Part 50 out of 70
"Quite so, but did she tell you that I paid the money to her father?"
"Yes, the little fool doesn't keep anything for herself. I don't
think I should ever be jealous of your mistresses, if you let me
sleep with them. Is not that a mark of a good disposition?
"You have, no doubt, a good disposition, but you could be quite as
good without your dominant passion."
"It is not a passion. I only have desires for those I love."
"Who gave you this taste?"
"Nature. I began at seven, and in the last ten years I have
certainly had four hundred sweethearts."
"You begin early. But when did you begin to have male sweethearts?"
"Tell me all about it."
"Father Molini, a monk, was my confessor, and he expressed a desire
to know the girl who was then my sweetheart. It was in the carnival
time, and he gave us a moral discourse, telling us that he would take
us to the play if we would promise to abstain for a week. We
promised to do so, and at the end of the week we went to tell him
that we had kept our word faithfully. The next day Father Molini
called on my sweetheart's aunt in a mask, and as she knew him, and as
he was a monk and a confessor, we were allowed to go with him.
Besides, we were mere children; my sweetheart was only a year older
"After the play the father took us to an inn, and gave us some
supper; and when the meal was over he spoke to us of our sin, and
wanted to see our privates. 'It's a great sin between two girls,'
said he, 'but between a man and a woman it is a venial matter. Do
you know how men are made?' We both knew, but we said no with one
consent. 'Then would you like to know?' said he. We said we should
like to know very much, and he added, 'If you will promise to keep it
a secret, I may be able to satisfy your curiosity.' We gave our
promises, and the good father proceeded to gratify us with a sight of
the riches which nature had lavished on him, and in the course of an
hour he had turned us into women. I must confess that he understood
so well how to work on our curiosity that the request came from us.
Three years later, when I was fourteen, I became the mistress of a
young jeweller. Then came your brother; but he got nothing from me,
because he began by saying that he could not ask me to give him any
favours till we were married."
"You must have been amused at that."
"Yes, it did make me laugh, because I did not know that a priest
could get married; and he excited my curiosity by telling me that
they managed it at Geneva. Curiosity and wantonness made me escape
with him; you know the rest."
Thus did Marcoline amuse me during the evening, and then we went to
bed and slept quietly till the morning. We started from Valence at
five, and in the evening we were set down at the "Hotel du Parc" at
As soon as I was settled in the pleasant apartments allotted to me I
went to Madame d'Urfe, who was staying in the Place Bellecour, and
said, as usual, that she was sure I was coming on that day. She
wanted to know if she had performed the ceremonies correctly, and
Paralis, of course, informed her that she had, whereat she was much
flattered. The young Aranda was with her, and after I had kissed him
affectionately I told the marchioness that I would be with her at ten
o'clock the next morning, and so I left her.
I kept the appointment and we spent the whole of the day in close
conference, asking of the oracle concerning her being brought to bed,
how she was to make her will, and how she should contrive to escape
poverty in her regenerated shape. The oracle told her that she must
go to Paris for her lying-in, and leave all her possessions to her
son, who would not be a bastard, as Paralis promised that as soon as
I got to London an English gentleman should be sent over to marry
her. Finally, the oracle ordered her to prepare to start in three
days, and to take Aranda with her. I had to take the latter to
London and return him to his mother, for his real position in life
was no longer a mystery, the little rascal having confessed all;
however, I had found a remedy for his indiscretion as for the
treachery of the Corticelli and Possano.
I longed to return him to the keeping of his mother, who constantly
wrote me impertinent letters. I also wished to take my daughter,
who, according to her mother, had become a prodigy of grace and
After the oracular business had been settled, I returned to the
"Hotel du Parc" to dine with Marcoline. It was very late, and as I
could not take my sweetheart to the play I called on M. Bono to
enquire whether he had sent my brother to Paris. He told me that he
had gone the day before, and that my great enemy, Possano, was still
in Lyons, and that I would do well to be on my guard as far as he was
"I have seen him," said Bono; "he looks pale and undone, and seems
scarcely able to stand. 'I shall die before long,' said he, 'for
that scoundrel Casanova has had me poisoned; but I will make him pay
dearly for his crime, and in this very town of Lyons, where I know he
will come, sooner or later.'
"In fact, in the course of half an hour, he made some terrible
accusations against you, speaking as if he were in a fury. He wants
all the world to know that you are the greatest villain unhung, that
you are ruining Madame d'Urfe with your impious lies; that you are a
sorcerer, a forger, an utter of false moneys, a poisoner--in short,
the worst of men. He does not intend to publish a libellous pamphlet
upon you, but to accuse you before the courts, alleging that he wants
reparation for the wrongs you have done his person, his honour, and
his life, for he says you are killing him by a slow poison. He adds
that for every article he possesses the strongest proof.
"I will say nothing about the vague abuse he adds to these formal
accusations, but I have felt it my duty to warn you of his
treacherous designs that you may be able to defeat them. It's no
good saying he is a miserable wretch, and that you despise him; you
know how strong a thing calumny is."
"Where does the fellow live?"
"I don't know in the least."
"How can I find out?"
"I can't say, for if he is hiding himself on purpose it would be hard
to get at him."
"Nevertheless, Lyons is not so vast a place."
"Lyons is a perfect maze, and there is no better hiding-place,
especially to a man with money, and Possano has money."
"But what can he do to me?"
"He can institute proceedings against you in the criminal court,
which would cause you immense anxiety and bring down your good name
to the dust, even though you be the most innocent, the most just of
"It seems to me, then, that the best thing I can do will be to be
first in the field."
"So I think, but even then you cannot avoid publicity."
"Tell me frankly if you feel disposed to bear witness to what the
rascal has said in a court of justice."
"I will tell all I know with perfect truth."
"Be kind enough to tell me of a good advocate."
"I will give you the address of one of the best; but reflect before
you do anything. The affair will make a noise."
"As I don't know where he lives, I have really no choice in the
If I had known where he lived I could have had Possano expelled from
Lyons through the influence of Madame d'Urfe, whose relative, M. de
la Rochebaron, was the governor; but as it was, I had no other course
than the one I took.
Although Possano was a liar and an ungrateful, treacherous hound, yet
I could not help being uneasy. I went to my hotel, and proceeded to
ask for police protection against a man in hiding in Lyons, who had
designs against my life and honour.
The next day M. Bono came to dissuade me from the course I had taken.
"For," said he, "the police will begin to search for him, and as soon
as he hears of it he will take proceedings against you in the
criminal courts, and then your positions will be changed. It seems
to me that if you have no important business at Lyons you had better
hasten your departure."
"Do you think I would do such a thing for a miserable fellow like
Possano? No! I would despise myself if I did. I would die rather
than hasten my departure on account of a rascal whom I loaded with
kindnesses, despite his unworthiness! I would give a hundred louis
to know where he is now."
"I am delighted to say that I do not know anything about it, for if I
did I would tell you, and then God knows what would happen! You
won't go any sooner; well, then, begin proceedings, and I will give
my evidence by word of mouth or writing whenever you please."
I went to the advocate whom M. Bono had recommended to me, and told
him my business. When he heard what I wanted he said,----
"I can do nothing for you, sir, as I have undertaken the case of your
opponent. You need not be alarmed, however, at having spoken to me,
for I assure you that I will make no use whatever of the information.
Possano's plea or accusation will not be drawn up till the day after
to-morrow, but I will not tell him to make baste for fear of your
anticipating him, as I have only been informed of your intentions by
hazard. However, you will find plenty of advocates at Lyons as
honest as I am, and more skilled."
"Could you give me the name of one?"
"That would not be etiquette, but M. Bono, who seems to have kindly
spoken of me with some esteem, will be able to serve you."
"Can you tell me where your client lives?"
"Since his chief aim is to remain hidden, and with good cause, you
will see that I could not think of doing such a thing."
In bidding him farewell I put a louis on the table, and though I did
it with the utmost delicacy he ran after me and made me take it back.
"For once in a way," I said to myself, "here's an honest advocate."
As I walked along I thought of putting a spy on Possano and finding
out his abode, for I felt a strong desire to have him beaten to
death; but where was I to find a spy in a town of which I knew
nothing? M. Bono gave me the name of another advocate, and advised
me to make haste.
"'Tis in criminal matters" said he, "and in such cases the first
comer always has the advantage."
I asked him to find me a trusty fellow to track out the rascally
Possano, but the worthy man would not hear of it. He shewed me that
it would be dishonourable to set a spy on the actions of Possano's
advocate. I knew it myself; but what man is there who has not
yielded to the voice of vengeance, the most violent and least
reasonable of all the passions.
I went to the second advocate, whom I found to be a man venerable not
only in years but in wisdom. I told him all the circumstances of the
affair, which he agreed to take up, saying he would present my plea
in the course of the day.
"That's just what I want you to do," said I, "for his own advocate
told me that his pleas would be presented the day after to-morrow."
"That, sir," said her "would not induce me to act with any greater
promptness, as I could not consent to your abusing the confidence of
"But there is nothing dishonourable in making use of information
which one has acquired by chance."
"That may be a tenable position in some cases, but in the present
instance the nature of the affair justifies prompt action. 'Prior in
tempore, Potior in jure'. Prudence bids us attack our enemy. Be so
kind, if you please, to call here at three o'clock in the afternoon."
"I will not fail to do so, and in the meanwhile here are six louis."
"I will keep account of my expenditure on your behalf."
"I want you not to spare money."
"Sir, I shall spend only what is absolutely necessary."
I almost believed that probity had chosen a home for herself amongst
the Lyons advocates, and here I may say, to the honour of the French
bar, that I have never known a more honest body of men than the
advocates of France.
At three o'clock, having seen that the plan was properly drawn up, I
went to Madame d'Urfe's, and for four hours I worked the oracle in a
manner that filled her with delight, and in spite of my vexation I
could not help laughing at her insane fancies on the subject of her
pregnancy. She was certain of it; she felt all the symptoms. Then
she said how sorry she felt that she would not be alive to laugh at
all the hypotheses of the Paris doctors as to her being delivered of
a child, which would be thought very extraordinary in a woman of her
When I got back to the inn I found Marcoline very melancholy. She
said she had been waiting for me to take her to the play, according
to my promise, and that I should not have made her wait in vain.
"You are right, dearest, but an affair of importance has kept me with
the marchioness. Don't be put out."
I had need of some such advice myself, for the legal affair worried
me, and I slept very ill. Early the next morning I saw my counsel,
who told me that my plea had been laid before the criminal
"For the present," said he, "there is nothing more to be done, for as
we don't know where he is we can't cite him to appear."
"Could I not set the police on his track?"
"You might, but I don't advise you to do so. Let us consider what
the result would be. The accuser finding himself accused would have
to defend himself and prove the accusation he has made against you.
But in the present state of things, if he does not put in an
appearance we will get judgment against him for contempt of court and
also for libel. Even his counsel will leave him in the lurch if he
persistently refuses to shew himself."
This quieted my fears a little, and I spent the rest of the day with
Madame d'Urfe, who was going to Paris on the morrow. I promised to
be with her as soon as I had dealt with certain matters which
concerned the honour of the Fraternity R. C..
Her great maxim was always to respect my secrets, and never to
trouble me with her curiosity. Marcoline, who had been pining by
herself all day, breathed again when I told her that henceforth I
should be all for her.
In the morning M. Bono came to me and begged me to go with him to
Possano's counsel, who wanted to speak to me. The advocate said that
his client was a sort of madman who was ready to do anything, as he
believed himself to be dying from the effects of a slow poison.
"He says that even if you are first in the field he will have you
condemned to death. He says he doesn't care if he is sent to prison,
as he is certain of coming out in triumph as he has the proof of all
his accusations. He shews twenty-five louis which you gave him, all
of which are clipped, and he exhibits documents dated from Genoa
stating that you clipped a number of gold pieces, which were melted
by M. Grimaldi in order that the police might not find them in your
possession. He has even a letter from your brother, the abbe,
deposing against you. He is a madman, a victim to syphilis, who
wishes to send you to the other world before himself, if he can. Now
my advice to you is to give him some money and get rid of him. He
tells me that he is the father of a family, and that if M. Bono would
give him a thousand louis he would sacrifice vengeance to necessity.
He told me to speak to M. Bono about it; and now, sir what do you
"That which my just indignation inspires me to say regarding a rascal
whom I rescued from poverty, and who nevertheless pursues me with
atrocious calumnies; he shall not have one single farthing of mine."
I then told the Genoa story, putting things in their true light, and
adding that I could call M. Grimaldi as a witness if necessary.
"I have delayed presenting the plea," said the counsel, "to see if
the scandal could be hushed up in any way, but I warn you that I
shall now present it."
"Do so; I shall be greatly obliged to you."
I immediately called on my advocate, and told him of the rascal's
proposal; and he said I was quite right to refuse to have any
dealings with such a fellow. He added that as I had M. Bono as a
witness I ought to make Possano's advocate present his plea, and I
authorized him to take proceedings in my name.
A clerk was immediately sent to the criminal lieutenant, praying him
to command the advocate to bring before him, in three days, the plea
of one Anami, alias Pogomas, alias Possano, the said plea being
against Jacques Casanova, commonly called the Chevalier de Seingalt.
This document, to which I affixed my signature, was laid before the
I did not care for the three days' delay, but my counsel told me it
was always given, and that I must make up my mind to submit to all
the vexation I should be obliged to undergo, even if we were wholly
As Madame d'Urfe had taken her departure in conformity with the
orders of Paralis, I dined with Marcoline at the inn, and tried to
raise my spirits by all the means in my power. I took my mistress to
the best milliners and dressmakers in the town, and bought her
everything she took a fancy to; and then we went to the theatre,
where she must have been pleased to see all eyes fixed on her.
Madame Pernon, who was in the next box to ours, made me introduce
Marcoline to her; and from the way they embraced each other when the
play was over I saw they were likely to become intimate, the only
obstacle to their friendship being that Madame Pernon did not know a
word of Italian, and that Marcoline did not dare to speak a word of
French for fear of making herself ridiculous. When we got back to
the inn, Marcoline told me that her new friend had given her the
Florentine kiss: this is the shibboleth of the sect.
The pretty nick-nacks I had given her had made her happy; her ardour
was redoubled, and the night passed joyously.
I spent the next day in going from shop to shop, making fresh
purchases for Marcoline, and we supped merrily at Madame Pernon's.
The day after, M. Bono came to see me at an early hour with a smile
of content on his face.
"Let us go and breakfast at a coffee-house," said he; "we will have
some discussion together."
When we were breakfasting he shewed me a letter written by Possano,
in which the rascal said that he was ready to abandon proceedings
provided that M. de Seingalt gave him a hundred louis, on receipt of
which he promised to leave Lyons immediately.
"I should be a great fool," said I, "if I gave the knave more money
to escape from the hands of justice. Let him go if he likes, I won't
prevent him; but he had better not expect me to give him anything.
He will have a writ out against him to-morrow. I should like to see
him branded by the hangman. He has slandered me, his benefactor, too
grievously; let him prove what he says, or be dishonoured before all
"His abandoning the proceedings," said M. Bono, "would in my opinion
amount to the same thing as his failing to prove his charges, and you
would do well to prefer it to a trial which would do your reputation
no good, even if you were completely successful. And the hundred
louis is nothing in comparison with the costs of such a trial."
"M. Bono, I value your advice very highly, and still more highly the
kindly feelings which prompt you, but you must allow me to follow my
own opinion in this case."
I went to my counsel and told him of the fresh proposal that Possano
had made, and of my refusal to listen to it, begging him to take
measures for the arrest of the villain who had vowed my death.
The same evening I had Madame Pernon and M. Bono, who was her lover,
to sup with me; and as the latter had a good knowledge of Italian
Marcoline was able to take part in the merriment of the company.
The next day Bono wrote to tell me that Possano had left Lyons never
to return, and that he had signed a full and satisfactory retraction.
I was not surprised to hear of his flight, but the other circumstance
I could not understand. I therefore hastened to call on Bono, who
showed me the document, which was certainly plain enough.
"Will that do?" said he.
"So well that I forgive him, but I wonder he did not insist on the
"My dear sir, I gave him the money with pleasure, to prevent a
scandalous affair which would have done us all harm in becoming
public. If I had told you nothing, you couldn't have taken any steps
in the matter, and I felt myself obliged to repair the mischief I had
done in this way. You would have known nothing about it, if you had
said that you were not satisfied. I am only too glad to have been
enabled to skew my friendship by this trifling service. We will say
no more about it."
"Very good," said I, embracing him, "we will say no more, but please
to receive the assurance of my gratitude."
I confess I felt much relieved at being freed from this troublesome
by Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
IN LONDON AND MOSCOW, Volume 5b--TO LONDON
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
I Meet the Venetian Ambassadors at Lyons, and also Marcoline's Uncle
--I Part from Marcoline and Set Out for Paris--An Amorous Journey
Thus freed from the cares which the dreadful slanders of Possano had
caused me, I gave myself up to the enjoyment of my fair Venetian,
doing all in my power to increase her happiness, as if I had had a
premonition that we should soon be separated from one another.
The day after the supper I gave to Madame Pernon and M. Bono, we went
to the theatre together, and in the box opposite to us I saw M.
Querini, the procurator, Morosini, M. Memmo, and Count Stratico, a
Professor of the University of Padua. I knew all these gentlemen;
they had been in London, and were passing through Lyons on their
return to Venice.
"Farewell, fair Marcoline!" I said to myself, feeling quite broken-
hearted, but I remained calm, and said nothing to her. She did not
notice them as she was absorbed in her conversation with M. Bono, and
besides, she did not know them by sight. I saw that M. Memmo had
seen me and was telling the procurator of my presence, and as I knew
the latter very well I felt bound to pay them my respects then and
Querini received me very politely for a devotee, as also did
Morosini, while Memmo seemed moved; but no doubt he remembered that
it was chiefly due to his mother that I had been imprisoned eight
years ago. I congratulated the gentlemen on their embassy to
England, on their return to their native land, and for form's sake
commended myself to their good offices to enable me to return also.
M. Morosini, noticing the richness of my dress and my general
appearance of prosperity, said that while I had to stay away he had
to return, and that he considered me the luckier man.
"Your excellency is well aware," said I, "that nothing is sweeter
than forbidden fruit."
He smiled, and asked me whither I went and whence I came.
"I come from Rome," I answered, "where I had some converse with the
Holy Father, whom I knew before, and I am going through Paris on my
way to London.
"Call on me here, if you have time, I have a little commission to
"I shall always have time to serve your excellency in. Are you
stopping here for long?"
"Three or four days."
When I 'got back to my box Marcoline asked me who were the gentlemen
to whom I had been speaking. I answered coolly and indifferently,
but watching her as I spoke, that they were the Venetian ambassadors
on their way from London. The flush of her cheek died away and was
replaced by pallor; she raised her eyes to heaven, lowered them, and
said not a word. My heart was broken. A few minutes afterwards she
asked me which was M. Querini, and after I had pointed him out to her
she watched him furtively for the rest of the evening.
The curtain fell, we left our box, and at the door of the theatre we
found the ambassadors waiting for their carriage. Mine was in the
same line as theirs. The ambassador Querini said,--
"You have a very pretty young lady with you."
Marcoline stepped forward, seized his hand, and kissed it before I
Querini, who was greatly astonished, thanked her and said,--
"What have I done to deserve this honour?"
"Because," said Marcoline, speaking in the Venetian dialect, "I have
the honour of knowing his excellency M. Querini."
"What are you doing with M. Casanova?"
"He is my uncle."
My carriage came up. I made a profound bow to the ambassadors, and
called out to the coachman, "To the 'Hotel du Parc'." It was the
best hotel in Lyons, and I was not sorry for the Venetians to hear
where I was staying.
Marcoline was in despair, for she saw that the time for parting was
near at hand.
"We have three or four days before us," said I, "in which we can
contrive how to communicate with your uncle Mattio. I must commend
you highly for kissing M. Querini's hand. That was a masterstroke
indeed. All will go off well; but I hope you will be merry, for
sadness I abhor."
We were still at table when I heard the voice of M. Memmo in the
ante-chamber; he was a young man, intelligent and good-natured. I
warned Marcoline not to say a word about our private affairs, but to
display a moderate gaiety. The servant announced the young nobleman,
and we rose to welcome him; but he made us sit down again, and sat
beside us, and drank a glass of wine with the utmost cordiality. He
told me how he had been supping with the old devotee Querini, who had
had his hand kissed by a young and fair Venetian. The ambassadors
were much amused at the circumstance, and Querini himself, in spite
of his scrupulous conscience, was greatly flattered.
"May I ask you, mademoiselle," he added, "how you came to know M.
"It's a mystery, sir."
"A mystery, is it? What fun we shall have tomorrow! I have come,"
he said, addressing himself to me, "to ask you to dine with us to-
morrow, and you must bring your charming niece."
"Would you like to go, Marcoline?"
"'Con grandissimo piacere'! We shall speak Venetian, shall we not?"
"'E viva'! I cannot learn French."
"M. Querini is in the same position," said M. Memmo.
After half an hour's agreeable conversation he left us, and Marcoline
embraced me with delight at having made such a good impression on
"Put on your best dress to-morrow," said I, "and do not forget your
jewels. Be agreeable to everybody, but pretend not to see your Uncle
Mattio, who will be sure to wait at table."
"You may be sure I shall follow your advice to the letter."
"And I mean to make the recognition a scene worthy of the drama. I
intend that you shall be taken back to Venice by M. Querini himself,
while your uncle will take care of you by his special orders."
"I shall be delighted with this arrangement, provided it succeeds."
"You may trust to me for that."
At nine o'clock the next day I called on Morosini concerning the
commissions he had for me. He gave me a little box and a letter for
Lady Harrington, and another letter with the words,--
"The Procurator Morosini is very sorry not to have been able to take
a last leave of Mdlle. Charpillon."
"Where shall I find her?"
"I really don't know. If you find her, give her the letter; if not,
it doesn't matter. That's a dazzling beauty you have with you,
"Well, she has dazzled me."
"But how did she know Querini?"
"She has seen him at Venice, but she has never spoken to him."
"I thought so; we have been laughing over it, but Querini is hugely
pleased. But how did you get hold of her? She must be very young,
as Memmo says she cannot speak French."
"It would be a long story to tell, and after all we met through a
"She is not your niece."
"Nay, she is more--she is my queen."
"You will have to teach her French, as when you get to London."
"I am not going to take her there; she wants to return to Venice."
"I pity you if you are in love with her! I hope she will dine with
"Oh, yes! she is delighted with the honour."
"And we are delighted to have our poor repast animated by such a
"You will find her worthy of your company; she is full of wit."
When I got back to the inn I told Marcoline that if anything was said
at dinner about her return to Venice, she was to reply that no one
could make her return except M. Querini, but that if she could have
his protection she would gladly go back with him.
"I will draw you out of the difficulty," said I; and she promised to
carry out my instructions.
Marcoline followed my advice with regard to her toilette, and looked
brilliant in all respects; and I, wishing to shine in the eyes of the
proud Venetian nobles, had dressed myself with the utmost richness.
I wore a suit of grey velvet, trimmed with gold and silver lace; my
point lace shirt was worth at least fifty louis; and my diamonds, my
watches, my chains, my sword of the finest English steel, my snuff-
box set with brilliants, my cross set with diamonds, my buckles set
with the same stones, were altogether worth more than fifty thousand
crowns. This ostentation, though puerile in itself, yet had a
purpose, for I wished M. de Bragadin to know that I did not cut a bad
figure in the world; and I wished the proud magistrates who had made
me quit my native land to learn that I had lost nothing, and could
laugh at their severity.
In this gorgeous style we drove to the ambassador's dinner at half-
All present were Venetians, and they welcomed Marcoline
enthusiastically. She who was born with the instinct of good manners
behaved with the grace of a nymph and the dignity of a French
princess; and as soon as she was seated between two grave and
reverend signors, she began by saying that she was delighted to find
herself the only representative of her sex in this distinguished
company, and also that there were no Frenchmen present.
"Then you don't like the French," said M. Memmo.
"I like them well enough so far as I know them, but I am only
acquainted with their exterior, as I don't speak or understand the
After this everybody knew how to take her, and the gaiety became
She answered all questions to the point, and entertained the company
with her remarks on French manners, so different to Venetian customs.
In the course of dinner M. Querini asked how she had known him, and
she replied that she had often seen him at Divine service, whereat
the devotee seemed greatly flattered. M. Morosini, pretending not to
know that she was to return to Venice, told her that unless she made
haste to acquire French, the universal language, she would find
London very tedious, as the Italian language was very little known
"I hope," she replied, "that M. de Seingalt will not bring me into
the society of people with whom I cannot exchange ideas. I know I
shall never be able to learn French."
When we had left the table the ambassadors begged me to tell the
story of my escape from The Leads, and I was glad to oblige them.
My story lasted for two whole hours; and as it was noticed that
Marcoline's eyes became wet with tears when I came to speak of my
great danger. She was rallied upon the circumstance, and told that
nieces were not usually so emotional.
"That may be, gentlemen," she replied, "though I do not see why a
niece should not love her uncle. But I have never loved anyone else
but the hero of the tale, and I cannot see what difference there can
be between one kind of love and another."
"There are five kinds of love known to man," said M. Querini. "The
love of one's neighbour, the love of God, which is beyond compare,
the highest of all, love matrimonial, the love of house and home, and
the love of self, which ought to come last of all, though many place
it in the first rank."
The nobleman commented briefly on these diverse kinds of love, but
when he came to the love of God he began to soar, and I was greatly
astonished to see Marcoline shedding tears, which she wiped away
hastily as if to hide them from the sight of the worthy old man whom
wine had made more theological than usual. Feigning to be
enthusiastic, Marcoline took his hand and kissed it, while he in his
vain exaltation drew her towards him and kissed her on the brow,
saying, "Poveretta, you are an angel!"
At this incident, in which there was more love of our neighbour than
love of God, we all bit our lips to prevent ourselves bursting out
laughing, and the sly little puss pretended to be extremely moved.
I never knew Marcoline's capacities till then, for she confessed that
her emotion was wholly fictitious, and designed to win the old man's
good graces; and that if she had followed her own inclinations she
would have laughed heartily. She was designed to act a part either
upon the stage or on a throne. Chance had ordained that she should
be born of the people, and her education had been neglected; but if
she had been properly tutored she would have been fit for anything.
Before returning home we were warmly invited to dinner the next day.
As we wanted to be together, we did not go to the theatre that day
and when we got home I did not wait for Marcoline to undress to cover
her with kisses.
"Dear heart," said I, "you have not shewn me all your perfections
till now, when we are about to part; you make me regret you are going
back to Venice. Today you won all hearts."
"Keep me then, with you, and I will ever be as I have been to-day.
By the way, did you see my uncle?"
"I think so. Was it not he who was in continual attendance?"
"Yes. I recognized him by his ring. Did he look, at me?"
"All the time, and with an air of the greatest astonishment. I
avoided catching his eye, which roved from you to me continually."
"I should like to know what the good man thinks! You will see him
again to-morrow. I am sure he will have told M. Querini that, I am
his niece, and consequently not yours.
"I expect so, too."
"And if M. Querini says as much to me to-morrow, I, expect I shall
have to, admit the fact. What do you think?"
"You must undoubtedly tell him the truth, but frankly and openly, and
so as not to let him think that you have need of him to return to
Venice. He is not your father, and has no right over your liberty."
"Very good. You must also agree that I am not your uncle, and that
the bond between us is, of the most tender description. Will, there
be any difficulty is that?"
"How can you ask me such a question? The link between us makes me
feel proud, and will ever do so."
"Well, well, I say no more. I trust entirely in your tact. Remember
that Querini and no other must take you back to Venice; he must treat
you as if you were his daughter. If he will not consent, you shall
not return at all."
"Would to God it were so!"
Early the next morning I got a note from M. Querini requesting me to
call on him, as he wanted to speak to me on a matter of importance.
"We are getting on," said Marcoline. "I am very glad that things
have taken this turn, for when you come back you can tell me the
whole story, and I can regulate my conduct accordingly."
I found Querini and Morosini together. They gave me their hands when
I came in, and Querini asked me to sit down, saying that there would
be nothing in our discussion which M. Morosini might not hear.
"I have a confidence to make to you, M. Casanova," he began; "but
first I want you to do me the same favor."
"I can have no secrets from your excellency."
"I am obliged to you, and will try to deserve your good opinion.
I beg that you will tell me sincerely whether you know the young
person who is with you, for no one believes that she is your niece."
"It is true that she is--not my niece, but not being acquainted with
her relations or family I cannot be said to know her in the sense
which your excellency gives to the word. Nevertheless, I am proud to
confess that I love her with an affection which will not end save
with my life."
"I am delighted to hear you say so. How long have you had her?"
"Nearly two months."
"Very good! How did she fall into your hands?"
"That is a point which only concerns her, and you will allow me not
to answer that question."
"Good! we will go on. Though you are in love with her, it is very
possible that you have never made any enquiries respecting her
"She has told me that she has a father and a mother, poor but honest,
but I confess I have never been curious enough to enquire her name.
I only know her baptismal name, which is possibly not her true one,
but it does quite well for me."
"She has given you her true name."
"Your excellency surprises me! You know her, then?"
"Yes; I did not know her yesterday, but I do now. Two months . . .
Marcoline . . . yes, it must be she. I am now certain that my man
is not mad."
"Yes, she is his niece. When we were at London he heard that she had
left the paternal roof about the middle of Lent. Marcoline's mother,
who is his sister, wrote to him. He was afraid to speak to her
yesterday, because she looked so grand. He even thought he must be
mistaken, and he would have been afraid of offending me by speaking
to a grand lady at my table. She must have seen him, too."
"I don't think so, she has said nothing about it to me."
"It is true that he was standing behind her all the time. But let us
come to the point. Is Marcoline your wife, or have you any intention
of marrying her?"
"I love her as tenderly as any man can love a woman, but I cannot
make her a wife; the reasons are known only to herself and me."
"I respect your secret; but tell me if you would object to my begging
her to return to Venice with her uncle?"
"I think Marcoline is happy, but if she has succeeded in gaining the
favour of your excellency, she is happier still; and I feel sure that
if she were to go back to Venice under the exalted patronage of your
excellency, she would efface all stains on her reputation. As to
permitting her to go, I can put no stumblingblock in the way, for I
am not her master. As her lover I would defend her to the last drop
of my blood, but if she wants to leave me I can only assent, though
"You speak with much sense, and I hope you will not be displeased at
my undertaking this good work. Of course I shall do nothing without
"I respect the decrees of fate when they are promulgated by such a
man as you. If your excellency can induce Marcoline to leave me, I
will make no objection; but I warn you that she must be won mildly.
She is intelligent, she loves me, and she knows that she is
independent; besides she reckons on me, and she has cause to do so.
Speak to her to-day by herself; my presence would only be in your
way. Wait till dinner is over; the interview might last some time."
"My dear Casanova, you are an honest man. I am delighted to have
made your acquaintance."
"You do me too much honour. I may say that Marcoline will hear
nothing of all this."
When I got back to the inn, I gave Marcoline an exact account of the
whole conversation, warning her that she would be supposed to know
nothing about it.
"You must execute a masterly stroke, dearest," said I, "to persuade
M. Querini that I did not lie in saying that you had not seen your
uncle. As soon as you see him, you must give a shout of surprise,
exclaim, 'My dear uncle!' and rush to his arms. This would be a
splendid and dramatic situation, which would do you honour in the
eyes of all the company."
"You may be sure that I shall play the part very well, although my
heart be sad."
At the time appointed we waited on the ambassadors, and found that
all the other guests had assembled. Marcoline, as blithe and smiling
as before, first accosted M. Querini, and then did the polite to all
the company. A few minutes before dinner Mattio brought in his
master's spectacles on a silver tray. Marcoline, who was sitting
next to M. Querini, stopped short in something she was saying, and
staring at the man, exclaimed in a questioning voice,--
"Yes, my dear niece."
Marcoline flung herself into his arms, and there was a moving scene,
which excited the admiration of all.
"I knew you had left Venice, dear uncle, but I did not know you were
in his excellency's service. I am so glad to see you again! You
will tell my father and mother about me? You see I am happy. Where
were you yesterday?"
"And you didn't see me?"
"Yes; but your uncle there . . ."
"Well," said I, laughing, "let us know each other, cousin, and be
good friends. Marcoline, I congratulate you on having such an honest
man for an uncle."
"That is really very fine," said M. Querini; and everybody
exclaimed, "Very affecting, very affecting indeed!"
The newly-found uncle departed, and we sat down to dinner, but in
spirits which differed from those of yesterday. Marcoline bore
traces of those mingled emotions of happiness and regret which move
loyal hearts when they call to mind ther native land. M. Querini
looked at her admiringly, and seemed to have all the confidence of
success which a good action gives to the mind. M. Morosini sat a
pleased spectator. The others were attentive and curious as to what
would come next. They listened to what was said, and hung on
After the first course there was greater unison in the company, and
M. Morosini told Marcoline that if she would return to Venice she
would be sure of finding a husband worthy of her.
"I must be the judge of that," said she.
"Yes, but it is a good thing to have recourse to the advice of
discreet persons who are interested in the happiness of both
"Excuse me, but I do not think so. If I ever marry, my husband will
have to please me first."
"Who has taught you this maxim?" said Querini.
"My uncle, Casanova, who has, I verily believe, taught me everything
that can be learnt in the two months I have been happy enough to live
"I congratulate the master and the pupil, but you are both too young
to have learnt all the range of science. Moral science cannot be
learnt in two months."
"What his excellency has just said," said I, turning to Marcoline,
"is perfectly correct. In affairs of marriage both parties should
rely to a great extent on the advice of friends, for mere marriages
of inclination are often unhappy."
"That is a really philosophical remark, my dear Marcoline," said
Querini; "but tell me the qualities which in your opinion are
desirable in a husband."
"I should be puzzled to name them, but they would all become manifest
in the man that pleased me."
"And supposing he were a worthless fellow?"
"He would certainly not please me, and that's the reason why I have
made up my mind never to marry a man whom I have not studied."
"Supposing you made a mistake?"
"Then I would weep in secret."
"How if you were poor?"
"She need never fear poverty, my lord," said I. "She has an income
of fifty crowns a month for the remainder of her life."
"Oh, that's a different matter. If that is so, sweetheart, you are
privileged. You will be able to live at Venice in perfect
"I think that to live honourably there I only need the protection of
a lord like your excellency."
"As to that, Marcoline, I give you my word that I will do all in my
power for you if you come to Venice. But let me ask you one
question, how are you sure of your income of fifty crowns a month?
You are laughing."
"I laugh because I am such a silly little thing. I don't have any
heed for my own business. My friend there will tell you all about
"You have not been joking, have you?" said the worthy old man to me.
"Marcoline," said I, "has not only capital which will produce a
larger sum than that which I have named, but she has also valuable
possessions. Your excellency will note her wisdom in saying that she
would need your lordship's protection at Venice, for she will require
someone to look after the investment of her capital. The whole
amount is in my hands, and if she likes Marcoline can have it all in
less than two hours."
"Very good; then you must start for Venice the day after to-morrow.
Mattio is quite ready to receive you."
"I have the greatest respect and love for my uncle, but it is not to
his care that your excellency must commend me if I resolve to go."
"Then to whom?"
"To your own care, my lord. Your excellency has called me dear
daughter two or three times, lead me, then, to Venice, like a good
father, and I will come willingly; otherwise I protest I will not
leave the man to whom I owe all I have. I will start for London with
him the day after to-morrow."
At these words which delighted me silence fell on all. They waited
for M. Querini to speak, and the general opinion seemed to be that he
had gone too far to be able to draw back. Nevertheless, the old man
kept silence; perhaps in his character of devotee he was afraid of
being led into temptation, or of giving occasion to scandal, and the
other guests were silent like him, and ate to keep each other in
countenance. Mattio's hand trembled as he waited; Marcoline alone
was calm and collected. Dessert was served, and still no one dared
to say a word. All at once this wonderful girl said, in an inspired
voice, as if speaking to herself,--
"We must adore the decrees of Divine Providence, but after the issue,
since mortals are not able to discern the future, whether it be good
or whether it be evil."
"What does that reflection relate to, my dear daughter?" said M.
Querini, "and why do you kiss my hand now?"
"I kiss your hand because you have called me your dear daughter for
the fourth time."
This judicious remark elicited a smile of approval from all, and
restored the general gaiety; but M. Querini asked Marcoline to
explain her observation on Providence.
"It was an inspiration, and the result of self-examination. I am
well; I have learned something of life; I am only seventeen, and in
the course of two months I have become rich by honest means. I am
all happy, and yet I owe my happiness to the greatest error a maiden
can commit. Thus I humble myself before the decrees, of Providence
and adore its wisdom."
"You are right, but, none the less you ought to repent of what you
"That's where I am puzzled; for before I can repent; I must think of
it, and when I think of it I find nothing for which to repent. I
suppose I shall have to consult some great theologian on the point."
"That will not be necessary; you are, intelligent, and your heart is
good, and I will give you the necessary instruction on the way. When
one repents there is no need to think of the pleasure which our sins
have given us."
In his character of apostle the good M. Querini was becoming piously
amorous of his fair proselyte. He left the table for a few moments,
and when he returned he, told Marcoline that if he had a young lady
to take to, Venice he should be obliged to leave her in the care of
his housekeeper, Dame Veneranda, in whom he had every confidence.
"I have just been speaking to her; and if you would like to come, all
is arranged. You shall sleep with her, and dine with us till we get
to Venice, and then I will deliver, you into your mother's keeping,
in the presence of your uncle. What do you say?"
"I will come with pleasure:"
"Come and see Dame Veneranda."
"Come with us, Casanova."
Dame Veneranda looked a perfect cannoness, and I did not think that
Marcoline would fall, in love with her, but she seemed sensible and
trustworthy. M. Querini told her in our presence what he had just
told Marcoline, and the duenna assured him that she would take, the
utmost care of the young lady. Marcoline kissed her and called her
mother, thus gaining the old lady's, good graces. We rejoined, the
company, who expressed to Marcoline their intense pleasure at having
her for a companion on their journey.
"I shall have to put my steward in another carriage," said
M. Querini, "as the calash only holds two."
"That will not be necessary," I remarked, "for Marcoline has her
carriage, and Mistress Veneranda will find it a very comfortable one.
It will hold her luggage as well."
"You, want to give me your carriage," said Marcoline. "You are too
good to me"
I could made no reply, my emotion was so great. I turned aside and
wiped, away my tears. Returning to the company, I found that
Marcoline had vanished and M. Morosini, who, was also much affected
told me she had gome, to speak to Mistress Veneranda. Everybody was
melancholy, and seeing that I was the cause I began to talk about
England, where I hoped to make my fortune with a project of mine, the
success of which only depended on Lord Egremont. M. de Morosini said
he would give me a letter for Lord Egremont and another for
M. Zuccata, the Venetian ambassador.
"Are you not afraid," said M. Querini, "of getting into, trouble with
the State Inquisitors for recommending M. Casanova?"
Morosini replied coldly that as the Inquisitors had, not told him for
what crime I was condemned, he did not feel himself bound to share
their judgment. Old Querini, who was extremely particular, shook his
head and said nothing.
Just then Marcoline came back to the room, and everybody could see
that she had been weeping. I confess that this mark of her affection
was as pleasing to my vanity as to my love; but such is man, and
such, doubtless, is the reader who may be censuring my conduct.
This charming girl, who still, after all these years, dwells in my
old heart, asked me to take her back to the inn, as she wanted to
pack up her trunks. We left directly, after having promised to come
to dinner on the following day.
I wept bitterly when I got to my room. I told Clairmont to see that
the carriage was in good order, and then, hastily undressing, I flung
myself on the bed in my dressing-gown, and wept as if some blessing
was being taken from me against my will. Marcoline, who was much
more sensible, did what she could to console me, but I liked to
torment myself, and her words did but increase my despair.
"Reflect," said she, "that it is not I who am leaving you, but you
who are sending me away; that I long to spend the rest of my days
with you, and that you have only got to say a word to keep me."
I knew that she was right; but still a fatal fear which has always
swayed me, the fear of being bound to anyone, and the hypocrisy of a
libertine ever longing for change, both these feelings made me
persist in my resolution and my sadness.
About six o'clock MM. Morosini and Querini came into the courtyard
and looked at the carriage, which was being inspected by the
wheelwright. They spoke to Clairmont, and then came to see us.
"Good heavens!" said M. Querini, seeing the numerous boxes which she
was going to place on her carriage; and when he had heard that her
carriage was the one he had just looked at, he seemed surprised; it
was indeed a very good vehicle.
M. Morosini told Marcoline that if she liked to sell it when she got
to Venice he would give her a thousand Venetian ducats, or three
thousand francs for it.
"You might give her double that amount," said I, "for it is worth
three thousand ducats."
"We will arrange all that," said he; and Querini added,--
"It will be a considerable addition to the capital she proposes to
After some agreeable conversation I told M. Querini that I would give
him a bill of exchange for five thousand ducats, which, with the
three or four thousand ducats the sale of her jewellery would
realize, and the thousand for the carriage, would give her a capital
of nine or ten thousand ducats, the interest of which would bring her
in a handsome income.
Next morning I got M. Bono to give me a bill of exchange on M.
Querini's order, and at dinner-time Marcoline handed it over to her
new protector, who wrote her a formal receipt. M. Morosini gave me
the letters he had promised, and their departure was fixed for eleven
o'clock the next day. The reader may imagine that our dinner-party
was not over gay. Marcoline was depressed, I as gloomy as a
splenetic Englishman, and between us we made the feast more like a
funeral than a meeting of friends.
I will not attempt to describe the night I passed with my charmer.
She asked me again and again how I could be my own executioner; but I
could not answer, for I did not know. But how often have I done
things which caused me pain, but to which I was impelled by some
occult force it was my whim not to resist.
In the morning, when I had put on my boots and spurs, and told
Clairmont not to be uneasy if I did not return that night, Marcoline
and I drove to the ambassadors' residence. We breakfasted together,
silently enough, for Marcoline had tears in her eyes, and everyone
knowing my noble conduct towards her respected her natural grief.
After breakfast we set out, I sitting in the forepart of the
carriage, facing Marcoline and Dame Veneranda, who would have made me
laugh under any other circumstances, her astonishment at finding
herself in a more gorgeous carriage than the ambassador's was so
great. She expatiated on the elegance and comfort of the equipage,
and amused us by saying that her master was quite right in saying
that the people would take her for the ambassadress. But in spite of
this piece of comedy, Marcoline and I were sad all the way. M.
Querini, who did not like night travelling, made us stop at Pont-
Boivoisin, at nine o'clock, and after a bad supper everyone went to
bed to be ready to start at daybreak. Marcoline was to sleep with
Veneranda, so I accompanied her, and the worthy old woman went to bed
without any ceremony, lying so close to the wall that there was room
for two more; but after Marcoline had got into bed I sat down on a
chair, and placing my head beside hers on the pillow we mingled our
sobs and tears all night.
When Veneranda, who had slept soundly, awoke, she was much astonished
to see me still in the same position. She was a great devotee, but
women's piety easily gives place to pity, and she had moved to the
furthest extremity of the bed with the intention of giving me another
night of love. But my melancholy prevented my profiting by her
I had ordered a saddle horse to be ready for me in the morning. We
took a hasty cup of coffee and bade each other mutual farewells. I
placed Marcoline in the carriage, gave her a last embrace, and waited
for the crack of the postillion's whip to gallop back to Lyons. I
tore along like a madman, for I felt as if I should like to send the
horse to the ground and kill myself. But death never comes to him
that desires it, save in the fable of the worthy Lafontaine. In six
hours I had accomplished the eighteen leagues between Pont-Boivoisin
and Lyons, only stopping to change horses. I tore off my clothes and
threw myself on the bed, where thirty hours before I had enjoyed all
the delights of love. I hoped that the bliss I had lost would return
to me in my dreams. However, I slept profoundly, and did not wake
till eight o'clock. I had been asleep about nineteen hours.
I rang for Clairmont, and told him to bring up my breakfast, which I
devoured eagerly. When my stomach was restored in this manner I fell
asleep again, and did not get up till the next morning, feeling quite
well, and as if I could support life a little longer.
Three days after Marcoline's departure I bought a comfortable two-
wheeled carriage with patent springs, and sent my trunks to Paris by
the diligence. I kept a portmanteau containing the merest
necessaries, for I meant to travel in a dressing-gown and night-cap,
and keep to myself all the way to Paris. I intended this as a sort
of homage to Marcoline, but I reckoned without my host.
I was putting my jewellery together in a casket when Clairmont
announced a tradesman and his daughter, a pretty girl whom I had
remarked at dinner, for since the departure of my fair Venetian I had
dined at the table-d'hote by way of distraction.
I shut up my jewels and asked them to come in, and the father
addressed me politely, saying,--
"Sir, I have come to ask you to do me a favour which will cost you
but little, while it will be of immense service to my daughter and
"What can I do for you? I am leaving Lyons at day-break to-morrow."
"I know it, for you said so at dinner; but we shall be ready at any
hour. Be kind enough to give my daughter a seat in your carriage. I
will, of course, pay for a third horse, and will ride post."
"You cannot have seen the carriage."
"Excuse me, I have done so. It is, I know, only meant for one, but
she could easily squeeze into it. I know I am troubling you, but if
you were aware of the convenience it would be to me I am sure you
would not refuse. All the places in the diligence are taken up to
next week, and if I don't get to Paris in six days I might as well
stay away altogether. If I were a rich man I would post, but that
would cost four hundred francs, and I cannot afford to spend so much.
The only course open to me is to leave by the diligence tomorrow, and
to have myself and my daughter bound to the roof. You see, sir, the
idea makes her weep, and I don't like it much better myself."
I looked attentively at the girl, and found her too pretty for me to
keep within bounds if I travelled alone with her. I was sad, and the
torment I had endured in parting from Marcoline had made me resolve
to avoid all occasions which might have similar results. I thought
this resolve necessary for my peace of mind.
"This girl," I said to myself, "may be so charming that I should fall
in love with her if I yield to the father's request, and I do not
wish for any such result."
I turned to the father and said,--
"I sympathize with you sincerely; but I really don't see what I can
do for you without causing myself the greatest inconvenience."
"Perhaps you think that I shall not be able to ride so many posts in
succession, but you needn't be afraid on that score:"
"The horse might give in; you might have a fall, and I know that I
should feel obliged to stop, and I am in a hurry. If that reason
does not strike you as a cogent one, I am sorry, for to me it appears
"Let us run the risk, sir, at all events."
"There is a still greater risk of which I can tell you nothing. In
brief, sir, you ask what is impossible."
"In Heaven's name, sir," said the girl, with a voice and a look that
would have pierced a heart of stone, "rescue me from that dreadful
journey on the roof of the diligence! The very idea makes me
shudder; I should be afraid of falling off all the way; besides,
there is something mean in travelling that way. Do but grant me this
favour, and I will sit at your feet so as not to discomfort you."
"This is too much! You do not know me, mademoiselle. I am neither
cruel nor impolite, especially where your sex is concerned, though my
refusal must make you feel otherwise. If I give way you may regret
it afterwards, and I do not wish that to happen." Then, turning to
the father, I said,--
"A post-chaise costs six Louis. Here they are; take them. I will
put off my departure for a few hours, if necessary, to answer for the
chaise, supposing you are not known here, and an extra horse will
cost four Louis take them. As to the rest, you would have spent as
much in taking two places in the diligence."
"You are very kind, sir, but I cannot accept your gift. I am not
worthy of it, and I should be still less worthy if I accepted the
money. Adele, let us go. Forgive us, sir, if we have wasted half an
hour of your time. Come, my poor child."
"Wait a moment, father."
Adele begged him to wait, as her sobs almost choked her. I was
furious with everything, but having received one look from her
beautiful eyes I could not withstand her sorrow any longer, and said,
"Calm yourself, mademoiselle. It shall never be said that I remained
unmoved while beauty wept. I yield to your request, for if I did not
I should not be able to sleep all night. But I accede on one
condition," I added, turning to her father, "and that is that you sit
at the back of the carriage."
"Certainly; but what is to become of your servant?"
"He will ride on in front. Everything is settled. Go to bed now,
and be ready to start at six o'clock."
"Certainly, but you will allow me to pay for the extra horse?"
"You shall pay nothing at all; it would be a shame if I received any
money from you. You have told me you are poor, and poverty is no
dishonour; well, I may tell you that I am rich, and riches are no
honour save when they are used in doing good. Therefore, as I said,
I will pay for all."
"Very good, but I will pay for the extra horse in the carriage."
"Certainly not, and let us have no bargaining, please; it is time to
go to bed. I will put you down at Paris without the journey costing
you a farthing, and then if you like you may thank me; these are the
only conditions on which I will take you. Look! Mdlle. Adele is
laughing, that's reward enough for me."
"I am laughing for joy at having escaped that dreadful diligence
"I see, but I hope you will not weep in my carriage, for all sadness
is an abomination to me."
I went, to bed, resolved to struggle against my fate no longer. I
saw that I could not withstand the tempting charms of this new
beauty, and I determined that everything should be over in a couple
of days. Adele had beautiful blue eyes, a complexion wherein were
mingled the lily and the rose, a small mouth, excellent teeth, a
figure still slender but full of promise; here, surely, were enough
motives for a fresh fall. I fell asleep, thanking my good genius for
thus providing me with amusement on the journey.
Just before we started the father came and asked if it was all the
same to me whether we went by Burgundy or the Bourbonnais.
"Certainly. Do you prefer any particular route?"
"If I went through Nevers I might be able to collect a small
"Then we will go by the Bourbonnais."
Directly after Adele, simply but neatly dressed, came down and wished
me good day, telling me that her father was going to put a small
trunk containing their belongings at the back of the carriage.
Seeing me busy, she asked if she could help me in any way.
"No," I replied, "you had better take a seat,"
She did so, but in a timid manner, which annoyed me, because it
seemed to express that she was a dependent of mine. I told her so
gently, and made her take some coffee with me, and her shyness soon
We were just stepping into the carriage when a man came and told me
that the lamps were out of repair and would come off if something
were not done to them. He offered to put them into good repair in
the course of an hour. I was in a terrible rage, and called
Clairmont and began to scold him, but he said that the lamps were all
right a short while ago, and that the man must have put them out of
order that he might have the task of repairing them.
He had hit it off exactly. I had heard of the trick before, and I
called out to the man; and on his answering me rather impudently, I
began to kick him, with my pistol in my hand. He ran off swearing,
and the noise brought up the landlord and five or six of his people.
Everybody said I was in the right, but all the same I had to waste
two hours as it would not have been prudent to travel without lamps.
Another lamp-maker was summoned; he looked at the damage, and laughed
at the rascally trick his fellow-tradesman had played me.
"Can I imprison the rascal?" I said to the landlord. "I should like
to have the satisfaction of doing so, were it to cost me two Louis."
"Two Louis! Your honour shall be attended to in a moment."
I was in a dreadful rage, and did not notice Adele, who was quite
afraid of me. A police official came up to take my information, and
examine witnesses, and to draw up the case.
"How much is your time worth, sir?" he asked me.
With these words I slid two louis into his hand, and he immediately
wrote down a fine of twenty louis against the lamp-maker, and then
went his way, saying,--
"Your man will be in prison in the next ten minutes." I breathed
again at the prospect of vengeance. I then begged Mdlle. Adele's
pardon, who asked mine in her turn, not knowing how I had offended
her. This might have led to some affectionate passages, but her
father came in saying that the rascal was in prison, and that
everyone said I was right.
"I am perfectly ready to swear that he did the damage," said he.
"You saw him, did you?"
"No, but that's of no consequence, as everybody is sure he did it."
This piece of simplicity restored my good temper completely, and I
began to ask Moreau, as he called himself, several questions. He
told me he was a widower, that Adele was his only child, that he was
going to set up in business at Louviers, and so on.
In the course of an hour the farce turned into a tragedy, in the
following manner. Two women, one of them with a baby at her breast,
and followed by four brats, all of whom might have been put under a
bushel measure, came before me, and falling on their knees made me
guess the reason of this pitiful sight. They were the wife, the
mother, and the children of the delinquent.
My heart was soon moved with pity for them, for my vengeance had been
complete, and I did not harbour resentment; but the wife almost put
me in a fury again by saying that her husband was an innocent man,
and that they who had accused him were rascals.
The mother, seeing the storm ready to burst, attacked me more
adroitly, admitting that her son might be guilty, but that he must
have been driven to it by misery, as he had got no bread wherewith to
feed his children. She added:
"My good sir, take pity on us, for he is our only support. Do a good
deed and set him free, for he would stay in prison all his days
unless we sold our beds to pay you."
"My worthy woman, I forgive him completely. Hand this document to
the police magistrate and all will be well."
At the same time I gave her a louis and told her to go, not wishing
to be troubled with her thanks. A few moments after, the official
came to get my signature for the man's release, and I had to pay him
the legal costs. My lamps cost twelve francs to mend, and at nine
o'clock I started, having spent four or five louis for nothing.
Adele was obliged to sit between my legs, but she was ill at ease.
I told her to sit further back, but as she would have had to lean on
me, I did not urge her; it would have been rather a dangerous
situation to begin with. Moreau sat at the back of the carriage,
Clairmont went on in front, and we were thus neck and neck, or rather
neck and back, the whole way.
We got down to change horses, and as we were getting into the
carriage again Adele had to lift her leg, and shewed me a pair of
black breeches. I have always had a horror of women with breeches,
but above all of black breeches.
"Sir," said I to her father, "your daughter has shewn me her black
"It's uncommonly lucky for her that she didn't shew you something
I liked the reply, but the cursed breeches had so offended me that I
became quite sulky. It seemed to me that such clothes were a kind of
rampart or outwork, very natural, no doubt, but I thought a young
girl should know nothing of the danger, or, at all events, pretend
ignorance if she did not possess it. As I could neither scold her
nor overcome my bad temper, I contented myself with being polite, but
I did not speak again till we got to St. Simphorien, unless it was to
ask her to sit more comfortably.
When we got to St. Simphorien I told Clairmont to go on in front and
order us a good supper at Roanne, and to sleep there. When we were
about half-way Adele told me that she must be a trouble to me, as I
was not so gay as I had been. I assured her that it was not so, and
that I only kept silence that she might be able to rest.
"You are very kind," she answered, "but it is quite a mistake for you
to think that you would disturb me by talking. Allow me to tell you
that you are concealing the real cause of your silence."
"Do you know the real cause?"
"Yes, I think I do."
"Well, what is it?"
"You have changed since you saw my breeches."
"You are right, this black attire has clothed my soul with gloom."
"I am very sorry, but you must allow that in the first place I was
not to suppose that you were going to see my breeches, and in the
second place that I could not be aware that the colour would be
distasteful to you."
"True again, but as I chanced to see the articles you must forgive my
disgust. This black has filled my soul with funereal images, just as
white would have cheered me. Do you always wear those dreadful
"I am wearing them for the first time to-day."
"Then you must allow that you have committed an unbecoming action."
"Yes, what would you have said if I had come down in petticoats this
morning? You would have pronounced them unbecoming. You are
"Forgive me, but I never heard anything so amusing. But your
comparison will not stand; everyone would have seen your petticoats,
whereas no one has any business to see my breeches."
I assented to her logic, delighted to find her capable of tearing my
sophism to pieces, but I still preserved silence.
At Roanne we had a good enough supper, and Moreau, who knew very well
that if it had not been for his daughter there would have been no
free journey and free supper for him, was delighted when I told him
that she kept me good company. I told him about our discussion on
breeches, and he pronounced his daughter to be in the wrong, laughing
pleasantly. After supper I told him that he and his daughter were to
sleep in the room in which we were sitting, while I would pass the
night in a neighbouring closet.
Just as we were starting the next morning, Clairmont told me that he
would go on in front, to see that our beds were ready, adding that as
we had lost one night it would not do much harm if we were to lose
This speech let me know that my faithful Clairmont began to feel the
need of rest, and his health was dear to me. I told him to stop at
St. Pierre le Mortier, and to take care that a good supper was ready
for us. When we were in the carriage again, Adele thanked me.
"Then you don't like night travelling?" I said.
"I shouldn't mind it if I were not afraid of going to sleep and
falling on you."
"Why, I should like it. A pretty girl like you is an agreeable
She made no reply, but I saw that she understood; my declaration was
made, but something more was wanted before I could rely on her
docility. I relapsed into silence again till we got to Varennes, and
then I said,--
"If I thought you could eat a roast fowl with as good an appetite as
mine, I would dine here."
"Try me, I will endeavour to match you."
We ate well and drank better, and by the time we started again we
were a little drunk. Adele, who was only accustomed to drink wine
two or three times a year, laughed at not being able to stand
upright, but seemed to be afraid that something would happen. I
comforted her by saying that the fumes of champagne soon evaporated;
but though she strove with all her might to keep awake, nature
conquered, and letting her pretty head fall on my breast she fell
asleep, and did not rouse herself for two hours. I treated her with
the greatest respect, though I could not resist ascertaining that the
article of clothing which had displeased me so much had entirely
While she slept I enjoyed the pleasure of gazing on the swelling
curves of her budding breast, but I restrained my ardour, as the
disappearance of the black breeches assured me that I should find her
perfectly submissive whenever I chose to make the assault. I wished,
however, that she should give herself up to me of her own free will,
or at any rate come half-way to meet me, and I knew that I had only
to smooth the path to make her do so.
When she awoke and found that she had been sleeping in my arms, her
astonishment was extreme. She apologized and begged me to forgive
her, while I thought the best way to put her at ease would be to give
her an affectionate kiss. The result was satisfactory; who does not
know the effect of a kiss given at the proper time?
As her dress was in some disorder she tried to adjust it, but we were
rather pushed for space, and by an awkward movement she uncovered her
knee. I burst out laughing and she joined me, and had the presence
of mind to say:
"I hope the black colour has given you no funereal thoughts this
"The hue of the rose, dear Adele, can only inspire me with delicious
I saw that she lowered her eyes, but in a manner that shewed she was
With this talk--and, so to speak, casting oil on the flames--we
reached Moulin, and got down for a few moments. A crowd of women
assailed us with knives and edged tools of all sorts, and I bought
the father and daughter whatever they fancied. We went on our way,
leaving the women quarrelling and fighting because some had sold
their wares and others had not.
In the evening we reached St. Pierre; but during the four hours that
had elapsed since we left Moulin we had made way, and Adele had
become quite familiar with me.
Thanks to Clairmont, who had arrived two hours before, an excellent
supper awaited us. We supped in a large room, where two great white
beds stood ready to receive us.
I told Moreau that he and his daughter should sleep in one bed, and I
in the other; but he replied that I and Adele could each have a bed
to ourselves, as he wanted to start for Nevers directly after supper,
so as to be able to catch-his debtor at daybreak, and to rejoin us
when we got there the following day.
"If you had told me before, we would have gone on to Nevers and slept
"You are too kind. I mean to ride the three and a half stages. The
riding will do me good, and I like it. I leave my daughter in your
care. She will not be so near you as in the carriage."
"Oh, we will be very discreet, you may be sure!"
After his departure I told Adele to go to bed in her clothes, if she
were afraid of me.
"I shan't be offended," I added.
"It would be very wrong of me," she answered, "to give you such a
proof of my want of confidence."
She rose, went out a moment, and when she came back she locked the
door, and as soon as she was ready to slip off her last article of
clothing came and kissed me. I happened to be writing at the time,
and as she had come up on tiptoe I was surprised, though in a very
agreeable manner. She fled to her bed, saying saucily,
"You are frightened of me, I think?"
"You are wrong, but you surprised me. Come back, I want to see you
fall asleep in my arms."
"Come and see me sleep."
"Will you sleep all the time?"
"Of course I shall."
"We will see about that."
I flung the pen down, and in a moment I held her in my arms, smiling,
ardent, submissive to my desires, and only entreating me to spare
her. I did my best, and though she helped me to the best of her
ability, the first assault was a labour of Hercules. The others were
pleasanter, for it is only the first step that is painful, and when
the field had been stained with the blood of three successive
battles, we abandoned ourselves to repose. At five o'clock in the
morning Clairmont knocked, and I told him to get us some coffee. I
was obliged to get up without giving fair Adele good day, but I
promised that she should have it on the way.
When she was dressed she looked at the altar where she had offered
her first sacrifice to love, and viewed the signs of her defeat with
a sigh. She was pensive for some time, but when we were in the
carriage again her gaiety returned, and in our mutual transports we
forgot to grieve over our approaching parting.
We found Moreau at Nevers; he was in a great state because he could
not get his money before noon. He dared not ask me to wait for him,
but I said that we would have a good dinner and start when the money
While dinner was being prepared we shut ourselves up in a room to
avoid the crowd of women who pestered us to buy a thousand trifles,
and at two o'clock we started, Moreau having got his money. We got
to Cosne at twilight, and though Clairmont was waiting for us at
Briane, I decided on stopping where I was, and this night proved
superior to the first. The next day we made a breakfast of the meal
which had been prepared for our supper, and we slept at
Fontainebleau, where I enjoyed Adele for the last time. In the
morning I promised to come and see her at Louviers, when I returned
from England, but I could not keep my word.
We took four hours to get from Fontainebleau to Paris, but how
quickly the time passed. I stopped the carriage near the Pont St.
Michel, opposite to a clockmaker's shop, and after looking at several
watches I gave one to Adele, and then dropped her and her father at
the corner of the Rue aux Ours. I got down at the "Hotel de
Montmorenci," not wanting to stop with Madame d'Urfe, but after
dressing I went to dine with her.
I Drive My Brother The Abbe From Paris--Madame du Rumain Recovers Her
Voice Through My Cabala--A Bad Joke--The Corticelli--I Take d'Aranda
to London My Arrival At Calais
As usual, Madame d'Urfe received me with open arms, but I was
surprised at hearing her tell Aranda to fetch the sealed letter she
had given him in the morning. I opened it, found it was dated the
same day, and contained the following:
"My genius told me at day-break that Galtinardus was starting from
Fontainebleau, and that he will come and dine with me to-day."
She chanced to be right, but I have had many similar experiences in
the course of my life-experiences which would have turned any other
man's head. I confess they have surprised me, but they have never
made me lose my reasoning powers. Men make a guess which turns out
to be correct, and they immediately claim prophetic power; but they
forgot all about the many cases in which they have been mistaken.
Six months ago I was silly enough to bet that a bitch would have a
litter of five bitch pups on a certain day, and I won. Everyone
thought it a marvel except myself, for if I had chanced to lose I
should have been the first to laugh.
I naturally expressed my admiration for Madame d'Urfe's genius, and
shared her joy in finding herself so well during her pregnancy. The
worthy lunatic had given orders that she was not at home to her usual
callers, in expectation of my arrival, and so we spent the rest of
the day together, consulting how we could make Aranda go to London of
his own free will; and as I did not in the least know how it was to
be done, the replies of the oracle were very obscure. Madame d'Urfe
had such a strong dislike to bidding him go, that I could not presume
on her obedience to that extent, and I had to rack my brains to find
out some way of making the little man ask to be taken to London as a
I went to the Comedie Italienne, where I found Madame du Rumain, who
seemed glad to see me back in Paris again.
"I want to consult the oracle on a matter of the greatest
importance," said she, "and I hope you will come and see me
I, of course, promised to do so.
I did not care for the performance, and should have left the theatre
if I had not wanted to see the ballet, though I could not guess the
peculiar interest it would have for me. What was my surprise to see
the Corticelli amongst the dancers. I thought I would like to speak
to her, not for any amorous reasons, but because I felt curious to
hear her adventures. As I came out I met the worthy Baletti, who
told me he had left the stage and was living on an annuity. I asked
him about the Corticelli, and he gave me her address, telling me that
she was in a poor way.
I went to sup with my brother and his wife, who were delighted to see
me, and told me that I had come just in time to use a little gentle
persuasion on our friend the abbe, of whom they had got tired.
"Where is he?"
"You will see him before long, for it is near supper-time; and as
eating and drinking are the chief concerns of his life, he will not
fail to put in an appearance."
"What has he done?"
"Everything that a good-for-nothing can do; but I hear him coming,
and I will tell you all about it in his presence."
The abbe was astonished to see me, and began a polite speech,
although I did not favour him with so much as a look. Then he asked
me what I had against him.
"All that an honest man can have against a monster. I have read the
letter you wrote to Possano, in which I am styled a cheat, a spy, a
coiner, and a poisoner. What does the abbe think of that?"
He sat down to table without a word, and my brother began as follows:
"When this fine gentleman first came here, my wife and I gave him a
most cordial welcome. I allowed him a nice room, and told him to
look upon my house as his own. Possibly with the idea of interesting
us in his favour, he began by saying that you were the greatest
rascal in the world. To prove it he told us how he had carried off a
girl from Venice with the idea of marrying her, and went to you at
Genoa as he was in great necessity. He confesses that you rescued
him from his misery, but he says that you traitorously took
possession of the girl, associating her with two other mistresses you
had at that time. In fine, he says that you lay with her before his
eyes, and that you drove him from Marseilles that you might be able
to enjoy her with greater freedom.
"He finished his story by saying that as he could not go back to
Venice, he needed our help till he could find some means of living on
his talents or through his profession as a priest. I asked him what
his talents were, and he said he could teach Italian; but as he
speaks it vilely, and doesn't know a word of French, we laughed at
him. We were therefore reduced to seeing what we could do for him in
his character of priest, and the very next day my wife spoke to M. de
Sauci, the ecclesiastical commissioner, begging him to give my
brother an introduction to the Archbishop of Paris, who might give
him something that might lead to his obtaining a good benefice. He
would have to go to our parish church, and I spoke to the rector of
St. Sauveur, who promised to let him say mass, for which he would
receive the usual sum of twelve sols. This was a very good
beginning, and might have led to something worth having; but when we
told the worthy abbe of our success, he got into a rage, saying that
he was not the man to say mass for twelve sols, nor to toady the
archbishop in the hope of being taken into his service. No, he was
not going to be in anyone's service. We concealed our indignation,
but for the three weeks he has been here he has turned everything
upside down. My wife's maid left us yesterday, to our great
annoyance, because of him; and the cook says she will go if he
remains, as he is always bothering her in the kitchen. We are
therefore resolved that he shall go, for his society is intolerable
to us. I am delighted to have you here, as I think we ought to be
able to drive him away between us, and the sooner the better."
"Nothing easier," said I; "if he likes to stay in Paris, let him do
so. You can send off his rags to some furnished apartments, and
serve him with a police order not to put foot in your house again.
On the other hand if he wants to go away, let him say where, and I
will pay his journey-money this evening."
"Nothing could be more generous. What do you say, abbe?"
"I say that this is the way in which he drove me from Marseilles.
What intolerable violence!"
"Give God thanks, monster, that instead of thrashing you within an
inch of your life as you deserve, I am going to give you some money!
You thought you would get me hanged at Lyons, did you?"
"Where is Marcoline ?"
"What is that to you? Make haste and choose between Rome and Paris,
and remember that if you choose Paris you will have nothing to live
"Then I will go to Rome."
"Good! The journey only costs twenty louis, but I will give you
"Hand them over."
"Patience. Give me pens, ink and paper."
"What are you going to write?"
"Bills of exchange on Lyons, Turin, Genoa, Florence, and Rome. Your
place will be paid as far as Lyons, and there you will be able to get
five louis, and the same sum in the other towns, but as long as you
stay in Paris not one single farthing will I give you. I am staying
at the 'Hotel Montmorenci;' that's all you need know about me."
I then bade farewell to my brother and his wife, telling them that we
should meet again. Checco, as we called my brother, told me he would
send on the abbe's trunk the day following, and I bade him do so by
The next day trunk and abbe came together. I did not even look at
him, but after I had seen that a room had been assigned to him, I
called out to the landlord that I would be answerable for the abbe's
board and lodging for three days, and not a moment more. The abbe
tried to speak to me, but I sternly declined to have anything to say
to him, strictly forbidding Clairmont to admit him to my apartments.
When I went to Madame du Rumain's, the porter said,--
"Sir, everybody is still asleep, but who are you? I have
"I am the Chevalier de Seingalt."
"Kindly come into my lodge, and amuse yourself with my niece. I will
soon be with you."
I went in, and found a neatly-dressed and charming girl.
"Mademoiselle," said I, "your uncle has told me to come and amuse
myself with you."
"He is a rascal, for he consulted neither of us."
"Yes, but he knew well enough that there could be no doubt about my
opinion after I had seen you."
"You are very flattering, sir, but I know the value of compliments."
"Yes, I suppose that you often get them, and you well deserve them
The conversation, as well as the pretty eyes of the niece, began to
interest me, but fortunately the uncle put an end to it by begging me
to follow him. He took me to the maid's room, and I found her
putting on a petticoat, and grumbling the while.
"What is the matter, my pretty maid? You don't seem to be in a good
"You would have done better to come at noon; it is not nine o'clock
yet, and madame did not come home till three o'clock this morning. I
am just going to wake her, and I am sorry for her."
I was taken into the room directly, and though her eyes were half
closed she thanked me for awaking her, while I apologized for having
disturbed her sleep.
"Raton," said she, "give us the writing materials, and go away.
Don't come till I call you, and if anyone asks for me, I am asleep."
"Very good, madam, and I will go to sleep also."
"My dear M. Casanova, how is it that the oracle has deceived us?
M. du Rumain is still alive, and he ought to have died six months
ago. It is true that he is not well, but we will not go into all
that again. The really important question is this: You know that
music is my favourite pursuit, and that my voice is famous for its
strength and compass; well, I have comrletely lost it. I have not
sung a note for three months. The doctors have stuffed me with
remedies which have had no effect: It makes me very unhappy, for
singing was the one thing that made me cling to life. I entreat you
to ask the oracle how I can recover my voice. How delighted I should
be if I could sing by to-morrow. I have a great many people coming
here, and I should enjoy the general astonishment. If the oracle
wills it I am sure that it might be so, for I have a very strong
chest. That is my question; it is a long one, but so much the