated, was going to send an express to Berlin, to
enquire whether the king would object to Count Schwerin's being
proceeded against with the utmost rigour of the law.
"Alas!" cried his late mistress, "that's what he was most afraid of.
It's all up with him. The King of Prussia will pay his debts, but he
will end his days at Spandau. Why didn't they put him there before I
ever knew him?"
She left Leipzig with me, and our appearance at Dresden caused a good
deal of surprise. She was not a mere girl, like Maton; she had a
good appearance, and a modest yet distinguished manner. I called her
Countess Blasin, and introduced her to my mother and relations, and
put her in my best room. I summoned the doctor who had treated me,
and made him swear not to disclose the countess's state, but to tell
everyone that he came to see me. I took her to the theatre, and it
was my humour to have her regarded as a person of distinction. Good
treatment soon restored her to health, and by the end of November she
believed herself in a state to reward me for my kindness.
The wedding was a secret one, but none the less pleasant; and as if
by way of wedding present the next day I heard that the King of
Prussia had paid Schwerin's debts, and had had him brought to Berlin
under a strong escort. If he is alive, the rascal is at Spandau to
The time had come for me to pay her the hundred ducats. I told her
frankly that I was obliged to go to Portugal, and that I could not
make my appearance there in company with a pretty woman without
failing in my project. I added that my means would not allow me to
pay double expenses for so long a journey.
She had received too many proofs of my love to think for a moment
that I had got tired of her, and wanted to be on with some other
woman. She told me that she owed everything to me, while I owed
nothing to her; and that all she asked of me was to enable her to
return to Montpellier.
"I have relations there," said she, "who will be glad to see me, and
I hope that my husband will let me return to him. I am the Prodigal
Son, and I hope to find in him the forgiving father."
I told her I would do my utmost to send her home in safety and
Towards the middle of December I left Dresden with Madame Blasin. My
purse only contained four hundred ducats, for I had had a run of bad
luck at play; and the journey to Leipzig had cost me altogether three
hundred ducats. I told my mistress nothing of all this, for my only
thought was how to please her.
We stayed a short while at Prague, and reached Vienna on Christmas
Day. We put up at the "Red Bull," the Countess Blasin (who had been
transformed into a milliner) in one room, and I in another, so that
we might pass for strangers while continuing our intimacy.
The next morning, as we were taking coffee together, two individuals
came into the room, and asked the rude question,--
"Who are you, madam?"
"My name is Blasin."
"Who is this gentleman?"
"You had better ask him."
"What are you doing at Vienna?"
"Taking coffee. I should have thought you could have seen that for
"If the gentleman is not your husband, you will leave the town within
"The gentleman is my friend, and not my husband; and I shall leave
Vienna exactly when I choose, unless you make me go away by force."
"Very good. We are aware, sir, that you have a separate room, but
that makes no difference."
Thereupon one of the policemen entered my room, I following him.
"What do you want here?" said I.
"I am looking at your bed, and I can see you have not slept in it.
"The devil! What business have you here at all, and who authorizes
such disgraceful proceedings?"
He made no reply, but returned to Madame Blasin's room, where they
both ordered her to leave Vienna in the course of twenty-four hours,
and then they both left us.
"Dress yourself," said I to her, "and tell the French ambassador the
whole story. Tell him that you are a milliner, Blasin by name, and
that all you want is to go from here to Strasburg, and from there to
While she was dressing I ordered a carriage and a servant to be in
attendance. She returned in an hour's time, and said the ambassador
had assured her that she would be left alone, and need not leave
Vienna till she thought fit. I took her to mass in triumph, and
then, as the weather was bad, we spent the rest of the day in eating
and drinking and sitting by the fire.
At eight o'clock in the evening the landlord came up and said very
politely that he had been ordered by the police to give the lady a
room at some distance from mine, and that he was obliged to obey.
"I am quite ready to change my room," said Madame Blasin, with a
"Is the lady to sup alone?" I asked.
"I have received no instructions on that point."
"Then I will sup with her, and I hope you will treat us well."
"You shall be well served, sir."
In spite of the detestable and tyrannical police we spent the last
four days and nights together in the closest intimacy. When she left
I wanted her to take fifty Louis; but she would only have thirty,
saying that she could travel to Montpellier on that sum, and have
money in her pocket when she got there. Our parting was an affecting
one. She wrote to me from Strasburg, and we shall hear of her again
when I describe my visit to Montpellier.
The first day of the year 1767 I took an apartment in the house of a
certain Mr. Schroder, and I took letters of introduction to Madame de
Salmor and Madame de Stahremberg. I then called on the elder
Calsabigi, who was in the service of Prince Kaunitz.
This Calsabigi, whose whole body was one mass of eruption, always
worked in bed, and the minister, his master, went to see him almost
every day. I went constantly to the theatre, where Madame Vestris
was dancing. On January the 7th or 8th, I saw the empress dowager
come to the theatre dressed in black; she was received with applause,
as this was the first appearance she had made since the death of her
husband. At Vienna I met the Comte de la Perouse, who was trying to
induce the empress to give him half a million of florins, which
Charles VI. owed his father. Through him I made the acquaintance of
the Spaniard Las Casas, a man of intelligence, and, what is a rare
thing in a Spaniard, free from prejudices. I also met at the count's
house the Venetian Uccelli, with whom I had been at St. Cyprian's
College at Muran; he was, at the time of which I write, secretary to
the ambassador, Polo Renieri. This gentleman had a great esteem for
me, but my affair with the State Inquisitors prevented him from
receiving me. My friend Campioni arrived at this date from Warsaw;
he had passed through Cracovia. I accommodated him in my apartment
with great pleasure. He had an engagement at London, but to my great
delight he was able to spend a couple of months with me.
Prince Charles of Courland, who had been at Venice and had been well
received by M. de Bragadin and my other friends, had been in Vienna
and had left it a fortnight before my arrival to return to Venice.
Prince Charles wrote to tell me that there was no bounds to the care
and kindness of my Venetian friends, and that he would be grateful to
me for all his days.
I lived very quietly at Vienna; my health was good, and I thought of
nothing but my journey to Portugal, which I intended to take place in
the spring. I saw no company of any kind, whether good or ill.
I often called on Calsabigi, who made a parade of his Atheism, and
slandered my friend Metastasio, who dispised him. Calsabigi knew it
and laughed at him; he was a profound politician and the right hand
of Prince Kaunitz.
One day after dinner, as I was sitting at table with my friend
Campioni, a pretty little girl, between twelve and thirteen, as I
should imagine, came into my room with mingled boldness and fear, and
made me a low bow. I asked her what she wanted, and she replied in
Latin verse to the effect that her mother was in the next room, and
that if I liked she would come in. I replied in Latin prose that I
did not care about seeing her mother, telling her my reasons with
great plainness. She replied with four Latin lines, but as they were
not to the point I could see that she had learnt them by heart, and
repeated them like a parrot. She went on-still in Latin verse--to
tell me that her mother must come in or else the authorities might
think I was abusing her.
This last phrase was uttered with all the directness of the Latin
style. It made me burst out laughing, and I felt inclined to explain
to her what she had said in her own language. The little slut told
me she was a Venetian, and this putting me at my ease I told her that
the authorities would never suspect her of doing such a thing as she
was too young. At this the girl seemed to reflect a moment, and then
recited some verses from the Priapeia to the effect that unripe fruit
is often more piquant than that which is ripe. This was enough to
set me on fire, and Campioni, seeing that he was not wanted, went
back to his room.
I drew her gently to me and asked her if her father was at Vienna.
She said yes, and instead of repulsing my caresses she proceeded to
accompany my actions with the recital of erotic verses. I sent her
away with a fee of two ducats, but before she went she gave me her
address written in German with four Latin verses beneath, stating
that her bedfellow would find her either Hebe or Ganymede, according
to his liking.
I could not help admiring the ingenuity of her father, who thus
contrived to make a living out of his daughters. She was a pretty
girl enough, but at Vienna pretty girls are so common that they often
have to starve in spite of their charms. The Latin verses had been
thrown in as an attraction in this case, but I did not think she
would find it very remunerative in Vienna.
Next evening my evil genius made me go and seek her out at the
address she had given me. Although I was forty-two years old, in
spite of the experience I had had, I was so foolish as to go alone.
The girl saw me coming from the window, and guessing that I was
looking for her, she came down and shewed me in. I went in, I went
upstairs, and when I found myself in the presence of the wretch
Pocchini my blood froze in my veins. A feeling of false shame
prevented my retracing my steps, as it might have looked as if I had
been afraid. In the same room were his pretended wife, Catina, two
Sclavonic-looking assassins, and the decoy-duck. I saw that this was
not a laughing matter, so I dissembled to the best of my ability, and
made up my mind to leave the place in five minutes' time.
Pocchini, swearing and blaspheming, began to reproach me with the
manner in which I had treated him in England, and said that his time
had come, and that my life was in his hands. One of the two Sclavs
broke in, and said we must make friends, and so made me sit down,
opened a bottle, and said we must drink together. I tried to put as
good a face upon it as I could, but I begged to be excused, on which
Pocchini swore that I was afraid of having to pay for the bottle of
"You are mistaken," said I; "I am quite ready to pay."
I put my hand in my pocket to take out a ducat without drawing out my
purse, but the Sclav told me I need not be afraid, as I was amongst
honest people. Again shame made me yield, and as I had some
difficulty in extracting my purse, the Sclav kindly did it for me.
Pocchini immediately snatched it from his hands, and said he should
keep it as part compensation for all I had made him endure.
I saw that it was a concerted scheme, and said with a smile that he
could do as he liked, and so I rose to leave them. The Sclav said we
must embrace each other, and on my declaring that to be unnecessary,
he and his comrade drew their sabres, and I thought myself undone.
Without more ado, I hastened to embrace them. To my astonishment
they let me go, and I went home in a grievous state, and not knowing
what else to do went to bed.