Part 1 out of 3
This etext was produced by David Widger
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6a--SPAIN
THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA DE SEINGALT
THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN TO
WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.
I Am Ordered to Leave Vienna--The Empress Moderates but Does Not Annul
the Order--Zavoiski at Munich--My Stay at Augsburg--Gasconnade at
Louisburg--The Cologne Newspaper--My Arrival at Aix-la-Chapelle
The greatest mistake a man that punishes a knave can commit is to leave
the said rogue alive, for he is certain to take vengeance.
If I had had my sword in the den of thieves, I should no doubt have
defended myself, but it would have gone ill with me, three against one,
and I should probably have been cut to pieces, while the murderers would
have escaped unpunished.
At eight o'clock Campioni came to see me in my bed, and was astonished at
my adventure. Without troubling himself to compassionate me, we both
began to think how we could get back my purse; but we came to the
conclusion that it would be impossible, as I had nothing more than my
mere assertion to prove the case. In spite of that, however, I wrote out
the whole story, beginning with the girl who recited the Latin verses. I
intended to bring the document before the police; however, I had not time
to do so.
I was just sitting down to dinner, when an agent of the police came and
gave me an order to go and speak to Count Schrotembach, the Statthalter.
I told him to instruct my coachman, who was waiting at the door, and that
I would follow him shortly.
When I called on the Statthalter, I found him to be a thick-set
individual; he was standing up, and surrounded by men who seemed ready to
execute his orders. When he saw me, he shewed me a watch, and requested
me to note the hour.
"I see it."
"If you are at Vienna at that time to-morrow I shall have you expelled
from the city."
"Why do you give me such an unjust order?"
"In the first place, I am not here to give you accounts or reasons for my
actions. However, I may tell you that you are expelled for playing at
games of chance, which are forbidden by the laws under pain of the
galleys. Do you recognize that purse and these cards?"
I did not know the cards, but I knew the purse which had been stolen from
me. I was in a terrible rage, and I only replied by presenting the
magistrate with the truthful narrative of what had happened to me. He
read it, and then said with a laugh that I was well known to be a man of
parts, that my character was known, that I had been expelled from Warsaw,
and that as for the document before him he judged it to be a pack of
lies, since in his opinion it was altogether void of probability.
"In fine," he added, "you will obey my order to leave the town, and you
must tell me where you are going."
"I will tell you that when I have made up my mind to go."
"What? You dare to tell me that you will not obey?"
"You yourself have said that if I do not go I shall be removed by force."
"Very good. I have heard you have a strong will, but here it will be of
no use to you. I advise you to go quietly, and so avoid harsh measures."
"I request you to return me that document."
"I will not do so. Begone!"
This was one of the most terrible moments of my life. I shudder still
when I think of it. It was only a cowardly love of life that hindered me
from running my sword through the body of the Statthalter, who had
treated me as if he were a hangman and not a judge.
As I went away I took it into my head to complain to Prince Kaunitz,
though I had not the honour of knowing him. I called at his house, and a
man I met told me to stay in the ante-chamber, as the prince would pass
through to go to dinner.
It was five o'clock. The prince appeared, followed by his guests,
amongst whom was M. Polo Renieri, the Venetian ambassador. The prince
asked me what he could do for me, and I told my story in a loud voice
before them all.
"I have received my order to go, but I shall not obey. I implore your
highness to give me your protection, and to help me to bring my plea to
the foot of the throne."
"Write out your petition," he replied, "and I will see that the empress
gets it. But I advise you to ask her majesty for a respite, for if you
say that you won't obey, she will be predisposed against you."
"But if the royal grace does not place me in security, I shall be driven
away by violence."
"Then take refuge with the ambassador of your native country."
"Alas, my lord, my country has forsaken me. An act of legal though
unconstitutional violence has deprived me of my rights as a citizen. My
name is Casanova, and my country is Venice."
The prince looked astonished and turned to the Venetian ambassador, who
smiled, and whispered to him for ten minutes.
"It's a pity," said the prince, kindly, "that you cannot claim the
protection of any ambassador."
At these words a nobleman of colossal stature stepped forward and said I
could claim his protection, as my whole family, myself included, had
served the prince his master. He spoke the truth, for he was the
ambassador of Saxony.
"That is Count Vitzthum," said the prince. "Write to the empress, and I
will forward your petition immediately. If there is any delay in the
answer, go to the count; you will be safe with him, until you like to
In the meanwhile the prince ordered writing materials to be brought me,
and he and his guests passed into the dining-hall.
I give here a copy of the petition, which I composed in less than ten
minutes. I made a fair copy for the Venetian ambassador to send home to
"MADAM,--I am sure that if, as your royal and imperial highness were
walking in your garden, an insect appealed plaintively to you not to
crush it, you would turn aside, and so avoid doing the poor creature any
"I, madam, am an insect, and I beg of you that you will order
M. Statthalter Schrotembach to delay crushing me with your majesty's
slipper for a week. Possibly, after that time has elapsed, your majesty
will not only prevent his crushing me, but will deprive him of that
slipper, which was only meant to be the terror of rogues, and not of an
humble Venetian, who is an honest man, though he escaped from The Leads.
"In profound submission to your majesty's will,
"Given at Vienna, January 21st, 1769."
When I had finished the petition, I made a fair draft of it, and sent it
in to the prince, who sent it back to me telling me that he would place
it in the empress's hands immediately, but that he would be much obliged
by my making a copy for his own use.
I did so, and gave both copies to the valet de chambre, and went my way.
I trembled like a paralytic, and was afraid that my anger might get me
into difficulty. By way of calming myself, I wrote out in the style of a
manifesto the narrative I had given to the vile Schrotembach, and which
that unworthy magistrate had refused to return to me.
At seven o'clock Count Vitzthum came into my room. He greeted me in a
friendly manner and begged me to tell him the story of the girl I had
gone to see, on the promise of the Latin quatrain referring to her
accommodating disposition. I gave him the address and copied out the
verses, and he said that was enough to convince an enlightened judge that
I had been slandered; but he, nevertheless, was very doubtful whether
justice would be done me.
"What! shall I be obliged to leave Vienna to-morrow?"
"No, no, the empress cannot possibly refuse you the week's delay."
"Oh! no one could refuse such an appeal as that. Even the prince could
not help smiling as he was reading it in his cold way. After reading it
he passed it on to me, and then to the Venetian ambassador, who asked him
if he meant to give it to the empress as it stood. 'This petition,'
replied the prince, 'might be sent to God, if one knew the way;' and
forthwith he ordered one of his secretaries to fold it up and see that it
was delivered. We talked of you for the rest of dinner, and I had the
pleasure of hearing the Venetian ambassador say that no one could
discover any reason for your imprisonment under the Leads. Your duel was
also discussed, but on that point we only knew what has appeared in the
newspapers. Oblige me by giving me a copy of your petition; that phrase
of Schrotembach and the slipper pleased me vastly."
I copied out the document, and gave it him with a copy of my manifesto.
Before he left me the count renewed the invitation to take refuge with
him, if I did not hear from the empress before the expiration of the
At ten o'clock I had a visit from the Comte de la Perouse, the Marquis de
las Casas, and Signor Uccelli, the secretary of the Venetian embassy.
The latter came to ask for a copy of my petition for his chief. I
promised he should have it, and I also sent a copy of my manifesto. The
only thing which rather interfered with the dignity of this latter piece,
and gave it a somewhat comic air, were the four Latin verses, which might
make people imagine that, after enjoying the girl as Hebe, I had gone in
search of her as Ganymede. This was not the case, but the empress
understood Latin and was familiar with mythology, and if she had looked
on it in the light I have mentioned I should have been undone. I made
six copies of the two documents before I went to bed; I was quite tired
out, but the exertion had somewhat soothed me. At noon the next day,
young Hasse (son of the chapel-master and of the famous Trustina),
secretary of legation to Count Vitzthum, came to tell me from the
ambassador that nobody would attack me in my own house, nor in my
carriage if I went abroad, but that it would be imprudent to go out on
foot. He added that his chief would have the pleasure of calling on me
at seven o'clock. I begged M. Hasse to let me have all this in writing,
and after he had written it out he left me.
Thus the order to leave Vienna had been suspended; it must have been done
by the sovereign.
"I have no time to lose," said I to myself, "I shall have justice done
me, my assassins will be condemned, my purse will be returned with the
two hundred ducats in it, and not in the condition in which it was shewn
to me by the infamous Schrotembach, who will be punished by dismissal, at
Such were my castles in Spain; who has not built such? 'Quod nimis
miseri volunt hoc facile credunt', says Seneca. The wish is father to
Before sending my manifesto to the empress, Prince Kaunitz, and to all
the ambassadors, I thought it would be well to call on the Countess of
Salmor, who spoke to the sovereign early and late. I had had a letter of
introduction for her.
She greeted me by saying that I had better give up wearing my arm in a
sling, as it looked as ii I were a charlatan; my arm must be well enough
after nine months.
I was extremely astonished by this greeting, and replied that if it were
not necessary I should not wear a sling, and that I was no charlatan.
"However," I added, "I have come to see you on a different matter."
"Yes, I know, but I will have nothing to do with it. You are all as bad
I gave a turn round and left the room without taking any further notice
of her. I returned home feeling overwhelmed by the situation. I had
been robbed and insulted by a band of thorough-paced rascals;
I could do nothing, justice was denied me, and now I had been made a mock
of by a worthless countess. If I had received such an insult from a man
I would have soon made him feel the weight of one arm at all events. I
could not bear my arm without a sling for an hour; pain and swelling set
in immediately. I was not perfectly cured till twenty months after the
Count Vitzthum came to see me at seven o'clock. He said the empress had
told Prince Kaunitz that Schrotembach considered my narrative as pure
romance. His theory was that I had held a bank at faro with sharpers'
cards, and had dealt with both hands the arm in the sling being a mere
pretence. I had then been taken in the act by one of the gamesters, and
my unjust gains had been very properly taken from me. My detector had
then handed over my purse, containing forty ducats, to the police, and
the money had of course been confiscated. The empress had to choose
between believing Schrotembach and dismissing him; and she was not
inclined to do the latter, as it would be a difficult matter to find him
a successor in his difficult and odious task of keeping Vienna clear of
"This is what Prince Kaunitz asked me to tell you. But you need not be
afraid of any violence, and you can go when you like."
"Then I am to be robbed of two hundred ducats with impunity. The empress
might at least reimburse me if she does nothing more. Please to ask the
prince whether I can ask the sovereign to give me that satisfaction; the
least I can demand."
"I will tell him what you say."
"If not, I shall leave; for what can I do in a town where I can only
drive, and where the Government keeps assassins in its pay?"
"You are right. We are all sure that Pocchini has calumniated you. The
girl who recites Latin verses is well known, but none know her address.
I must advise you not to publish your tale as long as you are in Vienna,
as it places Schrotembach in a very bad light, and you see the empress
has to support him in the exercise of his authority."
"I see the force of your argument, and I shall have to devour my anger.
I will leave Vienna as soon as the washerwoman sends home my linen, but I
will have the story printed in all its black injustice."
"The empress is prejudiced against you, I don't know by whom."
"I know, though; it is that infernal old hag, Countess Salmor."
The next day I received a letter from Count Vitzthum, in which he said
that Prince Kaunitz advised me to forget the two hundred ducats, that the
girl and her so-called mother had left Vienna to all appearance, as
someone had gone to the address and had failed to find her.
I saw that I could do nothing, and resolved to depart in peace, and
afterwards to publish the whole story and to hang Pocchini with my own
hands when next I met him. I did neither the one nor the other.
About that time a young lady of the Salis de Coire family arrived at
Vienna without any companion. The imperial hangman Schrotembach, ordered
her to leave Vienna in two days. She replied that she would leave
exactly when she felt inclined. The magistrate consigned her to
imprisonment in a convent, and she was there still when I left. The
emperor went to see her, and the empress, his mother, asked him what he
thought of her. His answer was, "I thought her much more amusing than
Undoubtedly, every man worthy of the name longs to be free, but who is
really free in this world? No one. The philosopher, perchance, may be
accounted so, but it is at the cost of too precious sacrifices at the
phantom shrine of Liberty.
I left the use of my suite of rooms, for which I had paid a month in
advance, to Campioni, promising to wait for him at Augsburg, where the
Law alone is supreme. I departed alone carrying with me the bitter
regret that I had not been able to kill the monster, whose despotism had
crushed me. I stopped at Linz on purpose to write to Schrotembach even a
more bitter letter than that which I had written to the Duke of
Wurtemburg in 1760. I posted it myself, and had it registered so as to
be sure of its reaching the scoundrel to whom it had been addressed. It
was absolutely necessary for me to write this letter, for rage that has
no vent must kill at last. From Linz I had a three days' journey to
Munich, where I called on Count Gaetan Zavoicki, who died at Dresden
seven years ago. I had known him at Venice when he was in want, and I
had happily been useful to him. On my relating the story of the robbery
that had been committed on me, he no doubt imagined I was in want, and
gave me twenty-five louis. To tell the truth it was much less than what
I had given him at Venice, and if he had looked upon his action as paying
back a debt we should not have been quits; but as I had never wished him
to think that I had lent, not given him money, I received the present
gratefully. He also gave me a letter for Count Maximilian Lamberg,
marshal at the court of the Prince-Bishop of Augsburg, whose acquaintance
I had the honour of having.
There was no theatre then in Augsburg, but there were masked balls in
which all classes mingled freely. There were also small parties where
faro was played for small stakes. I was tired of the pleasure, the
misfortune, and the griefs I had had in three capitals, and I resolved to
spend four months in the free city of Augsburg, where strangers have the
same privileges as the canons. My purse was slender, but with the
economical life I led I had nothing to fear on that score. I was not far
from Venice, where a hundred ducats were always at my service if I wanted
them. I played a little and waged war against the sharpers who have
become more numerous of late than the dupes, as there are also more
doctors than patients. I also thought of getting a mistress, for what is
life without love? I had tried in vain to retrace Gertrude; the engraver
was dead, and no one knew what had become of his daughter.
Two or three days before the end of the carnival I went to a hirer of
carriages, as I had to go to a ball at some distance from the town.
While the horses were being put in, I entered the room to warm my hands,
for the weather was very cold. A girl came up and asked me if I would
drink a glass of wine.
"No," said I; and on the question being repeated, repeated the
monosyllable somewhat rudely. The girl stood still and began to laugh,
and I was about to turn angrily away when she said,--
"I see you do not remember me?"
I looked at her attentively, and at last I discovered beneath her
unusually ugly features the lineaments of Anna Midel, the maid in the
"You remind me of Anna Midel," said I.
"Alas, I was Anna Midel once. I am no longer an object fit for love, but
that is your fault."
"Yes; the four hundred florins you gave me made Count Fugger's coachman
marry me, and he not only abandoned me but gave me a disgusting disease,
which was like to have been my death. I recovered my health, but I never
shall recover my good looks."
"I am very sorry to hear all this; but tell me what has become of
"Then you don't know that you are going to a ball at her house to-night?"
"Yes. After her father's death she married a well-to-do and respectable
man, and I expect you will be pleased with the entertainment"
"Is she pretty still?"
"She is just as she used to be, except that she is six years older and
has had children."
"Is she gallant?"
"I don't think so."
Anna had spoken the truth. Gertrude was pleased to see me, and
introduced me to her husband as one of her father's old lodgers, and I
had altogether a pleasant welcome; but, on sounding her, I found she
entertained those virtuous sentiments which might have been expected
under the circumstances.
Campioni arrived at Augsburg at the beginning of Lent. He was in company
with Binetti, who was going to Paris. He had completely despoiled his
wife, and had left her for ever. Campioni told me that no one at Vienna
doubted my story in the slightest degree. Pocchini and the Sclav had
disappeared a few days after my departure, and the Statthalter had
incurred a great deal of odium by his treatment of me. Campioni spent a
month with me, and then went on to London.
I called on Count Lamberg and his countess, who, without being beautiful,
was an epitome of feminine charm and amiability. Her name before
marriage was Countess Dachsberg. Three months after my arrival, this
lady, who was enciente, but did not think her time was due, went with
Count Fugger, dean of the chapter, to a party of pleasure at an inn three
quarters of a league from Augsburg. I was present; and in the course of
the meal she was taken with such violent pains that she feared she would
be delivered on the spot. She did not like to tell the noble canon, and
thinking that I was more likely to be acquainted with such emergencies
she came up to me and told me all. I ordered the coachman to put in his
horses instantly, and when the coach was ready I took up the countess and
carried her to it. The canon followed us in blank astonishment, and
asked me what was the matter. I told him to bid the coachman drive fast
and not to spare his horses. He did so, but he asked again what was the
"The countess will be delivered of a child if we do not make haste."
I thought I should be bound to laugh, in spite of my sympathies for the
poor lady's pains, when I saw the dean turn green and white and purple,
and look as if he were going into a fit, as he realized that the countess
might be delivered before his eyes in his own carriage. The poor man
looked as grievously tormented as St. Laurence on his gridiron. The
bishop was at Plombieres; they would write and tell him! It would be in
all the papers! "Quick! coachman, quick!"
We got to the castle before it was too late. I carried the lady into her
rook, and they ran for a surgeon and a midwife. It was no good, however,
for in five minutes the count came out and said the countess
had just been happily delivered. The dean looked as if a weight had
been taken off his mind; however, he took the precaution of having
I spent an extremely pleasant four months at Augsburg, supping twice or
thrice a week at Count Lamberg's. At these suppers I made the
acquaintance of a very remarkable man--Count Thura and Valsamina, then a
page in the prince-bishop's household, now Dean of Ratisbon. He was
always at the count's, as was also Dr. Algardi, of Bologna, the prince's
physician and a delightful man.
I often saw at the same house a certain Baron Sellenthin, a Prussian
officer, who was always recruiting for his master at Augsburg. He was a
pleasant man, somewhat in the Gascon style, soft-spoken, and an expert
gamester. Five or six years ago I had a letter from him dated Dresden,
in which he said that though he was old, and had married a rich wife, he
repented of having married at all. I should say the same if I had ever
chanced to marry.
During my stay at Augsburg several Poles, who had left their country on
account of the troubles, came to see me. Amongst others was Rzewuski,
the royal Prothonotary, whom I had known at St. Petersburg as the lover
of poor Madame Langlade.
"What a diet! What plots! What counterplots! What misfortunes!" said
this honest Pole, to me. "Happy are they who have nothing to do with
He was going to Spa, and he assured me that if I followed him I should
find Prince Adam's sister, Tomatis, and Madame Catai, who had become the
manager's wife. I determined to go to Spa, and to take measures so that
I might go there with three or four hundred ducats in my purse. To this
intent I wrote to Prince Charles of Courland, who was at Venice, to send
me a hundred ducats, and in my letter I gave him an infallible receipt
for the philosopher's stone. The letter containing this vast secret was
not in cypher, so I advised him to burn it after he had read it, assuring
him that I possessed a copy. He did not do so, and it was taken to Paris
with his order papers when he was sent to the Bastile.
If it had not been for the Revolution my letter would never have seen the
light. When the Bastille was destroyed, my letter was found and printed
with other curious compositions, which were afterwards translated into
German and English. The ignorant fools that abound in the land where my
fate wills that I should write down the chief events of my long and
troublous life--these fools, I say, who are naturally my sworn foes (for
the ass lies not down with the horse), make this letter an article of
accusation against me, and think they can stop my mouth by telling me
that the letter has been translated into German, and remains to my
eternal shame. The ignorant Bohemians are astonished when I tell them
that I regard the letter as redounding to my glory, and that if their
ears were not quite so long their blame would be turned into praise.
I do not know whether my letter has been correctly translated, but since
it has become public property I shall set it down here in homage to
truth, the only god I adore. I have before me an exact copy of the
original written in Augsburg in the year 1767, and we are now in the year
It runs as follows:
"MY LORD,--I hope your highness will either burn this letter after
reading it, or else preserve it with the greatest care. It will be
better, however, to make a copy in cypher, and to burn the original. My
attachment to you is not my only motive in writing; I confess my interest
is equally concerned. Allow me to say that I do not wish your highness
to esteem me alone for any qualities you may have observed in me; I wish
you to become my debtor by the inestimable secret I am going to confide
to you. This secret relates to the making of gold, the only thing of
which your highness stands in need. If you had been miserly by nature
you would be rich now; but you are generous, and will be poor all your
days if you do not make use of my secret.
"Your highness told me at Riga that you would like me to give you the
secret by which I transmuted iron into copper; I never did so, but now I
shall teach you how to make a much more marvellous transmutation. I
should point out to you, however, that you are not at present in a
suitable place for the operation, although all the materials are easily
procurable. The operation necessitates my presence for the construction
of a furnace, and for the great care necessary, far the least mistake
will spoil all. The transmutation of Mars is an easy and merely
mechanical process, but that of gold is philosophical in the highest
degree. The gold produced will be equal to that used in the Venetian
sequins. You must reflect, my lord, that I am giving you information
which will permit you to dispense with me, and you must also reflect that
I am confiding to you my life and my liberty.
"The step I am taking should insure your life-long protection, and should
raise you above that prejudice which is entertained against the general
mass of alchemists. My vanity would be wounded if you refuse to
distinguish me from the common herd of operators. All I ask you is that
you will wait till we meet before undertaking the process. You cannot do
it by yourself, and if you employ any other person but myself, you will
betray the secret. I must tell you that, using the same materials, and
by the addition of mercury and nitre, I made the tree of projection for
the Marchioness d'Urfe and the Princess of Anhalt. Zerbst calculated the
profit as fifty per cent. My fortune would have been made long ago, if I
had found a prince with the control of a mint whom I could trust. Your
character enables me to confide in you. However, we will come to the
"You must take four ounces of good silver, dissolve in aqua fortis,
precipitate secundum artem with copper, then wash in lukewarm water to
separate the acids; dry, mix with half an ounce of sal ammoniac, and
place in a suitable vessel. Afterwards you must take a pound of alum, a
pound of Hungary crystals, four ounces of verdigris, four ounces of
cinnabar, and two ounces of sulphur. Pulverise and mix, and place in a
retort of such size that the above matters will only half fill it. This
retort must be placed over a furnace with four draughts, for the heat
must be raised to the fourth degree. At first your fire must be slow so
as to extract the gross phlegm of the matter, and when the spirit begins
to appear, place the receiver under the retort, and Luna with the
ammoniac salts will appear in it. All the joinings must be luted with
the Philosophical Luting, and as the spirit comes, so regulate your
furnace, but do not let it pass the third degree of heat.
"So soon as the sublimation begins then boldly open your forth vent, but
take heed that that which is sublimed pass not into the receiver where is
your Luna, and so you must shut, the mouth of the retort closely, and
keep it so for twenty-four hours, and then take off your fastenings, and
allow the distillation to go on. Then you must increase your fire so
that the spirits may pass, over, until the matter in the retort is quite
desiccated. After this operation has been performed three times, then
you shall see, the gold appear in the retort. Then draw it forth and
melt it, adding your corpus perfectum. Melt with it two ounces of gold,
then lay it in water, and you shall find four ounces of pure gold.
"Such my lord, is the gold mine for your mint of Mitau, by which, with
the assistance of a manager and four men, you can assure yourself a
revenue of a thousand ducats a week, and double, and quadruple that sum,
if your highness chooses to increase the men and the furnaces. I ask
your highness to make me your manager. But remember it must be a State
secret, so burn this letter, and if your highness would give me any
reward in advance, I only ask you to give me your affection and esteem.
I shall be happy if I have reason to believe that my master will also be
my friend. My life, which this letter places in your power, is ever at
your service, and I know not what I shall do if I ever have cause to
repent having disclosed my secret. I have the honour to be, etc."
In whatever language this letter may have been translated, if its sense
run not as above, it is not my letter, and I am ready to give the lie to
all the Mirabeaus in the world. I have been called an exile, but
wrongfully, for a man who has to leave a country by virtue of a 'lettre
de cachet' is no exile. He is forced to obey a despotic monarch who
looks upon his kingdom as his house, and turns out of doors anyone who
meets with his displeasure.
As soon as my purse swelled to a respectable size, I left Augsburg, The
date of my departure was June 14th, 1767. I was at Ulm when a courier of
the Duke of Wurtemburg's passed through the town with the news that his
highness would arrive from Venice in the course of five or six days.
This courier had a letter for me. It had been entrusted to him by Prince
Charles of Courland, who had told the courier that he would find me at
the "Hotel du Raisin," in Augsburg. As it happened, I had left the day
before, but knowing the way by which I had gone he caught me up at Ulm.
He gave me the letter and asked me if I were the same Casanova who had
been placed under arrest and had escaped, on account of some gambling
dispute with three officers. As I was never an adept in concealing the
truth, I replied in the affirmative. A Wurtemburg officer who was
standing beside us observed to me in a friendly manner that he was at
Stuttgart at the time, and that most people concurred in blaming the
three officers for their conduct in the matter.
Without making any reply I read the letter, which referred to our private
affairs, but as I was reading it I resolved to tell a little lie--one of
those lies which do nobody any harm.
"Well, sir," I said to the officer, "his highness, your sovereign, has
listened to reason at last, and this letter informs me of a reparation
which is in every way satisfactory. The duke has created me his private
secretary, with a salary of twelve hundred a year. But I have waited for
it a long time. God knows what has become of the three officers!"
"They are all at Louisburg, and ------ is now a colonel."
"Well, they will be surprised to hear my news, and they will hear it
to-morrow, for I am leaving this place in an hour. If they are at
Louisburg, I shall have a triumph; but I am sorry not to be able to
accompany you, however we shall see each other the day after tomorrow."
I had an excellent night, and awoke with the beautiful idea of going to
Louisburg, not to fight the three officers but to frighten them, triumph
over them, and to enjoy a pleasant vengeance for the injury they had done
me. I should at the same time see a good many old friends; there was
Madame Toscani, the duke's mistress; Baletti, and Vestri, who had married
a former mistress of the duke's. I had sounded the depths of the human
heart, and knew I had nothing to fear. The duke was on the point of
returning, and nobody would dream of impugning the truth of my story.
When he actually did arrive he would not find me, for as soon as the
courier announced his approach I should go away, telling everybody that I
had orders to precede his highness, and everybody would be duped.
I never had so pleasant an idea before. I was quite proud of it, and I
should have despised myself if I had failed to carry it into effect. It
would be my vengeance on the duke, who could not have forgotten the
terrible letter I had written him; for princes do not forget small
injuries as they forget great services.
I slept badly the following night, my anxiety was so great, and I reached
Louisburg and gave my name at the town gates, without the addition of my
pretended office, for my jest must be matured by degrees. I went to stay
at the posting-inn, and just as I was asking for the address of Madame
Toscani, she and her husband appeared on the scene. They both flung
their arms around my neck, and overwhelmed me with compliments on my
wounded arm and the victory I had achieved.
"Your appearance here has filled the hearts of all your friends with
"Well, I certainly am in the duke's service, but how did you find it
"It's the common talk. The courier who gave you the letter has spread it
all abroad, and the officer who was present and arrived here yesterday
morning confirmed it. But you cannot imagine the consternation of your
three foes. However, we are afraid that you will have some trouble with
them, as they have kept your letter of defiance given from Furstenberg."
"Why didn't they meet me, then?"
"Two of them could not go, and the third arrived too late."
"Very good. If the duke has no objection I shall be happy to meet them
one after another, not three all at once. Of course, the duel must be
with pistols; a sword duel is out of the question with my arm in a
"We will speak of that again. My daughter wants to make peace before the
duke comes, and you had better consent to arrangements, for there are
three of them, and it isn't likely that you could kill the whole three
one after the other."
"Your daughter must have grown into a beauty."
"You must stop with us this evening; you will see her, for she is no
longer the duke's mistress. She is going to get married."
"If your daughter can bring about an arrangement I would gladly fall in
with it, provided it is an honourable one for me."
"How is it that you are wearing the sling after all these months?"
"I am quite cured, and yet my arm swells as soon as I let it swing loose.
You shall see it after dinner, for you must dine with me if you want me
to sup with you."
Next came Vestri, whom I did not know, accompained by my beloved Baletti.
With them was an officer who was in love with Madame Toscani's second
daughter, and another of their circle, with whom I was also unacquainted.
They all came to congratulate me on my honourable position in the duke's
service. Baletti was quite overcome with delight. The reader will
recollect that he was my chief assistant in my escape from Stuttgart, and
that I was once going to marry his sister. Baletti was a fine fellow,
and the duke was very fond of him. He had a little country house, with a
spare room, which he begged me to accept, as he said he was only too
proud that the duke should know him as my best friend. When his highness
came, of course I would have an apartment in the palace. I accepted; and
as it was still early, we all went to see the young Toscani. I had loved
her in Paris before her beauty had reached its zenith, and she was
naturally proud to shew me how beautiful she had become. She shewed me
her house and her jewels, told me the story of her amours with the duke,
of her breaking with him on account of his perpetual infidelities, and of
her marriage with a man she despised, but who was forced on her by her
At dinner-time we all went to the inn, where we met the offending
colonel; he was the first to take off his hat, we returned the salute,
and he passed on his way.
The dinner was a pleasant one, and when it was over I proceeded to take
up my quarters with Baletti. In the evening we went to Madame Toscani's,
where I saw two girls of ravishing beauty, Madame Toscani's daughter and
Vestri's wife, of whom the duke had had two children. Madame Vestri was
a handsome woman, but her wit and the charm of her manner enchanted me
still more. She had only one fault--she lisped.
There was a certain reserve about the manner of Mdlle. Toscani, so I
chiefly addressed myself to Madame Vestri, whose husband was not jealous,
for he neither cared for her nor she for him. On the day of my arrival
the manager had distributed the parts of a little play which was to be
given in honour of the duke's arrival. It had been written by a local
author, in hopes of its obtaining the favour of the Court for him.
After supper the little piece was discussed. Madame Vestri played the
principal part, which she was prevailed upon to recite.
"Your elocution is admirable, and your expression full of spirit," I
observed; "but what a pity it is that you do not pronounce the dentals."
The whole table scouted my opinion.
"It's a beauty, not a defect," said they. "It makes her acting soft and
delicate; other actresses envy her the privilege of what you call a
I made no answer, but looked at Madame Vestri.
"Do you think I am taken in by all that?" said she.
"I think you are much too sensible to believe such nonsense."
"I prefer a man to say honestly, 'what a pity,' than to hear all that
foolish flattery. But I am sorry to say that there is no remedy for the
"Pardon me, I have an infallible remedy for your complaint. You shall
give me a good hearty blow if I do not make you read the part perfectly
by to-morrow, but if I succeed in making you read it as your husband, for
example's sake, might read it you shall permit me to give you a tender
"Very good; but what must I do?"
"You must let me weave a spell over your part, that is all. Give it to
me. To-morrow morning at nine o'clock I will bring it to you to get my
blow or my kiss, if your husband has no objection."
"None whatever; but we do not believe in spells."
"You are right, in a general way; but mine will not fail."
Madame Vestri left me the part, and the conversation turned on other
subjects. I was condoled with on my swollen hand, and I told the story
of my duel. Everybody seemed to delight in entertaining me and feasting
me, and I went back to Baletti's in love with all the ladies, but
especially with Madame Vestri and Mdlle. Toscani.
Baletti had a beautiful little girl of three years old.
"How did you get that angel?" I asked.
"There's her mother; and, as a proof of my hospitality, she shall sleep
with you to-night."
"I accept your generous offer; but let it be to-morrow night."
"And why not to-night?"
"Because I shall be engaged all night in weaving my spell."
"What do you mean? I thought that was a joke."
"No, I am quite serious."
"Are you a little crazy?"
"You shall see. Do you go to bed, and leave me a light and writing
I spent six hours in copying out the part, only altering certain phrases.
For all words in which the letter r appeared I substituted another. It
was a tiresome task, but I longed to embrace Madame Vestri before her
husband. I set about my task in the following manner:
The text ran:
"Les procedes de cet homme m'outragent et me deseparent, je dois penser a
For this I substituted:
"Cet homme a des facons qui m'offensent et me desolent, il faut que je
m'en defasse;" and so on throughout the piece.
When I had finished I slept for three hours, and then rose and dressed.
Baletti saw my spell, and said I had earned the curses of the young
author, as Madame Vestri would no doubt make him write all
parts for her without using the letter 'r'; and, indeed, that was just
what she did.
I called on the actress and found her getting up. I gave her the part,
and as soon as she saw what I had done she burst out into exclamations of
delight; and calling her husband shewed him my contrivance, and said she
would never play a part with an 'r' in it again. I promised to copy them
all out, and added that I had spent the whole night in amending the
present part. "The whole night! Come and take your reward, for you are
cleverer than any sorcerer. We must have the author to dinner, and I
shall make him promise to write all my parts without the 'r', or the duke
will not employ him. Indeed, I don't wonder the duke has made you his
secretary. I never thought it would be possible to do what you have
done; but I suppose it was very difficult?"
"Not at all. If I were a pretty woman with the like defect I should take
care to avoid all words with an 'r; in them."
"Oh, that would be too much trouble."
"Let us bet again, for a box or a kiss, that you can spend a whole day
without using an 'r'. Let us begin now."
"All in good time," said she, "but we won't have any stake, as I think
you are too greedy."
The author came to dinner, and was duly attacked by Madame Vestri. She
began by saying that it was an author's duty to be polite to actresses,
and if any of them spoke with a lisp the least he could do was to write
their parts without the fatal letter.
The young author laughed, and said it could not be done without spoiling
the style. Thereupon Madame Vestri gave him my version of her part,
telling him to read it, and to say on his conscience whether the style
had suffered. He had to confess that my alterations were positive
improvements, due to the great richness of the French language. And he
was right, for there is no language in the world that can compare in
copiousness of expression with the French.
This trifling subject kept us merry, but Madame Vestri expressed a devout
wish that all authors would do for her what I had done. At Paris, where
I heard her playing well and lisping terribly, she did not find the
authors so obliging, but she pleased the people. She asked me if I would
undertake to recompose Zaire, leaving out the r's.
"Ah!" said I, "considering that it would have to be in verse, and in
Voltairean verse, I would rather not undertake the task."
With a view to pleasing the actress the young author asked me how I would
tell her that she was charming without using an 'r'.
"I should say that she enchanted me, made me in an ecstasy, that she is
She wrote me a letter, which I still keep, in which the 'r' does not
appear. If I could have stayed at Stuttgart, this device of mine might
have won me her favours; but after a week of feasting and triumph the
courier came one morning at ten o'clock and announced that his highness,
the duke, would arrive at four.
As soon as I heard the news I told Baletti with the utmost coolness that
I thought it would be only polite to meet my lord, and swell his train on
his entry into Louisburg; and as I wished to meet him at a distance of
two stages I should have to go at once. He thought my idea an excellent
one, and went to order post-horses immediately; but when he saw me
packing up all my belongings into my trunk, he guessed the truth and
applauded the jest. I embraced him and confessed my hardihood. He was
sorry to lose me, but he laughed when he thought of the feelings of the
duke and of the three officers when they found out the trick. He
promised to write to me at Mannheim, where I had decided on spending a
week to see my beloved Algardi, who was in the service of the Elector. I
had also letters for M. de Sickirigen and Baron Becker, one of the
When the horses were put in I embraced Baletti, his little girl, and his
pretty housekeeper, and ordered the postillion to drive to Mannheim.
When we reached Mannheim I heard that the Court was at Schwetzingen, and
I bade the postillion drive on. I found everyone I had expected to see.
Algardi had got married, M. de Sickingen was soliciting the position of
ambassador to Paris, and Baron Becker introduced me to the Elector. Five
or six days after my arrival died Prince Frederic des Deux Ponts, and I
will here relate an anecdote I heard the day before he died.
Dr. Algardi had attended on the prince during his last illness. I was
supping with Veraci, the poet-laureate, on the eve of the prince's death,
and in the course of supper Algardi came in.
"How is the prince?" said I.
"The poor prince--he cannot possibly live more than twenty-four hours."
"Does he know it?"
"No, he still hopes. He grieved me to the heart by bidding me tell him
the whole truth; he even bade me give my word of honour that I was
speaking the truth. Then he asked me if he were positively in danger of
"And you told him the truth?"
"Certainly not. I told him his sickness was undoubtedly a mortal one,
but that with the help of nature and art wonders might be worked."
"Then you deceived him, and told a lie?"
"I did not deceive him; his recovery comes under the category of the
possible. I did not want to leave him in despair, for despair would most
certainly kill him."
"Yes, yes; but you will confess that you told him a lie and broke your
word of honour."
"I told no lie, for I know that he may possibly be cured."
"Then you lied just now?"
"Not at all, for lie will die to-morrow."
"It seems to me that your reasoning is a little Jesuitical."
"No, it is not. My duty was to prolong my patient's life and to spare
him a sentence which would most certainly have shortened it, possibly by
several hours; besides, it is not an absolute impossibility that he
should recover, therefore I did not lie when I told him that he might
recover, nor did I lie just now when I gave it as my opinion (the result
of my experience) that he would die to-morrow. I would certainly wager a
million to one that he will die to-morrow, but I would not wager my
"You are right, and yet for all that you deceived the poor man; for his
intention in asking you the question was not to be told a commonplace
which he knew as well as you, but to learn your true opinion as to his
life or death. But again I agree with you that as his physician you were
quite right not to shorten his few remaining hours by telling him the
After a fortnight I left Schwetzingen, leaving some of my belongings
under the care of Veraci the poet, telling him I would call for them some
day; but I never came, and after a lapse of thirty-one years Veraci keeps
them still. He was one of the strangest poets I have ever met. He
affected eccentricity to make himself notorious, and opposed the great
Metastasio in everything, writing unwieldy verses which he said gave more
scope for the person who set them to music. He had got this extravagant
notion from Jumelli.
I traveled to Mayence and thence I sailed to Cologne, where I looked
forward to the pleasure of meeting with the burgomaster's wife who
disliked General Kettler, and had treated me so well seven years ago.
But that was not the only reason which impelled me to visit that odious
town. When I was at Dresden I had read in a number of the Cologne
Gazette that "Master Casanova has returned to Warsaw only to be sent
about his business again. The king has heard some stories of this famous
adventurer, which compel him to forbid him his Court."
I could not stomach language of this kind, and I resolved to pay Jacquet,
the editor, a visit, and now my time had come.
I made a hasty dinner and then called on the burgomaster, whom I found
sitting at table with his fair Mimi. They welcomed me warmly, and for
two hours I told them the story of my adventures during the last seven
years. Mimi had to go out, and I was asked to dine with them the next
I thought she looked prettier than ever, and my imagination promised me
some delicious moments with her. I spent an anxious and impatient night,
and called on my Amphitryon at an early hour to have an opportunity of
speaking to his dear companion. I found her alone, and began with an
ardent caress which she gently repelled, but her face froze my passion in
"Time is an excellent doctor," said she, "and it has cured me of a
passion which left behind it the sting of remorse."
"What! The confessional . . . ."
"Should only serve as a place wherein to confess our sins of the past,
and to implore grace to sin no more."
"May the Lord save me from repentance, the only source of which is a
prejudice! I shall leave Cologne to-morrow."
"I do not tell you to go."
"If there is no hope, it is no place for me. May I hope?"
She was delightful at table, but I was gloomy and distracted. At seven
o'clock next day I set out, and as soon as I had passed the Aix la
Chapelle Gate, I told the postillion to stop and wait for me. I then
walked to Jacquet's, armed with a pistol and a cane, though I only meant
to beat him.
The servant shewed me into the room where he was working by himself. It
was on the ground floor, and the door was open for coolness' sake.
He heard me coming in and asked what he could do for me.
"You scoundrelly journalist." I replied, "I am the adventurer Casanova
whom you slandered in your miserable sheet four months ago."
So saying I directed my pistol at his head, with my left hand, and lifted
my cane with my right. But the wretched scribbler fell on his knees
before me with clasped hands and offered to shew me the signed letter he
had received from Warsaw, which contained the statements he had inserted
in his paper.
"Where is this letter?"
"You shall have it in a moment."
I made way for him to search, but I locked and bolted the door to prevent
his escaping. The man trembled like a leaf and began to look for the
letter amongst his Warsaw correspondence, which was in a disgraceful
state of confusion. I shewed him the date of the article in the paper,
but the letter could not be found; and at the end of an hour he fell down
again on his knees, and told me to do what I would to him. I gave him a
kick and told him to get up and follow me. He made no reply, and
followed me bareheaded till he saw me get into my chaise and drive off,
and I have no doubt he gave thanks to God for his light escape. In the
evening, I reached Aix-la-Chapelle, where I found Princess Lubomirska,
General Roniker, several other distinguished Poles, Tomatis and his wife,
and many Englishmen of my acquaintance.
My Stay at Spa--The Blow--The Sword--Della Croce--Charlotte; Her Lying-in
and Death--A Lettre de Cachet Obliges Me to Leave Paris in the Course of
All my friends seemed delighted to see me, and I was well pleased to find
myself in such good company. People were on the point of leaving Aix for
Spa. Nearly everyone went, and those who stayed only did so because
lodgings were not to be had at Spa. Everybody assured me that this was
the case, and many had returned after seeking in vain for a mere garret.
I paid no attention to all this, and told the princess that if she would
come with me I would find some lodging, were it only in my carriage. We
accordingly set out the next day, and got to Spa in good time, our
company consisting of the princess, the prothonotary, Roniker, and the
Tomatis. Everyone except myself had taken rooms in advance, I alone knew
not where to turn. I got out and prepared for the search, but before
going along the streets I went into a shop and bought a hat, having lost
mine on the way. I explained my situation to the shopwoman, who seemed
to take an interest in me, and began speaking to her husband in Flemish
or Walloon, and finally informed me that if it were only for a few days
she and her husband would sleep in the shop and give up their room to me.
But she said that she had absolutely no room whatever for my man.
"I haven't got one."
"All the better. Send away your carriage."
"Where shall I send it?"
"I will see that it is housed safely."
"How much am I to pay?"
"Nothing; and if you are not too particular, we should like you to share
"I accept your offer thankfully."
I went up a narrow staircase, and found myself in a pretty little room
with a closet, a good bed, suitable furniture, and everything perfectly
neat and clean. I thought myself very lucky, and asked the good people
why they would not sleep in the closet rather than the shop, and they
replied with one breath that they would be in my way, while their niece
would not interfere with me.
This news about the niece was a surprise to me. The closet had no door,
and was not much bigger than the bed which it contained; it was, in fact,
a mere alcove, without any window.
I must note that my hostess and her husband, both of them from Liege,
were perfect models of ugliness.
"It's not within the limits of possibility," I said to myself, "for the
niece to be uglier than they, but if they allow her to sleep thus in the
same room with the first comer, she must be proof against all
However, I gave no sign, and did not ask to see the niece for fear of
offense, and I went out without opening my trunk. I told them as I went
out that I should not be back till after supper, and gave them some money
to buy wax candles and night lights.
I went to see the princess with whom I was to sup. All the company
congratulated me on my good fortune in finding a lodging. I went to the
concert, to the bank at faro, and to the other gaming saloons, and there
I saw the so-called Marquis d'Aragon, who was playing at piquet with an
old count of the Holy Roman Empire. I was told about the duel he had had
three weeks before with a Frenchman who had picked a quarrel with him;
the Frenchman had been wounded in the chest, and was still ill.
Nevertheless, he was only waiting for his cure to be completed to have
his revenge, which he had demanded as he was taken off the field. Such
is the way of the French when a duel is fought for a trifling matter.
They stop at the first blood, and fight the duel over and over again. In
Italy, on the other hand, duels are fought to the death. Our blood burns
to fire when our adversary's sword opens a vein. Thus stabbing is common
in Italy and rare in France; while duels are common in France, and rare
Of all the company at Spa, I was most pleased to see the Marquis
Caraccioli, whom I had left in London. His Court had given him leave of
absence, and he was spending it at Spa. He was brimful of wit and the
milk of human kindness, compassionate for the weaknesses of others, and
devoted to youth, no matter of what sex, but he knew well the virtue of
moderation, and used all things without abusing them. He never played,
but he loved a good gamester and despised all dupes. The worthy marquis
was the means of making the fortune of the so-called Marquis d'Aragon by
becoming surety for his nobility and bona fides to a wealthy English
widow of fifty, who had taken a fancy to him, and brought him her fortune
of sixty thousand pounds sterling. No doubt the widow was taken with the
gigantic form and the beautiful title of d'Aragon, for Dragon (as his
name really was) was devoid of wit and manners, and his legs, which I
suppose he kept well covered, bore disgusting marks of the libertine life
he had led. I saw the marquis some time afterwards at Marseilles, and a
few years later he purchased two estates at Modena. His wife died in due
course, and according to the English law he inherited the whole of her
I returned to my lodging in good time, and went to bed without seeing the
niece, who was fast asleep. I was waited on by the ugly aunt, who begged
me not to take a servant while I remained in her house, for by her
account all servants were thieves.
When I awoke in the morning the niece had got up and gone down. I
dressed to go to the Wells, and warned my host and hostess that I should
have the pleasure of dining with them. The room I occupied was the only
place in which they could take their meals, and I was astonished when
they came and asked my permission to do so. The niece had gone out, so I
had to put my curiosity aside. When I was out my acquaintances pointed
out to me the chief beauties who then haunted the Wells. The number of
adventurers who flock to Spa during the season is something incredible,
and they all hope to make their fortunes; and, as may be supposed, most
of them go away as naked as they came, if not more so. Money circulates
with great freedom, but principally amongst the gamesters, shop-keepers,
money-lenders, and courtezans. The money which proceeds from the
gaming-table has three issues: the first and smallest share goes to the
Prince-Bishop of Liege; the second and larger portion, to the numerous
amateur cheats who frequent the place; and by far the largest of all to
the coffers of twelve sharpers, who keep the tables and are authorized by
Thus goes the money. It comes from the pockets of the dupes--poor moths
who burn their wings at Spa!
The Wells are a mere pretext for gaming, intriguing, and fortune-hunting.
There are a few honest people who go for amusement, and a few for rest
and relaxation after the toils of business.
Living is cheap enough at Spa. The table d'hote is excellent, and only
costs a small French crown, and one can get good lodging for the like
I came home at noon having won a score of louis. I went into the shop,
intending to go to my room, but I was stopped short by seeing a handsome
brunette, of nineteen or twenty, with great black eyes, voluptuous lips,
and shining teeth, measuring out ribbon on the counter. This, then, was
the niece, whom I had imagined as so ugly. I concealed my surprise and
sat down in the shop to gaze at her and endeavour to make her
acquaintance. But she hardly seemed to see me, and only acknowledged my
presence by a slight inclination of the head. Her aunt came down to say
that dinner was ready, and I went upstairs and found the table laid for
four. The servant brought in the soup, and then asked me very plainly to
give her some money if I wanted any wine, as her master and mistress only
drank beer. I was delighted with her freedom, and gave her money to buy
two bottles of Burgundy.
The master came up and shewed me a gold repeater with a chain also of
gold by a well-known modern maker. He wanted to know how much it was
"Forty louis at the least."
"A gentleman wants me to give him twenty louis for it, on the condition
that I return it to-morrow if he brings me twenty-two."
"Then I advise you to accept his offer."
"I haven't got the money."
"I will lend it you with pleasure."
I gave him the twenty Louis, and placed the watch in my jewel-casket. At
table the niece sat opposite to me, but I took care not to look at her,
and she, like a modest girl, did not say a score of words all through the
meal. The meal was an excellent one, consisting of soup, boiled beef, an
entree, and a roast. The mistress of the house told me that the roast
was in my honour, "for," she said, "we are not rich people, and we only
allow ourselves this Luxury on a Sunday." I admired her delicacy, and
the evident sincerity with which she spoke. I begged my entertainers to
help me with my wine, and they accepted the offer, saying they only
wished they were rich enough to be able to drink half a bottle a day.
"I thought trade was good with you."
"The stuff is not ours, and we have debts; besides, the expenses are very
great. We have sold very little up to now."
"Do you only sell hats?"
"No, we have silk handkerchiefs, Paris stockings, and lace ruffs, but
they say everything is too dear."
"I will buy some things for you, and will send all my friends here.
Leave it to me; I will see what I can do for you."
"Mercy, fetch down one or two packets of those handkerchiefs and some
stockings, large size, for the gentleman has a big leg."
Mercy, as the niece was called, obeyed. I pronounced the handkerchiefs
superb and the stockings excellent. I bought a dozen, and I promised
them that they should sell out their whole stock. They overwhelmed me
with thanks, and promised to put themselves entirely in my hands.
After coffee, which, like the roast, was in my honour, the aunt told her
niece to take care to awake me in the morning when she got up. She said
she would not fail, but I begged her not to take too much trouble over
me, as I was a very heavy sleeper.
In the afternoon I went to an armourer's to buy a brace of pistols, and
asked the man if he knew the tradesman with whom I was staying.
"We are cousins-german," he replied.
"Is he rich?"
"Yes, in debts."
"Because he is unfortunate, like most honest people."
"How about his wife?"
"Her careful economy keeps him above water."
"Do you know the niece?"
"Yes; she's a good girl, but very pious. Her silly scruples keep
customers away from the shop."
"What do you think she should do to attract customers?"
"She should be more polite, and not play the prude when anyone wants to
give her a kiss."
"She is like that, is she?"
"Try her yourself and you will see. Last week she gave an officer a box
on the ear. My cousin scolded her, and she wanted to go back to Liege;
however, the wife soothed her again. She is pretty enough, don't you
"Certainly I do, but if she is as cross-grained as you say, the best
thing will be to leave her alone."
After what I had heard I made up my mind to change my room, for Mercy had
pleased me in such a way that I was sure I should be obliged to pay her a
call before long, and I detested Pamelas as heartily as Charpillons.
In the afternoon I took Rzewuski and Roniker to the shop, and they bought
fifty ducats' worth of goods to oblige me. The next day the princess and
Madame Tomatis bought all the handkerchiefs.
I came home at ten o'clock, and found Mercy in bed as I had done the
night before. Next morning the watch was redeemed, and the hatter
returned me twenty-two louis. I made him a present of the two louis, and
said I should always be glad to lend him money in that way--the profits
to be his. He left me full of gratitude.
I was asked to dine with Madame Tomatis, so I told my hosts that I would
have the pleasure of supping with them, the costs to be borne by me. The
supper was good and the Burgundy excellent, but Mercy refused to taste
it. She happened to leave the room for a moment at the close of the
meal, and I observed to the aunt that her niece was charming, but it was
a pity she was so sad.
"She will have to change her ways, or I will keep her no longer."
"Is she the same with all men?"
"Then she has never been in love."
"She says she has not, but I don't believe her."
"I wonder she can sleep so comfortably with a man at a few feet distant."
"She is not afraid."
Mercy came in, bade us good night, and said she would go to bed. I made
as if I would give her a kiss, but she turned her back on me, and placed
a chair in front of her closet so that I might not see her taking off her
chemise. My host and hostess then went to bed, and so did I, puzzling my
head over the girl's behaviour which struck me as most extraordinary and
unaccountable. However, I slept peacefully, and when I awoke the bird
had left the nest. I felt inclined to have a little quiet argument with
the girl, and to see what I could make of her; but I saw no chance of my
getting an opportunity. The hatter availed himself of my offer of purse
to lend money on pledges, whereby he made a good profit. There was no
risk for me in the matter, and he and his wife declared that they blessed
the day on which I had come to live with them.
On the fifth or sixth day I awoke before Mercy, and only putting on my
dressing-gown I came towards her bed. She had a quick ear and woke up,
and no sooner did she see me coming towards her than she asked me what I
wanted. I sat down on her bed and said gently that I only wanted to wish
her a good day and to have a little talk. It was hot weather, and she
was only covered by a single sheet; and stretching out one arm I drew her
towards me, and begged her to let me give her a kiss. Her resistance
made me angry; and passing an audacious hand under the sheet I discovered
that she was made like other women; but just as my hand was on the spot,
I received a fisticuff on the nose that made me see a thousand stars, and
quite extinguished the fire of my concupiscence. The blood streamed from
my nose and stained the bed of the furious Mercy. I kept my presence of
mind and left her on the spot, as the blow she had given me was but a
sample of what I might expect if I attempted reprisals. I washed my face
in cold water, and as I was doing so Mercy dressed herself and left the
At last my blood ceased to flow, and I saw to my great annoyance that my
nose was swollen in such a manner that my face was simply hideous. I
covered it up with a handkerchief and sent for the hairdresser to do my
hair, and when this was done my landlady brought me up some fine trout,
of which I approved; but as I was giving her the money she saw my face
and uttered a cry of horror. I told her the whole story, freely
acknowledging that I was in the wrong, and begging her to say nothing to
her niece. Then heeding not her excuses I went out with my handkerchief
before my face, and visited a house which the Duchess of Richmond had
left the day before.
Half of the suite she had abandoned had been taken in advance by an
Italian marquis; I took the other half, hired a servant, and had my
effects transported there from my old lodgings. The tears and
supplications of my landlady had no effect whatever upon me, I felt I
could not bear the sight of Mercy any longer.
In the house into which I had moved I found an Englishman who said he
would bring down the bruise in one hour, and make the discoloration of
the flesh disappear in twenty-four. I let him do what he liked and he
kept his word. He rubbed the place with spirits of wine and some drug
which is unknown to me; but being ashamed to appear in public in the
state I was in, I kept indoors for the rest of the day. At noon the
distressed aunt brought me my trout, and said that Mercy was cut to the
heart to have used me so, and that if I would come back I could do what I
liked with her.
"You must feel," I replied, "that if I complied with your request the
adventure would become public to the damage of my honour and your
business, and your niece would not be able to pass for a devotee any
I made some reflections on the blow she had given the officer, much to
the aunt's surprise, for she could not think how I had heard of it; and I
shewed her that, after having exposed me to her niece's brutality, her
request was extremely out of place. I concluded by saying that I could
believe her to be an accomplice in the fact without any great stretch of
imagination. This made her burst into tears, and I had to apologize and
to promise to continue forwarding her business by way of consolation, and
so she left me in a calmer mood. Half an hour afterwards her husband
came with twenty-five Louis I had lent him on a gold snuff-box set with
diamonds, and proposed that I should lend two hundred Louis on a ring
worth four hundred.
"It will be yours," he said, "if the owner does not bring me two hundred
and twenty Louis in a week's time."
I had the money and proceeded to examine the stone which seemed to be a
good diamond, and would probably weigh six carats as the owner declared.
The setting was in gold.
"I consent to give the sum required if the owner is ready to give me a
"I will do so myself in the presence of witnesses."
"Very good. You shall have the money in the course of an hour; I am
going to have the stone taken out first. That will make no difference to
the owner, as I shall have it reset at my own expense. If he redeems it,
the twenty Louis shall be yours."
"I must ask him whether he has any objection to the stone being taken
"Very good, but you can tell him that if he will not allow it to be done
he will get nothing for it."
He returned before long with a jeweller who said he would guarantee the
stone to be at least two grains over the six carats.
"Have you weighed it?"
"No, but I am quite sure it weighs over six carats."
"Then you can lend the money on it?"
"I cannot command such a sum."
"Can you tell me why the owner objects to the stone being taken out and
put in at my expense?"
"No, I can't; but he does object."
"Then he may take his ring somewhere else."
They went away, leaving me well pleased at my refusal, for it was plain
that the stone was either false or had a false bottom.
I spent the rest of the day in writing letters and making a good supper,
In the morning I was awoke by someone knocking at my door, and on my
getting up to open it, what was my astonishment to find Mercy!
I let her in, and went back to bed, and asked her what she wanted with me
so early in the morning. She sat down on the bed, and began to overwhelm
me with apologies. I replied by asking her why, if it was her principle
to fly at her lovers like a tiger, she had slept almost in the same room
"In sleeping in the closet," said she, "I obeyed my aunt's orders, and in
striking you (for which I am very sorry) I was but defending my honour;
and I cannot admit that every man who sees me is at liberty to lose his
reason. I think you will allow that your duty is to respect, and mine to
defend, my honour."
"If that is your line of argument, I acknowledge that you are right; but
you had nothing to complain of, for I bore your blow in silence, and by
my leaving the house you might know that it was my intention to respect
you for the future. Did you come to hear me say this? If so, you are
satisfied. But you will not be offended if I laugh at your excuses, for
after what you have said I cannot help thinking them very laughable."
"What have I said?"
"That you only did your duty in flattening my nose. If so, do you think
it is necessary to apologize for the performance of duty?"
"I ought to have defended myself more gently. But forget everything and
forgive me; I will defend myself no more in any way. I am yours and I
love you, and I am ready to prove my love."
She could not have spoken more plainly, and as she spoke the last words
she fell on me with her face close to mine, which she bedewed with her
tears. I was ashamed of such an easy conquest, and I gently withdrew
from her embrace, telling her to return after the bruise on my face had
disappeared. She left me deeply mortified.
The Italian, who had taken half the suite of rooms, had arrived in the
course of the night. I asked his name, and was given a card bearing the
name of The Marquis Don Antonio della Croce.
Was it the Croce I knew?
It was very possible.
I asked what kind of an establishment he had, and was informed that the
marchioness had a lady's maid, and the marquis a secretary and two
servants. I longed to see the nobleman in question.
I had not long to wait, for as soon as he heard that I was his neighbour,
he came to see me, and we spent two hours in telling each other our
adventures since we had parted in Milan. He had heard that I had made
the fortune of the girl he had abandoned, and in the six years that had
elapsed he had been travelling all over Europe, engaged in a constant
strife with fortune. At Paris and Brussels he had made a good deal of
money, and in the latter town he had fallen in love with a young lady of
rank, whom her father had shut up in a convent. He had taken her away,
and she it was whom he called the Marchioness della Croce, now six months
He made her pass for his wife, because, as he said, he meant to marry her
"I have fifty thousand francs in gold," said he, "and as much again in
jewellery and various possessions. It is my intention to give suppers
here and hold a bank, but if I play without correcting the freaks of
fortune I am sure to lose." He intended going to Warsaw, thinking I
would give him introductions to all my friends there; but he made a
mistake, and I did not even introduce him to my Polish friends at Spa. I
told him he could easily make their acquaintance by himself, and that I
would neither make nor mar with him.
I accepted his invitation to dinner for the same day. His secretary, as
he called him, was merely his confederate. He was a clever Veronese
named Conti, and his wife was an essential accomplice in Croce's designs.
At noon my friend the hatter came again with the ring, followed by the
owner, who looked like a bravo. They were accompanied by the jeweller
and another individual. The owner asked me once more to lend him two
hundred louis on the ring.
My proper course would have been to beg to be excused, then I should have
had no more trouble in the matter; but it was not to be. I wanted to
make him see that the objection he made to having the stone taken out was
an insuperable obstacle to my lending him the money.
"When the stone is removed," said I, "we shall see what it really is.
Listen to my proposal: if it weighs twenty-six grains, I will give you,
not two but three hundred louis, but in its present condition I shall
give nothing at all."
"You have no business to doubt my word; you insult me by doing so."
"Not at all, I have no intentions of the kind. I simply propose a wager
to you. If the stone be found to weigh twenty-six grains, I shall lose
two hundred Louis, if it weighs much less you will lose the ring."
"That's a scandalous proposal; it's as much as to tell me that I am a
I did not like the tone with which these words were spoken, and I went up
to the chest of drawers where I kept my pistols, and bade him go and
leave me in peace.
Just then General Roniker came in, and the owner of the ring told him of
the dispute between us. The general looked at the ring, and said to
"If anyone were to give me the ring I should not have the stone taken
out, because one should not look a gift horse in the mouth; but if it
came to a question of buying or lending I would not give a crown for it,
were the owner an emperor, before the stone was taken out; and I am very
much surprised at your refusing to let this be done."
Without a word the knave made for the door, and the ring remained in the
hands of my late host.
"Why didn't you give him his ring?" said I.
"Because I have advanced him fifty Louis on it; but if he does not redeem
it to-morrow I will have the stone taken out before a judge, and
afterwards I shall sell it by auction."
"I don't like the man's manners, and I hope you will never bring anyone
to my rooms again."
The affair came to the following conclusion: The impostor did not redeem
the ring, and the Liege tradesman had the setting removed. The diamond
was found to be placed on a bed of rock crystal, which formed two-thirds
of the whole bulk. However, the diamond was worth fifty Louis, and an
Englishman bought it. A week afterwards the knave met me as I was
walking by myself, and begged me to follow him to place where we should
be free from observation, as his sword had somewhat to say to mine.
Curiously enough I happened to be wearing my sword at the time.
"I will not follow you," I replied; "the matter can be settled here?"
"We are observed."
"All the better. Make haste and draw your sword first."
"The advantage is with you."
"I know it, and so it ought to be. If you do not draw I will proclaim
you to be the coward I am sure you are."
At this he drew his sword rapidly and came on, but I was ready to receive
him. He began to fence to try my mettle, but I lunged right at his
chest, and gave him three inches of cold steel. I should have killed him
on the spot if he had not lowered his sword, saying he would take his
revenge at another time. With this he went off, holding his hand to the
A score of people were close by, but no one troubled himself about the
wounded man, as he was known to have been the aggressor. The duel had no
further consequences for me. When I left Spa the man was still in the
surgeon's hands. He was something worse than an adventurer, and all the
French at Spa disowned him.
But to return to Croce and his dinner.
The marchioness, his wife so-called, was a young lady of sixteen or
seventeen, fair-complexioned and tall, with all the manners of the
Belgian nobility. The history of her escape is well known to her
brothers and sisters, and as her family are still in existence my readers
will be obliged to me for concealing her name.
Her husband had told her about me, and she received me in the most
gracious manner possible. She shewed no signs of sadness or of
repentance for the steps she had taken. She was with child for some
months, and seemed to be near her term, owing to the slimness of her
figure. Nevertheless she had the aspect of perfect health. Her
countenance expressed candour and frankness of disposition in a
remarkable degree. Her eyes were large and blue, her complexion a
roseate hue, her small sweet mouth, her perfect teeth made her a beauty
worthy of the brush of Albano.
I thought myself skilled in physiognomy, and concluded that she was not
only perfectly happy, but also the cause of happiness. But here let me
say how vain a thing it is for anyone to pronounce a man or woman to be
happy or unhappy from a merely cursory inspection.
The young marchioness had beautiful ear-rings, and two rings, which gave
me a pretext for admiring the beauty of her hands.
Conti's wife did not cut any figure at all, and I was all eyes for the
marchioness, whose name was Charlotte. I was profoundly impressed by her
that I was quite abstracted during dinner.
I sought in vain to discover by what merits Croce had been able to seduce
two such superior women. He was not a fine-looking man, he was not well
educated, his manners were doubtful, and his way of speaking by no means
seductive; in fine, I saw nothing captivating about him, and yet I could
be a witness to his having made two girls leave their homes to follow
him. I lost myself in conjecture; but I had no premonition of what was
to happen in the course of a few weeks.
When dinner was over I took Croce apart, and talked seriously to him. I
impressed on him the necessity of circumspect conduct, as in my opinion
he would be for ever infamous if the beautiful woman whom he had seduced
was to become wretched by his fault.
"For the future I mean to trust to my skill in play, and thus I am sure
of a comfortable living."
"Does she know, that your revenue is fed solely by the purses of dupes?"
"She knows that I am a gamester; and as she adores me, her will is as
mine. I am thinking of marrying her at Warsaw before she is confined.
If you are in any want of money, look upon my purse as your own."
I thanked him, and once more pressed on him the duty of exercising
As a matter of fact, I had no need of money. I had played with
moderation, and my profits amounted to nearly four hundred louis. When
the luck turned against me I was wise enough to turn my back on the
board. Although the bruise that Mercy had given me was still apparent, I
escorted the marchioness to the tables, and there she drew all eyes upon
her. She was fond of piquet, and we played together for small stakes for
some time. In the end she lost twenty crowns to me, and I was forced to
take the money for fear of offending her.
When we went back we met Croce and Conti, who had both won--Conti a score
of louis at Faro, and Croce more than a hundred guineas at 'passe dix',
which he had been playing at a club of Englishmen. I was more lively at
supper than dinner, and excited Charlotte to laughter by my wit.
Henceforth the Poles and the Tomatis only saw me at intervals. I was in
love with the fair marchioness, and everybody said it was very natural.
When a week had elapsed, Croce, finding that the pigeons would not come
to be plucked, despite the suppers he gave, went to the public room, and
lost continually. He was as used to loss as to gain, and his spirits
were unaltered; he was still gay, still ate well and drank better, and
caressed his victim, who had no suspicions of what was going on.
I loved her, but did not dare to reveal my passion, fearing lest it
should be unrequited; and I was afraid to tell her of Croce's losses lest
she should put down my action to some ulterior motive; in fine, I was
afraid to lose the trust she had already begun to place in me.
At the end of three weeks Conti, who had played with prudence and
success, left Croce and set out for Verona with his wife and servant. A
few days later Charlotte dismissed her maid, sending her back to Liege,
her native town.
Towards the middle of September all the Polish party left the Spa for
Paris, where I promised to rejoin them. I only stayed for Charlotte's
sake; I foresaw a catastrophe, and I would not abandon her. Every day
Croce lost heavily, and at last he was obliged to sell his jewellery.
Then came Charlotte's turn; she had to give up her watches, ear-rings,
her rings, and all the jewels she had. He lost everything, but this
wonderful girl was as affectionate as ever. To make a finish he
despoiled her of her lace and her best gowns, and then selling his own
wardrobe he went to his last fight with fortune, provided with two
hundred Louis. He played like a madman, without common-sense or
prudence, and lost all.
His pockets were empty, and seeing me he beckoned to me, and I followed
him out of the Spa.
"My friend," he began, "I have two alternatives, I can kill myself this
instant or I can fly without returning to the house. I shall embrace the
latter and go to Warsaw on foot, and I leave my wife in your hands, for I
know you adore her. It must be your task to give her the dreadful news
of the pass to which I have come. Have a care of her, she is too good by
far for a poor wretch like me. Take her to Paris and I will write to you
there at your brother's address. I know you have money, but I would die
rather than accept a single louis from you. I have still two or three
pieces left, and I assure you that I am richer at the present moment than
I was two months ago. Farewell; once more I commend Charlotte to your
care; I would that she had never known me."
With these words he shed tears, and embracing me went his way. I was
stupefied at what lay before me.
I had to inform a pregnant woman that the man she dearly loved had
deserted her. The only thought that supported me in that moment was that
it would be done for love of her, and I felt thankful that I had
sufficient means to secure her from privation.
I went to the house and told her that we might dine at once, as the
marquis would be engaged till the evening. She sighed, wished him luck,
and we proceeded to dine. I disguised my emotions so well that she
conceived no suspicion. After the meal was over, I asked her to walk
with me in the garden of the Capuchin Monastery, which was close at hand.
To prepare her for the fatal news I asked her if she would approve of her
lover exposing himself to assassination for the sake of bidding adieu to
her rather than making his escape.
"I should blame him for doing so," she replied. "He ought to escape by
all means, if only to save his life for my sake. Has my husband done so?
Speak openly to me. My spirit is strong enough to resist even so fatal a
blow, for I know I have a friend in you. Speak."
"Well, I will tell you all. But first of all remember this; you must
look upon me as a tender father who will never let you want, so long as
life remains to him."
"In that case I cannot be called unfortunate, for I have a true friend.
I told all that Croce had told me, not omitting his last words: "I
commend Charlotte to your care; I would that she had never known me."
For a few minutes she remained motionless, as one turned into stone. By
her attitude, by her laboured and unequal breath, I could divine somewhat
of the battle between love, and anger, and sorrow, and pity, that was
raging in the noble breast. I was cut to the heart. At last she wiped
away the big tears that began to trickle down her cheeks, and turning to
me sighed and said,--
"Dear friend, since I can count on you, I am far indeed from utter
"I swear to you, Charlotte, that I will never leave you till I place you
again in your husband's hands, provided I do not die before."
"That is enough. I swear eternal gratitude, and to be as submissive to
you as a good daughter ought to be."
The religion and philosophy with which her heart and mind were fortified,
though she made no parade of either, began to calm her spirit, and she
proceeded to make some reflections on Croce's unhappy lot, but all in
pity not in anger, excusing his inveterate passion for play. She had
often heard from Croce's lips the story of the Marseilles girl whom he
had left penniless in an inn at Milan, commending her to my care. She
thought it something wonderful that I should again be intervening as the
tutelary genius; but her situation was much the worse, for she was with
"There's another difference," I added, "for I made the fortune of the
first by finding her an honest husband, whereas I should never have the
courage to adopt the same method with the second."
"While Croce lives I am no man's wife but his, nevertheless I am glad to
find myself free."
When we were back in the house, I advised her to send away the servant
and to pay his journey to Besanion, where she had taken him. Thus all
unpleasantness would be avoided. I made her sell all that remained of
her poor lover's wardrobe, as also his carriage, for mine was a better
one. She shewed me all she had left, which only amounted to some sets of
linen and three or four dresses.
We remained at Spa without going out of doors. She could see that my
love was a tenderer passion than the love of a father, and she told me
so, and that she was obliged to me for the respect with which I treated
her. We sat together for hours, she folded in my arms, whilst I gently
kissed her beautiful eyes, and asked no more. I was happy in her
gratitude and in my powers of self-restraint. When temptation was too
strong I left the beautiful girl till I was myself again, and such
conquests made me proud. In the affection between us there was somewhat
of the purity of a man's first love.
I wanted a small travelling cap, and the servant of the house went to my
former lodging to order one. Mercy brought several for me to choose
from. She blushed when she saw me, but I said nothing to her. When she
had gone I told Charlotte the whole story, and she laughed with all her
heart when I reminded her of the bruise on my face when we first met, and
informed her that Mercy had given it me. She praised my firmness in
rejecting her repentance, and agreed with me in thinking that the whole
plan had been concerted between her and her aunt.
We left Spa without any servant, and when we reached Liege we took the
way of the Ardennes, as she was afraid of being recognized if we passed
through Brussels. At Luxemburg we engaged a servant, who attended on us
till we reached Paris. All the way Charlotte was tender and
affectionate, but her condition prescribed limits to her love, and I
could only look forward to the time after her delivery. We got down at
Paris at the "Hotel Montmorenci," in the street of the same name.
Paris struck me quite as a new place. Madame d'Urfe was dead, my friends
had changed their houses and their fortunes; the poor had become rich and
the rich poor, new streets and buildings were rising on all sides; I
hardly knew my way about the town. Everything was dearer; poverty was
rampant, and luxury at it highest pitch. Perhaps Paris is the only city
where so great a change could take place in the course of five or six
The first call I made was on Madame du Rumain, who was delighted to see
me. I repaid her the money she had so kindly lent me in the time of my
distress. She was well in health, but harassed by so many anxieties and
private troubles that she said Providence must have sent me to her to
relieve her of all her griefs by my cabala. I told her that I would wait
on her at any hour or hours; and this, indeed, was the least I could do
for the woman who had been so kind to me.
My brother had gone to live in the Faubourg St. Antoine. Both he and his
wife (who remained constant to him, despite his physical disability) were
overjoyed to see me, and entreated me to come and stop with them. I told
them I should be glad to do so, as soon as the lady who had travelled
with me had got over her confinement. I did not think proper to tell
them her story, and they had the delicacy to refrain from questioning me
on the subject. The same day I called on Princess Lubomirska and
Tomatis, begging them not to take it amiss if my visits were few and far
between, as the lady they had seen at Spa was approaching her
confinement, and demanded all my care.
After the discharge of these duties I remained constantly by Charlotte's
side. On October 8th I thought it would be well to take her to Madame
Lamarre, a midwife, who lived in the Faubourg St. Denis, and Charlotte
was of the same opinion. We went together, she saw the room, the bed,
and heard how she would be tended and looked after, for all of which I
would pay. At nightfall we drove to the place, with a trunk containing
all her effects.
As we were leaving the Rue Montmorenci our carriage was obliged to stop
to allow the funeral of some rich man to go by. Charlotte covered her
face with her handkerchief, and whispered in my ear,
"Dearest, I know it is a foolish superstition, but to a woman in my
condition such a meeting is of evil omen."
"What, Charlotte! I thought you were too wise to have such silly fears.
A woman in child-bed is not a sick woman, and no woman ever died of
giving birth to a child except some other disease intervened."
"Yes, my dear philosopher, it is like a duel; there are two men in
perfect health, when all of a sudden there comes a sword-thrust, and one
of them is dead."
"That's a witty idea. But bid all gloomy thoughts go by, and after your
child is born, and we have placed it in good hands, you shall come with
me to Madrid, and there I hope to see you happy and contented."
All the way I did my best to cheer her, for I knew only too well the
fatal effects of melancholy on a pregnant woman, especially in such a
delicate girl as Charlotte.
When I saw her completely settled I returned to the hotel, and the next
day I took up my quarters with my brother. However, as long as my
Charlotte lived, I only slept at his house, for from nine in the morning
till after midnight I was with my dear.
On October 13th Charlotte was attacked with a fever which never left her.
On the 17th she was happily delivered of a boy, which was immediately
taken to the church and baptized at the express wishes of the mother.
Charlotte wrote down what its name was to be--Jacques (after me), Charles
(after her), son of Antonio della Croce and of Charlotte de (she gave her
real name). When it was brought from the church she told Madame Lamarre
to carry it to the Foundling Hospital, with the certificate of baptism in
its linen. I vainly endeavoured to persuade her to leave the care of the
child to me. She said that if it lived the father could easily reclaim
it. On the same day, October 18th, the, midwife gave me the following
certificate, which I still possess:
It was worded as follows:
"We, J. B. Dorival, Councillor to the King, Commissary of the Chatelet,
formerly Superintendent of Police in the City of Paris, do certify that
there has been taken to the Hospital for Children a male infant,
appearing to be one day old, brought from the Faubourg St. Denis by the
midwife Lamarre, and bearing a certificate of baptism to the effect that
its name is Jacques Charles, son of Antonio della Croce and of Charlotte
de ---- . Wherefore, we have delivered the above certificate at our
office in the City of Paris, this 18th day of October, in the year of our
Lord, 1767, at seven o'clock in the afternoon.
If any of my readers have any curiosity to know the real name of the
mother, I have given them the means of satisfying it.
After this I did not leave the bed of the invalid for a single instant.
In spite of all the doctor's care the fever increased, and at five
o'clock in the morning of October 26th, she succumbed to it. An hour
before she sighed her last, she bade me the last farewell in the presence
of the venerable ecclesiastic who had confessed her at midnight. The
tears which gather fast as I write these words are probably the last
honours I shall pay to this poor victim of a man who is still alive, and
whose destiny seemed to be to make women unhappy.
I sat weeping by the bed of her I loved so dearly, and in vain Madame
Lamarre tried to induce me to come and sit with her. I loved the poor
corpse better than all the world outside.
At noon my brother and his wife came to see me; they had not seen me for
a week, and were getting anxious. They saw the body lovely in death;
they understood my tears, and mingled theirs with mine. At last I asked
them to leave me, and I remained all night by Charlotte's bed, resolved
not to leave it till her body had been consigned to the grave.
The day before this morning of unhappy memory my brother had given me
several letters, but I had not opened any of them. On my return from the
funeral I proceeded to do so, and the first one was from M. Dandolo,
announcing the death of M. de Bragadin; but I could not weep. For
twenty-two years M. de Bragadin had been as a father to me, living
poorly, and even going into debt that I might have enough. He could not
leave me anything, as his property was entailed, while his furniture and
his library would become the prey of his creditors. His two friends, who
were my friends also, were poor, and could give me nothing but their
love. The dreadful news was accompanied by a bill of exchange for a
thousand crowns, which he had sent me twenty-four hours before his death,
foreseeing that it would be the last gift he would ever make me.
I was overwhelmed, and thought that Fortune had done her worst to me.
I spent three days in my brother's house without going out. On the
fourth I began to pay an assiduous court to Princess Lubomirska, who had
written the king, her brother, a letter that must have mortified him, as
she proved beyond a doubt that the tales he had listened to against me
were mere calumny. But your kings do not allow so small a thing to vex
or mortify them. Besides, Stanislas Augustus had just received a
dreadful insult from Russia. Repnin's violence in kidnapping the three
senators who had spoken their minds at the Diet was a blow which must
have pierced the hapless king to the heart.
The princess had left Warsaw more from hatred than love; though such was
not the general opinion. As I had decided to visit the Court of Madrid
before going to Portugal, the princess gave me a letter of introduction
to the powerful Count of Aranda; and the Marquis Caraccioli, who was
still at Paris, gave me three letters, one for Prince de la Catolica, the
Neapolitan ambassador at Madrid, one for the Duke of Lossada, the king's
favourite and lord high steward, and a third for the Marquis Mora
On November 4th I went to a concert with a ticket that the princess had
given me. When the concert was half-way through I heard my name
pronounced, accompanied by scornful laughter. I turned round and saw the
gentleman who was speaking contemptuously of me. It was a tall young man
sitting between two men advanced in years. I stared him in the face, but
he turned his head away and continued his impertinencies, saying, amongst
other things, that I had robbed him of a million francs at least by my
swindling his late aunt, the Marchioness d'Urfe.
"You are an impudent liar," I said to him, "and if we were out of this
room I would give you a kick to teach you to speak respectfully."
With these words I made my way out of the hall, and on turning my head
round I saw that the two elderly men were keeping the young blockhead
back. I got into my carriage and waited some time, and as he did not
come I drove to the theatre and chanced to find myself in the same box as
Madame Valville. She informed me that she had left the boards, and was
kept by the Marquis the Brunel.
"I congratulate you, and wish you good luck."
"I hope you will come to supper at my house."
"I should be only too happy, but unfortunately I have an engagement; but
I will come and see you if you will give me your address."
So saying, I slipped into her hand a rouleau, it being the fifty louis I
"What is this?"