Part 52 out of 70
the day before, and left them to talk together to their heart's
content; but to prevent their asking me to give them another dinner I
said that I hoped chance would bring about such another meeting on
At six o'clock, after my guests had left me, I dressed and went to
Vauxhaull, where I met a French officer named Malingan, to whom I had
given some money at Aix-la-Chapelle. He said he would like to speak
to me, so I gave him my name and address. I also met a well-known
character, the Chevalier Goudar, who talked to me about gaming and
women. Malingan introduced me to an individual who he said might be
very useful to me in London. He was a man of forty, and styled
himself son of the late Theodore, the pretender to the throne of
Corsica, who had died miserably in London fourteen years before,
after having been imprisoned for debt for seven years. I should have
done better if I had never gone to Vauxhall that evening.
The entrance-fee at Vauxhall was half the sum charged at Ranelagh,
but in spite of that the amusements were of the most varied kinds.
There was good fare, music, walks in solitary alleys, thousands of
lamps, and a crowd of London beauties, both high and low.
In the midst of all these pleasures I was dull, because I had no girl
to share my abode or my good table, and make it dear to me. I had
been in London for six weeks; ana in no other place had I been alone
for so long.
My house seemed intended for keeping a mistress with all decency, and
as I had the virtue of constancy a mistress was all I wanted to make
me happy. But how was I to find a woman who should be the equal of
those women I had loved before? I had already seen half a hundred of
girls, whom the town pronounced to be pretty, and who did not strike
me as even passable. I thought the matter over continually, and at
last an odd idea struck me.
I called the old housekeeper, and told her by the servant, who acted
as my interpreter, that I wanted to let the second or third floor for
the sake of company; and although I was at perfect liberty to do what
I liked with the house, I would give her half-a-guinea a week extra.
Forthwith I ordered her to affix the following bill to the window:
Second or third floor to be let, furnished, to a young lady speaking
English and French, who receives no visitors, either by day or night.
The old Englishwoman, who had seen something of the world, began to
laugh so violently when the document was translated to her that I
thought she would have choked.
"What are you laughing at, my worthy woman?"
"Because this notice is a laughing matter."
"I suppose you think I shall have no applications?"
"Not at all, the doorstep will be crowded from morn to night, but I
shall leave it all to Fanny. Only tell me how much to ask."
"I will arrange about the rent in my interview with the young lady.
I don't think I shall have so many enquiries, for the young lady is
to speak French and English, and also to be respectable. She must
not receive any visits, not even from her father and mother, if she
"But there will be a mob in front of the house reading the notice."
"All the better. Nothing is the worse for being a little odd."
It happened just as the old woman had foretold; as soon as the notice
was up, everybody stopped to read it, made various comments, and
passed on. On the second day after it was up, my Negro told me that
my notice was printed in full in the St. James's Chronicle, with some
amusing remarks. I had the paper brought up to me, and Fanny
translated it. It ran as follows:
"The landlord of the second and third floors probably occupies the
first floor himself. He must be a man of the world and of good
taste, for he wants a young and pretty lodger; and as he forbids her
to receive visits, he will have to keep her company himself."
"The landlord should take care lest he become his own dupe, for it is
very likely that the pretty lodger would only take the room to sleep
in, and possibly only to sleep in now and then; and if she chose she
would have a perfect right to refuse to receive the proprietor's
These sensible remarks delighted me, for after reading them I felt
Such matters as these give their chief interest to the English
newspapers. They are allowed to gossip about everything, and the
writers have the knack of making the merest trifles seem amusing.
Happy is the nation where anything may be written and anything said!
Lord Pembroke was the first to come and congratulate me on my idea,
and he was succeeded by Martinelli; but he expressed some fears as to
the possible consequences, "for," said he, "there are plenty of women
in London who would come and lodge with you to be your ruin."
"In that case," I answered, "it would be a case of Greek meeting
Greek; however, we shall see. If I am taken in, people will have the
fullest right to laugh at me, for I have been warned."
I will not trouble my readers with an account of the hundred women
who came in the first ten days, when I refused on one pretext or
another, though some of them were not wanting in grace and beauty.
But one day, when I was at dinner, I received a visit from a girl of
from twenty to twenty-four years, simply but elegantly dressed; her
features were sweet and gracious, though somewhat grave, her
complexion pale, and her hair black. She gave me a bow which I had
to rise to return, and as I remained standing she politely begged me
not to put myself out, but to continue my dinner. I begged her to be
seated and to take dessert, but she refused with an air of modesty
which delighted me.
This fair lady said, not in French, but in Italian worthy of a
Sinnese, its purity was so perfect, that she hoped I would let her
have a room on the third floor, and that she would gladly submit to
all my conditions.
"You may only make use of one room if you like, but all the floor
will belong to you."
"Although the notice says the rooms will be let cheaply, I shall not
be able to afford more than one room. Two shillings a week is all I
"That's exactly what I want for the whole suite of rooms; so you see
you can use them all. My maid will wait on you, get you whatever
food you may require, and wash your linen as well. You can also
employ her to do your commissions, so that you need not go out for
"Then I will dismiss my maid," she said; "she robs me of little, it
is true, but still too much for my small means. I will tell your
maid what food to buy for me every day, and she shall have six sots a
week for her pains."
"That will be ample. I should advise you to apply to my cook's wife,
who will get your dinner and supper for you as cheaply as you could
"I hardly think so, for I am ashamed to tell you how little I spend."
"Even if you only spend two sols a day, she will give you two sols'
worth. All the same I advise you to be content with what you get
from the kitchen, without troubling about the price, for I usually
have provision made for four, though I dine alone, and the rest is
the cook's perquisite. I merely advise you to the best of my
ability, and I hope you will not be offended at my interest in your
"Really, sir, you are too generous."
"Wait a moment, and you will see how everything will be settled
I told Clairmont to order up the maid and the cook's wife, and I said
to the latter:
"For how much could you provide dinner and supper for this young lady
who is not rich, and only wants to eat to live?"
"I can do it very cheaply; for you usually eat alone, and have enough
"Very good; then I hope you will treat her very well for the sum she
"I can only afford five sols a day."
"That will do nicely."
I gave orders that the bill should be taken down directly, and that
the young lady's room should be made comfortable. When the maid and
the cook's wife had left the room, the young lady told me that she
should only go out on Sundays to hear mass at the Bavarian
ambassador's chapel, and once a month to a person who gave her three
guineas to support her.
"You can go out when you like," said I, "and without rendering an
account to anybody of your movements."
She begged me not to introduce anyone to her, and to tell the, porter
to deny her to anyone who might come to the door to make enquiries.
I promised that her wishes should be respected, and she went away
saying that she was going for her trunk.
I immediately ordered my household to treat her with the utmost
respect. The old housekeeper told me that she had paid the first
week in advance, taking a receipt, and had gone, as she had come, in
a sedan-chair. Then the worthy old woman made free to tell me to be
on my guard.
"Against what? If I fall in love with her, so much the better; that
is just what I want. What name did she give you?"
"Mistress Pauline. She was quite pale when she came, and she went
away covered with blushes."
I was delighted to hear it. I did not want a woman merely to satisfy
my natural desires, for such can be found easily enough; I wished for
some one whom I could love. I expected beauty, both of the body and
the soul; and my love increased with the difficulties and obstacles I
saw before me. As to failure, I confess I did not give it a moment's
thought, for there is not a woman in the world who can resist constant
and loving attentions, especially when her lover is ready to
make great sacrifices.
When I got back from the theatre in the evening the maid told me that
the lady had chosen a modest closet at the back, which was only
suitable for a servant. She had had a moderate supper, only drinking
water, and had begged the cook's wife only to send her up soup and
one dish, to which the woman had replied that she must take what was
served, and what she did not eat would do for the servant.
"When she finished she shut herself up to write, and wished me good
evening with much politeness."
"What is she going to take in the morning?"
"I asked her, and she said she would only take a little bread."
"Then you had better tell her that it is the custom of the house for
the cook to serve everybody with coffee, chocolate, or tea, according
to taste, in the morning, and that I shall be pained if she refuses
to fare like the rest of us. But don't tell her I said so. Here's a
crown for you, and you shall have one every week if you will wait
upon and care for her properly."
Before going to bed I wrote her a polite note, begging her to leave
the closet. She did so, but she went into another back room, and
consented to take coffee for her breakfast. Wishing to make her dine
and sup with me, I was dressing myself, and preparing to proffer my
request in such a way as to make a refusal impossible, when young
Cornelis was announced. I received him smilingly, and thanked him
for the first visit he had paid me in the course of six weeks.
"Mamma hasn't allowed me to come. I have tried to do so a score of
times without her leave. Read this letter, and you will find
something which will surprise you."
I opened the letter and read as follows:
"Yesterday a bailiff waited for my door to be opened and slipped in
and arrested me. I was obliged to go with him, and I am now in the
sponging-house, and if I can't get bail by to-day he will take me to
Kings Bench Prison. The bail I require is to the amount of two
hundred pounds, to pay a bill which has fallen due. Dear friend,
come and succour me or else my other creditors will get wind of my
imprisonment and I shall be ruined. You surely will not allow that
to happen, if not for my sake at least for the sake of my innocent
children. You cannot bail me yourself, but you can easily get a
householder to do so. If you have the time come and call on me, and
I will shew you that I could not help doing the bill, otherwise I
could not have given my last ball, as the whole of my plate and china
I felt angry with the impudent woman who had hitherto paid me so
little attention, and I wrote that I could only pity her, and that I
had no time to go and see her, and that I should be ashamed to ask
anyone to bail her out.
When young Cornelis had gone away in a melancholy mood, I told
Clairmont to ask Pauline if she would allow me to bid her a good day.
She sent word that I was at liberty to do so, and on going upstairs
to her room I found her sitting at a table on which were several
Some linen on a chest of drawers did not give me the idea that she
was very poor.
"I am immensely obliged," said she, "for all your goodness to me."
"Say nothing of that, madam; it is I who have need of your goodness."
"What can I do to shew my gratitude?"
"Could you trouble yourself to take your meals with me? When I am
alone I eat like an ogre, and my health suffers. If you do not feel
inclined to grant me that favour, do not hesitate to refuse, and I
assure you you shall fare just as well as if you had acceded to my
"I shall be delighted to dine and sup with you; sir, whenever you are
alone and you like to send for me. Nevertheless, I am not sure that
my society will amuse you."
"Very good, I am grateful to you, and I promise you you shall never
repent of your kindness. I will do my best to amuse you, and I hope
I shall succeed, for you have inspired me with the liveliest
interest. We will dine at one to-day."
I did not sit down or look at her books, or even ask her if she had
spent a good night. The only thing I noted was that she had looked
pale and careworn when I came in, and when I went out her cheeks were
the colour of the rose.
I went for a walk in the park, feeling quite taken with this charming
woman, and resolved to make her love me, for I did not want to owe
anything to gratitude. I felt curious to know where she came from,
and suspected she was an Italian; but I determined to ask her no
questions for fear of offending her.
When I got home Pauline came down of her own free will, and I was
delighted with this, which I took for a good omen. As we had half an
hour before us, I asked her how she found her health.
"Nature," she replied, "has favoured me with such a good constitution
that I have never had the least sickness in my life, except on the
"You have made a voyage, then."
"I must have done so to come to England."
"You might be an Englishwoman."
"Yes, for the English language has been familiar to me from my
We were seated on a sofa, and on the table in front of us was a
chess-board. Pauline toyed with the pawns, and I asked her if she
could play chess.
"Yes, and pretty well too from what they tell me."
"Then we will have a game together; my blunders will amuse you."
We began, and in four moves I was checkmated. She laughed, and I
admired her play. We began again, and I was checkmated in five
moves. My agreeable guest laughed heartily, and while she laughed I
became intoxicated with love, watching the play of her features, her
exquisite teeth, and her happy expression. We began another game,
Pauline played carelessly, and I placed her in a difficult position.
"I think you may conquer me," said she.
"What happiness for me!"
The servant came in to tell us that dinner was ready.
"Interruptions are often extremely inconvenient," said I, as I
offered her my arm, feeling quite sure that she had not lost the
significance of my last words, for women find a meaning for
We were just sitting down to table when Clairmont announced my
daughter and Madame Rancour.
"Tell them that I am at dinner, and that I shall not be disengaged
till three o'clock."
Just as my man was leaving the room to carry back my answer, Sophie
rushed in and knelt before me, choking with sobs.
This was too much for me, and raising her I took her on my knees,
saying I knew what she had come for, and that for love of her I would
Passing from grief to joy the dear child kissed me, calling me her
father, and at last made me weep myself.
"Dine with us, dear Sophie," said I, "I shall be the more likely to
do what you wish."
She ran from my arms to embrace Pauline, who was weeping out of
sympathy, and we all dined happily together. Sophie begged me to
give Madame Rancour some dinner.
"It shall be so if you please, but only for your sake, for that woman
Rancour deserves that I should leave her standing at the door to
punish her for her impertinence to me when I came to London."
The child amused us in an astonishing way all dinnertime, Pauline
keeping her ears open and not saying a word, so surprised was she to
hear a child of her age talk in a way that would have excited
attention in a woman of twenty. Although perfectly respectful she
condemned her mother's conduct, and said that she was unfortunate in
being obliged to give her a blind obedience.
"I would wager that you don't love her much."
"I respect, but I cannot love her, for I am always afraid. I never
see her without fearing her."
"Why do you weep, then, at her fate?"
"I pity her, and her family still more, and the expressions she used
in sending me to you were very affecting."
"What were these expressions?"
"'Go,' said she, 'kneel before him, for you and you alone can soften
"Then you knelt before me because your mother told you to do so."
"Yes, for if I had followed my own inclination I should have rushed
to your arms."
"You answer well. But are you sure of persuading me?"
"No, for one can never be sure of anything; but I have good hopes of
success, remembering what you told me at the Hague. My mother told
me that I was only three then, but I know I was five. She it was who
told me not to look at you when I spoke to you, but fortunately you
made her remove her prohibition. Everybody says that you are my
father, and at the Hague she told me so herself; but here she is
always dinning it into my ears that I am the daughter of M. de
"But, Sophie dear, your mother does wrong in making you a bastard
when you are the legitimate daughter of the dancer Pompeati, who
killed himself at Vienna."
"Then I am not your daughter?"
"Clearly, for you cannot have two fathers, can you?"
"But how is it that I am your image?"
"It's a mere chance."
"You deprive me of a dream which has made me happy."
Pauline said nothing, but covered her with kisses, which Sophie
returned effusively. She asked me if the lady was my wife, and on my
replying in the affirmative she called Pauline her "dear mamma,"
which made "dear mamma" laugh merrily.
When the dessert was served I drew four fifty-pound notes out of my
pocket-book, and giving them to Sophie told her that she might hand
them over to her mother if she liked, but that the present was for
her and not for her mother.
"If you give her the money," I said, "she will be able to sleep to-
night in the fine house where she gave me such a poor reception."
"It makes me unhappy to think of it, but you must forgive her."
"Yes, Sophie; but out of love for you."
"Write to her to the effect that it is to me you give the money, not
to her; I dare not tell her so myself."
"I could not do that, my dear; it would be insulting her in her
affliction. Do you understand that?"
"Yes, quite well."
"You may tell her that whenever she sends you to dine or sup with me,
she will please me very much."
"But you can write that down without wounding her, can you not? Do
so, I entreat you. Dear mamma," said she, addressing Pauline, "ask
papa to do so, and then I will come and dine with you sometimes."
Pauline laughed with all her heart as she addressed me as husband,
and begged me to write the desired epistle. The effect on the mother
could only let her know how much I loved her daughter, and would
consequently increase her love for her child. I gave in, saying that
I could not refuse anything to the adorable woman who had honoured me
with the name of husband. Sophie kissed us, and went away in a happy
"It's a long time since I have laughed so much," said Pauline, "and I
don't think I have ever had such an agreeable meal. That child is a
perfect treasure. She is unhappy, poor little girl, but she would
not be so if I were her mother."
I then told her of the true relationship between Sophie and myself,
and the reasons I had for despising her mother.
"I wonder what she will say when Sophie tells her that she found you
at table with your wife."
"She won't believe it, as she knows my horror for the sacrament of
"How is that?"
"I hate it because it is the grave of love."
As she said this Pauline sighed, and lowering her eyes changed the
conversation. She asked me how long I intended to stay in London and
when I had replied, "Nine or ten months," I felt myself entitled to
ask her the same question.
"I really can't say," she answered, "my return to my country depends
on my getting a letter."
"May I ask you what country you come from?"
"I see I shall soon have no secrets from you, but let me have a
little time. I have only made your acquaintance to-day, and in a
manner which makes me have a very high opinion of you."
"I shall try my best to deserve the good opinions you have conceived
of my character."
"You have shewn yourself to me in a thoroughly estimable light."
"Give me your esteem, I desire it earnestly, but don't say anything
of respect, for that seems to shut out friendship; I aspire to yours,
and I warn you that I shall do my best to gain it."
"I have no doubt you are very clever in that way, but you are
generous too, and I hope you will spare me. If the friendship
between us became too ardent, a parting would be dreadful, and we may
be parted at any moment, indeed I ought to be looking forward to it."
Our dialogue was getting rather sentimental, and with that ease which
is only acquired in the best society, Pauline turned it to other
topics, and soon asked me to allow her to go upstairs. I would have
gladly spent the whole day with her, for I have never met a woman
whose manners were so distinguished and at the same time so pleasant.
When she left me I felt a sort of void, and went to see Madame
Binetti, who asked me for news of Pembroke. She was in a rage with
"He is a detestable fellow," said she; "he would like to have a fresh
wife every day! What do you think of such conduct?"
"I envy him his happiness."
"He enjoys it because all women are such fools. He caught me through
meeting me at your house; he would never have done so otherwise.
What are you laughing at?"
"Because if he has caught you, you have also caught him; you are
"You don't know what you are talking about."
I came home at eight o'clock, and as soon as Fanny had told Pauline
that I had returned she came downstairs. I fancied she was trying to
captivate me by her attentions, and as the prospect was quite
agreeable to me I thought we should come to an understanding before
Supper was brought in and we stayed at table till midnight, talking
about trifles, but so pleasantly that the time passed away very
quickly. When she left me she wished me good night, and said my
conversation had made her forget her sorrows.
Pembroke came next morning to ask me to give him breakfast, and
congratulated me on the disappearance of the bill from my window.
"I should very much like to see your boarder," said he.
"I daresay, my lord, but I can't gratify your curiosity just now, for
the lady likes to be alone, and only puts up with my company because
she can't help it."
He did not insist, and to turn the conversation I told him that
Madame Binetti was furious with him for his inconstancy, which was a
testimony to his merits. That made him laugh, and without giving me
any answer he asked me if I dined at home that day.
"No, my lord, not to-day."
"I understand. Well, it's very natural; bring the affair to a happy
"I will do my best."
Martinelli had found two or three parodies of my notice in the
Advertiser, and came and read them to me. I was much amused with
them; they were mostly indecent, for the liberty of the press is much
abused in London. As for Martinelli he was too discreet and delicate
a man to ask me about my new boarder. As it was Sunday, I begged him
to take me to mass at the Bavarian ambassador's chapel; and here I
must confess that I was not moved by any feelings of devotion, but by
the hope of seeing Pauline. I had my trouble for nothing, for, as I
heard afterwards, she sat in a dark corner where no one could see
her. The chapel was full, and Martinelli pointed out several lords
and ladies who were Catholics, and did not conceal their religion.
When I got home I received a note from Madame Cornelis, saying that
as it was Sunday and she could go out freely, she hoped I would let
her come to dinner. I shewed the letter to Pauline, not knowing
whether she would object to dining with her, and she said she would
be happy to do so, provided there were no men. I wrote in answer to
Madame Cornelis that I should be glad to see her and her charming
daughter at dinner. She came, and Sophie did not leave my side for a
moment. Madame Cornelis, who was constrained in Pauline's presence,
took me aside to express her gratitude and to communicate to me some
chimerical schemes of hers which were soon to make her rich.
Sophie was the life and soul of the party, but as I happened to tell
her mother that Pauline was a lady who was lodging in my house, she
"Then she is not your wife?"
"No; such happiness is not for me. It was a joke of mine, and the
lady amused herself at the expense of your credulity."
"Well, I should like to sleep with her."
"Whenever mamma will let me."
"We must first ascertain," said the mother, "what the lady thinks of
"She needn't fear a refusal," said Pauline, giving the child a kiss.
"Then you shall have her with pleasure, madam. I will get her
governess to fetch her away to-morrow."
"At three o'clock," said I, "for she must dine with us."
Sophie, taking her mother's silence for consent, went up to her and
kissed her, but these attentions were but coldly received. She
unfortunately did not know how to inspire love.
After Madame Cornelis had gone, I asked Pauline if she would like to
take a walk with Sophie and myself in the suburbs, where nobody would
"In prudence," said she, "I cannot go out unless I am alone."
"Then shall we stay here?"
"We could not do better."
Pauline and Sophie sang Italian, French, and English duets, and the
concert of their voices seemed to me ravishing. We supped gaily, and
at midnight I escorted them to the third floor, telling Sophie that I
would come and breakfast with her in the morning, but that I should
expect to find her in bed. I wanted to see if her body was as
beautiful as her face. I would gladly have asked Pauline to grant me
the same favour, but I did not think things had advanced far enough
for that. In the morning I found Pauline up and dressed.
When Sophie saw me she laughed and hid her head under the sheets, but
as soon as she felt me near her she soon let me see her pretty little
face, which I covered with kisses.
When she had got up we breakfasted together, and the time went by as
pleasantly as possible till Madame Rancour came for her little
charge, who went away with a sad heart. Thus I was left alone with
my Pauline who began to inspire me with such ardent desires that I
dreaded an explosion every moment. And yet I had not so much as
kissed her hand.
When Sophie had gone I made her sit beside me, and taking her hand I
kissed it rapturously, saying,
"Are you married, Pauline?"
"Do you know what it is to be a mother?"
"No, but I can partly imagine what happiness it must be."
"Are you separated from your husband?"
"Yes, by circumstances and against our will. We were separated
before we had cohabited together."
"Is he at London?"
"No, he is far away, but please don't say anything more about it."
"Only tell me whether my loss will be his gain."
"Yes, and I promise not to leave you till I have to leave England--
that is, unless you dismiss me--and I shall leave this happy island
to be happy with the husband of my choice."
"But I, dear Pauline, will be left unhappy, for I love you with all
my heart, and am afraid to give you any proof of my love."
"Be generous and spare me, for I am not my own mistress, and have no
right to give myself to you; and perhaps, if you were so ungenerous
as to attack me, I should not have the strength to resist."
"I will obey, but I shall still languish. I cannot be unhappy unless
I forfeit your favour."
"I have duties to perform, my dear friend, and I cannot neglect them
without becoming contemptible in my own eyes and yours too."
"I should deem myself the most miserable of men if I despised a woman
for making me happy."
"Well, I like you too well to think you capable of such conduct, but
let us be moderate, for we may have to part to-morrow. You must
confess that if we yielded to desire, this parting would be all the
more bitter. If you are of another opinion, that only shews that
your ideas of love and mine are different."
"Then tell me of what sort of love is that with which I am happy
enough to have inspired you?"
"It is of such a kind that enjoyment would only increase it, and yet
enjoyment seems to me a mere accident."
"Then what is its essence?"
"To live together in perfect unity."
"That's a blessing we can enjoy from morning to eve, but why should
we not add the harmless accident which would take so short a time,
and give us such peace and tranquillity. You must confess, Pauline,
that the essence cannot exist long without the accident."
"Yes, but you in your turn, you will agree that the food often proves
in time to be deadly."
"No, not when one loves truly, as I do. Do you think that you will
not love me so well after having possessed me?"
"No, it's because I think quite otherwise, that I dread to make the
moment of parting so bitter."
"I see I must yield to your logic. I should like to see the food on
which you feed your brain, otherwise your books. Will you let me
"Certainly, but you will be caught."
"Come and see."
We went to her room, and I found that all her books were Portuguese,
with the exception of Milton, in English, Ariosto, in Italian, and
Labruyere's "Characters," in French.
"Your selection gives me a high idea of your mental qualities," said
I, "but tell me, why do you give such a preference to Camoens and all
these Portuguese authors?"
"For a very good reason, I am Portuguese myself."
"You Portuguese? I thought you were Italian. And so you already
know five languages, for you doubtless know Spanish."
"Yes, although Spanish is not absolutely necessary."
"What an education you have had!"
"I am twenty-two now, but I knew all these languages at eighteen."
"Tell me who you are, tell me all about yourself. I am worthy of
"I think so too, and to give you a proof of my trust in you I am
going to tell you my history, for since you love me you can only wish
to do me good."
"What are all these manuscripts?"
"My history, which I have written down myself. Let us sit down:"
Pauline's Story--I Am Happy--Pauline Leaves Me
I am the only daughter of the unfortunate Count X----o, whom
Carvailho Oeiras killed in prison on suspicion of being concerned in
the attempt on the king's life, in which the Jesuits were supposed to
have had a hand. I do not know whether my father was innocent or
guilty, but I do know that the tyrannical minister did not dare to
have him tried, or to confiscate the estates, which remain in my
possession, though I can only enjoy them by returning to my native
"My mother had me brought up in a convent where her sister was
abbess. I had all kinds of masters, especially an Italian from
Leghorn, who in six years taught me all that he thought proper for me
to know. He would answer any questions I chose to put him, save on
religious matters, but I must confess that his reserve made me all
the fonder of him, for in leaving me to reflect on certain subjects
by myself he did a great deal to form my judgment.
"I was eighteen when my grandfather removed ms from the convent,
although I protested that I would gladly stay there till I got
married. I was fondly attached to my aunt, who did all in her power
after my mother's death to make me forget the double loss I had
sustained. My leaving the convent altered the whole course of my
existence, and as it was not a voluntary action I have nothing to
"My grandfather placed me with his sister-in-law, the Marchioness
X----o, who gave me up half her house. I had a governess, a
companion, maids, pages, and footmen, all of whom, though in my
service, were under the orders of my governess, a well-born lady, who
was happily honest and trustworthy.
"A year after I had left the convent my grandfather came and told me
in the presence of my governess that Count Fl---- had asked my hand
for his son, who was coming from Madrid end would arrive that day.
"'What answer did you give him, dear grandfather?'
"'That the marriage would be acceptable to the whole of the nobility,
and also to the king and royal family.'
"'But are you quite sure that the young count will like me and that I
shall like the count?'
"'That, my dear daughter, is a matter of course, and there need be no
discussion on the subject.'
"'But it is a question in which I am strongly interested, and I
should like to consider it very carefully. We shall see how matters
"'You can see each other before deciding, but you must decide all the
"'I hope so, but let us not be too certain. We shall see.'
"As soon as my grandfather had gone I told my governess that I had
made up my mind never to give my hand save where I had given my
heart, and that I should only marry a man whose character and tastes
I had carefully studied. My governess gave me no answer, and on my
pressing her to give me her opinion, she replied that she thought her
best course would be to keep silence on such a delicate question.
This was as much as to tell me that she thought I was right; at least
I persuaded myself that it was so.
"The next day I went to the convent, and told the story to my aunt,
the abbess, who listened to me kindly and said it was to be hoped
that I should fall in love with him and he with me, but that even if
it were otherwise she was of opinion that the marriage would take
place, as she had reasons for believing that the scheme came from the
Princess of Brazil, who favoured Count Fl----.
"Though this information grieved me, I was still glad to hear it, and
my resolution never to marry save for love was all the more strongly
"In the course of a fortnight the count arrived, and my grandfather
presented him to me, several ladies being in the company. Nothing
was said about marrying, but there was a deal of talk about the
strange lands and peoples the new arrival had seen. I listened with
the greatest attention, not opening my mouth the whole time. I had
very little knowledge of the world, so I could not make any
comparisons between my suitor and other men, but my conclusion was
that he could never hope to please any woman, and that he would
certainly never be mine. He had an unpleasant sneering manner, joked
in bad taste, was stupid, and a devotee, or rather a fanatic.
Furthermore he was ugly and ill-shapen, and so great a fop that he
was not ashamed to relate the story of his conquests in France and
"I went home hoping with all my heart that he had taken a dislike to
me, and a week which passed away without my hearing anything on the
subject confirmed me in this belief, but I was doomed to be
disappointed. My great-aunt asked me to dinner, and when I went I
found the foolish young man and his father present, together with my
grandfather, who formally introduced him to me as my future husband,
and begged me to fix the wedding day. I made up my mind that I would
rather die than marry him, and answered politely but coldly that I
would name the day when I had decided on marrying, but I should
require time to think it over. The dinner went off silently, and I
only opened my mouth to utter monosyllables in reply to questions
which I could not avoid. After the coffee had been served I left the
house, taking no notice of anyone besides my aunt and my grandfather.
"Some time elapsed; and I again began to hope that I had effectually
disgusted my suitor, but one morning my governess told me that Father
Freire was waiting to speak to me in the ante-chamber. I ordered him
to be sent in. He was the confessor of the Princess of Brazil, and
after some desultory conversation he said the princess had sent him
to congratulate me on my approaching marriage with Count Fl----.
"I did not evince any surprise, merely replying that I was sensible
of her highness's kindness, but that nothing had been decided so far,
as I was not thinking of getting married.
"The priest, who was a perfect courtier, smiled in a manner, half
kindly, half sardonic, and said that I was at that happy age when I
had no need to think of anything, as my kind friends and relations
did all my thinking for me.
"I only answered by an incredulous smile, which, for all his monastic
subtlety, struck him as the expression of a young girl's coyness.
"Foreseeing the persecution to which I should be subjected, I went
the next day to my aunt the abbess, who could not refuse me her
advice. I began by stating my firm resolve to die rather than wed a
being I detested.
"The worthy nun replied that the count had been introduced to her,
and that to tell the truth she thought him insufferable; all the
same, she said she was afraid I should be made to marry him.
"These words were such a shock to me that I turned the conversation,
and spoke of other subjects for the remainder of my visit. But when
I got back to my house I pursued an extraordinary course. I shut
myself up in my closet and wrote a letter to the executioner of my
unhappy father, the pitiless Oeiras, telling him the whole story, and
imploring him to protect me and to speak to the king in my favour;
'for,' said I, 'as you have made me an orphan it is your duty before
God to care for me.' I begged him to shelter me from the anger of the
Princess of Brazil, and to leave me at liberty to dispose of my hand
according to my pleasure.
"Though I did not imagine Oeiras to be a humane man, yet I thought he
must have some sort of a heart; besides, by this extraordinary step
and the firmness of my language, I hoped to appeal to his pride and
to interest him in my favour. I felt sure that he would do me
justice, if only to prove that he had not been unjust to my father.
I was right, as will be seen, and although I was but an inexperienced
girl my instinct served me well.
"Two days elapsed before I was waited on by a messenger from Oeiras,
who begged the honour of a private interview with me. The messenger
told me that the minister wished me to reply to all who pressed me to
marry that I should not decide until I was assured that the princess
desired the match. The minister begged me to excuse his not
answering my letter, but he had good reasons for not doing so. The
messenger assured me that I could count on his master's support.
"His message delivered, the gentleman took leave with a profound bow,
and went back without waiting for an answer. I must confess that the
young man's looks had made a great impression on me. I cannot
describe my feelings, but they have exerted great influence on my
conduct, and will no doubt continue to do so for the rest of my life.
"This message put me quite at ease, for he would never have given me
the instructions he did without being perfectly sure that the
princess would not interfere any farther with my marriage; and so I
gave myself up entirely to the new sentiments which possessed my
heart. Though strong, the flame would no doubt soon have died down
if it had not received fresh fuel every day, for when I saw the young
messenger a week later in church I scarcely recognized him. From
that moment, however, I met him everywhere; out walking, in the
theatre, in the houses where I called, and especially when I was
getting in or out of my carriage he was ever beside me, ready to
offer his hand; and I got so used to his presence that when I missed
his face I felt a void at my heart that made me unhappy.
"Almost every day I saw the two Counts Fl---- at my great-aunt's, but
as there was no longer any engagement between us their presence
neither joyed me nor grieved me. I had forgiven them but I was not
happy. The image of the young messenger, of whom I knew nothing, was
ever before me, and I blushed at my thoughts though I would not ask
myself the reasons.
"Such was my state of mind, when one day I heard a voice, which was
unknown to me, in my maid's room. I saw a quantity of lace on a
table and proceeded to examine it without paying any attention to a
girl who was standing near the table and curtsying to me. I did not
like any of the lace, so the girl said that she would bring me some
more to choose from the next day, and as I raised my eyes I was
astonished to see that she had the face of the young man who was
always in my thoughts. My only resource was to doubt their identity
and to make myself believe that I had been deceived by a mere chance
likeness. I was reassured on second thoughts; the girl seemed to me
to be taller than the young man, whom I hesitated to believe capable
of such a piece of daring. The girl gathered up her lace and went
her way without raising her eyes to mine, and this made me feel
"'Do you know that girl?' I said, coldly, to my maid, and she replied
that she had never seen her before. I went away without another
word, not knowing what to think.
"I thought it over and resolved to examine the girl when she came on
the following day, and to unmask her if my suspicions proved to be
well founded. I told myself that she might be the young man's
sister, and that if it were otherwise it would be all the more easy
to cure myself of my passion. A young girl who reasons on love falls
into love, especially if she have no one in whom to confide.
"The pretended lace-seller duly came the next day with a box of lace.
I told her to come into my room, and then speaking to her to force
her to raise her eyes I saw before me the being who exerted such a
powerful influence over me. It was such a shock that I had no
strength to ask her any of the questions I had premeditated.
Besides, my maid was in the room, and the fear of exposing myself
operated, I think, almost as strongly as emotion. I set about
choosing some pieces of lace in a mechanical way, and told my maid to
go and fetch my purse. No sooner had she left the room than the
lace-seller fell at my feet and exclaimed passionately,
"'Give me life or death, madam, for I see you know who I am.'
"'Yes, I do know you, and I think you must have gone mad.'
"'Yes, that may be; but I am mad with love. I adore you.'
"'Rise, for my maid will come back directly.'
"'She is in my secret.'
"'What! you have dared '
"He got up, and the maid came in and gave him his money with the
utmost coolness. He picked up his lace, made me a profound bow, and
"It would have been natural for me to speak to my maid, and still
more natural if I had dismissed her on the spot. I had no courage to
do so, and my weakness will only astonish those rigorous moralists
who know nothing of a young girl's heart, and do not consider my
painful position, passionately in love and with no one but myself to
"I did not follow at once the severe dictates of duty; afterwards it
was too late, and I easily consoled myself with the thought that I
could pretend not to be aware that the maid was in the secret. I
determined to dissemble, hoping that I should never see the
adventurous lover again, and that thus all would be as if it had
"This resolve was really the effect of anger, for a fortnight passed
by without my seeing the young man in the theatre, the public walks,
or in any of the public places he used to frequent, and I became sad
and dreamy, feeling all the time ashamed of my own wanton fancies.
I longed to know his name, which I could only learn from my maid, and
it was out of the question for me to ask Oeiras. I hated my maid,
and I blushed when I saw her, imagining that she knew all. I was
afraid that she would suspect my honour, and at another time I feared
lest she might think I did not love him; and this thought nearly
drove me mad. As for the young adventurer I thought him more to be
pitied than to be blamed, for I did not believe that he knew I loved
him, and it seemed to me that the idea of my despising him was enough
vengeance for his audacity. But my thoughts were different when my
vanity was stronger than love, for then despair avenged itself on
pride, and I fancied he would think no more of me, and perhaps had
already forgotten me.
"Such a state cannot last long, for if nothing comes to put an end to
the storm which tosses the soul to and fro, it ends at last by making
an effort of itself to sail into the calm waters of peace.
"One day I put on a lace kerchief I had bought from him, and asked my
"'What has become of the girl who sold me this kerchief?'
"I asked this question without premeditation; it was, as it were, an
inspiration from my 'good or my evil genius.
"As crafty as I was simple, the woman answered that to be sure he had
not dared to come again, fearing that I had found out his disguise.
"'Certainly,' I replied, 'I found it out directly, but I was
astonished to hear that you knew this lace-seller was a young man.'
"'I did not think I should offend you, madam, I know him well.'
"'Who is he?
"'Count d'Al----; you ought to know him, for he paid you a visit
about four months ago'
"'True, and it is possible that I did not know him, but why did you
tell a lie when I asked you, "Do you know that girl?"'
"'I lied to spare your feelings, madam, and I was afraid you would be
angry at the part I had taken:
"'You would have honoured me more by supposing the contrary. When
you went out, and I told him he was mad, and that you would find him
on his knees when you returned, he told me you were in the secret.'
"'If it be a secret, but it seems to me a mere joke:
"'I wished to think so too, but nevertheless it seemed of such weight
to me, that I resolved to be silent that I might not be obliged to
send you away.'
"'My idea was that you would have been amused, but as you take it
seriously I am sorry that I have failed in my strict duty.'
"So weak is a woman in love that in this explanation which should
have shewn me the servant's fault in all its enormity I only saw a
full justification. In fact she had given peace to my heart, but my
mind was still uneasy. I knew that there was a young Count d'Al----
belonging to a noble family, but almost penniless. All he had was
the minister's patronage, and the prospect of good State employments.
The notion that Heaven meant me to remedy the deficiencies in his
fortune made me fall into a sweet reverie, and at last I found myself
deciding that my maid who put it all down as a jest had more wit than
I. I blamed myself for my scrupulous behaviour, which seemed no
better than prudery. My love was stronger than I thought, and this
is my best excuse, besides I had no one to guide or counsel me.
"But after sunshine comes shadow. My soul was like the ebb and tide
of the sea, now in the heights and now in the depths. The resolve,
which the count seemed to have taken, to see me no more, either
shewed him to be a man of little enterprise or little love, and this
supposition humiliated me. 'If,' I said to myself, 'the count is
offended with me for calling him a madman, he can have no delicacy
and no discretion; he is unworthy of my love.'
"I was in this dreadful state of uncertainty when my maid took upon
herself to write to the count that he could come and see me under the
same diguise. He followed her advice, and one fine morning the
crafty maid came into my chamber laughing, and told me that the lace-
seller was in the next room. I was moved exceedingly, but
restraining myself I began to laugh also, though the affair was no
laughing matter for me.
"'Shall I shew her in? said the maid.
"'Are you crazy?
"Shall I send her away?
"'No, I will go and speak to him myself.'
"This day was a memorable one. My maid left the room now and again,
and we had plenty of time to disclose our feelings to one another. I
frankly confessed that I loved him, but added that it were best that
I should forget him, as it was not likely that my relations would
consent to our marriage. In his turn he told me that the minister
having resolved to send him to England, he would die of despair
unless he carried with him the hope of one day possessing me, for he
said he loved me too well to live without me. He begged me to allow
him to come and see me under the same disguise, and though I could
not refuse him anything I said that we might be discovered.
"'It is enough for me,' he replied, tenderly, 'that you will incur no
danger, my visits will be set down to the account of your maid.'
"'But I am afraid for you,' I replied, 'your disguise is a crime in
itself; your reputation will suffer, and that will not tend to bring
the wish of your heart nearer.'
"In spite of my objections, my heart spoke in his favour, and he
pleaded so well and promised to be so discreet that at last I said I
would see him gladly whenever he liked to come.
"Count Al---- is twenty-two, and is shorter than I; he is small-
boned, and in his disguise as a lace-seller it was hard to recognize
him, even by his voice, which is very soft. He imitated the gestures
and ways of women to perfection, and not a few women would be only
too glad to be like him.
"Thus for nearly three months the disguised count came to see me
three or four times a week, always in my maid's room, and mostly in
her presence. But even if we had been perfectly alone his fear of my
displeasure was too great to allow him to take the slightest
liberties. I think now that this mutual restraint added fuel to our
flames, for when we thought of the moment of parting it was with dumb
sadness and with no idea of taking the opportunity of rendering one
another happy. We flattered ourselves that Heaven would work some
miracle in our favour, and that the day would never come wherein we
should be parted.
"But one morning the count came earlier than usual, and, bursting
into tears, told me that the minister had given him a letter for
M. de Saa, the Portuguese ambassador at London, and another letter
open for the captain of a ship which was shortly to sail for London.
In this letter the minister ordered the captain to embark Count
Al----, to take him to London, and to treat him with distinction.
"My poor lover was overwhelmed, he was nearly choked with sobs, and
his brain was all confusion. For his sake, and taking pity on his
grief and my love, I conceived the plan of accompanying him as his
servant, or rather to avoid disguising my sex, as his wife. When I
told him, he was at once stupefied and dazzled. He was beyond
reasoning, and left everything in my hands. We agreed to discuss the
matter at greater length on the following day, and parted.
"Foreseeing that it would be difficult for me to leave the house in
woman's dress, I resolved to disguise myself as a man. But if I kept
to my man's dress I should be obliged to occupy the position of my
lover's valet, and have to undertake tasks beyond my strength. This
thought made me resolve to impersonate the master myself, but
thinking that I should not care to see my lover degraded to the rank
of a servant, I determined that he should be my wife, supposing that
the captain of the ship did not know him by sight.
"'As soon as we get to England,' I thought, 'we will get married, and
can resume our several dresses. This marriage will efface whatever
shame may be attached to our flight; they will say, perhaps, that the
count carried me off; but a girl is not carried off against her
will, and Oeiras surely will not persecute me for having made the
fortune of his favourite. As to our means of subsistence, till I get
my rents, I can sell my diamonds, and they will realize an ample
"The next day, when I told my lover of this strange plan, he made no
objections. The only obstacle which he thought of was the
circumstance that the sea-captain might know him by sight, and this
would have been fatal; but as he did not think it likely we
determined to run the risk, and it was agreed that he should get me
the clothes for the new part I was to play.
"I saw my lover again after an interval of three days; it was
nightfall when he came. He told me that the Admiralty had informed
him that the ship was riding at the mouth of the Tagus, and that the
captain would put out to sea as soon as he had delivered his
dispatches and had received fresh instructions. Count Al was
consequently requested to be at a certain spot at midnight, and a
boat would be in waiting to take him on board.
"I had made up my mind, and this was enough for me; and after having
fixed the time and place of meeting, I shut myself up, pretending to
be unwell. I put a few necessaries into a bag, not forgetting the
precious jewel-casket, and I dressed myself up as a man and left the
house by a stair only used by the servants. Even the porter did not
see me as I made my escape.
"Fearing lest I should go astray the count was waiting for me at a
short distance, and I was pleasantly surprised when he took me by the
arm, saying, "Tis I." From this careful action, simple though it
was, I saw that he had intelligence; he was afraid to catch hold of
me without making himself known. We went to a house where he had his
trunk, and in half an hour his disguise was made. When all was ready
a man came for our slight baggage, and we walked to the river where
the count was waiting for us. It was eleven o'clock when we left
land, and thinking my jewels would be safer in his pocket than in my
bag, I gave them to him, and we anxiously awaited the arrival of the
captain. He came aboard with his officers at midnight, and accosted
me politely, saying he had received orders to treat me with
distinction. I thanked him cordially, and introduced my wife to him,
whom he greeted respectfully, saying he was delighted to have such a
charming passenger, who would doubtless give us a fortunate voyage.
He was too polite to be astonished that the minister had made no
mention of the count's wife in his letter.
"We got to the frigate in less than an hour; she was three leagues
from land, and as soon as we got on board the captain ordered the men
to set sail. He took us to a room which was extremely comfortable,
considering it was only a cabin, and after doing the honours left us
"When we were alone we thanked Heaven that everything had gone off so
well, and far from going to sleep we spent the night in discussing
the bold step we had taken, or rather, only just begun to take;
however, we hoped it would have as fortunate an ending as beginning.
When the day dawned our hearts were gladdened because Lisbon was no
longer in sight, and as we were in need of rest I laid down on a
seat, while the count got into a hammock, neither of us troubling to
"We were just falling asleep, when we began to feel the approach of
sea-sickness, and for three days we knew no peace.
"On the fourth day, scarcely being able to stand upright for
weakness, we began to be hungry, and had to exercise a careful
moderation, so as not to become seriously ill. Happily for us the
captain had a store of good food, and our meals were delicate and
"My lover, whose sickness has been more severe than mine, used this
as a pretext for not leaving his room. The captain only came to see
us once; this must have been out of extreme politeness, for in
Portugal one may be jealous and yet not ridiculous. As for me, I
stood upon the bridge nearly all day; the fresh air did me good, and
I amused myself by scanning the horizon with my telescope.
"The seventh day of the voyage my heart trembled as with a
presentiment of misfortune, when the sailors said that a vessel which
could be seen in the distance was a corvette which was due to sail a
day after us, but being a swift sailor would probably reach England
two or three days before us.
"Though the voyage from Lisbon to England is a long one we had a fair
wind all the way, and in fourteen days we dropped anchor at day-break
in the port of Plymouth.
"The officer sent ashore by the captain to ask leave to disembark
passengers came on board in the evening with several letters. One
the captain read with peculiar attention, and then called me to one
side and said,
"'This letter comes from Count Oeiras, and enjoins me, on my life,
not to let any Portuguese young lady land, unless she be known to me.
I am to take her back to Lisbon after having executed my various
commissions. There is neither wife nor maid on my frigate, except
the countess your wife. If you can prove that she is really your
wife she may land with you; otherwise, you see, I cannot disobey the
"'She is my wife,' I said, coolly; 'but as I could not foresee this
accident I have no papers to prove the fact.'
"'I am sorry to hear it, as in that case she must go back to Lisbon.
You may be sure I will treat her with all possible respect.'
"'But a wife may not be parted from her husband.'
"'Quite so, but I cannot disobey orders. If you like you can return
to Lisbon in the corvette; you will be there before us.'
"'Why cannot I return in this frigate?
"'Because I have distinct orders to put you on land. And now I come
to think of it, how was it that there was not a word about your wife
in the letter you gave me when we started? If the lady is not the
person meant by the minister, you may be sure she will be sent back
to join you in London.'
"'You will allow me to go and speak to her?
"'Certainly, but in my presence.'
"My heart was broken; nevertheless, I had to put a good face on the
losing game I was playing. I went to the count, and addressing him
as my dear wife communicated the order which was to part us.
"I was afraid he would betray himself, but he was strong-minded
enough to restrain his emotion, and only replied that we must needs
submit, and that we should see each other again in a couple of
"As the captain stood beside us, I could only utter common-places. I
warned him, however, that I should write to the abbess directly I got
to London, who was the first person he must go and see at Lisbon, as
she would have my address. I took care not to ask for my jewel-case,
as the captain might have thought that my false wife was some rich
young lady whom I had seduced.
"We had to abandon ourselves to our destiny. We embraced each other
and mingled our ears, and the captain wept, too, when he heard me
"'Trust in all things to the worthy captain, and let us not fear at
"The count's trunk was lowered into the boat, and as I did not dare
to take my bag I found myself loaded with nothing but a man's
clothes, which would not have fitted me, even if I had intended to
keep up my disguise.
"When I came to the custom-house I saw my possessions. There were
books, letters, linen, some suits of clothes, a sword and two pairs
of pistols, one pair of which I put in my pockets, and then I went to
an inn where the host said that if I wanted to travel to London the
next morning I should only have to pay for one horse.
"'Who are the people,' said I, 'who desire a companion?
"'You shall sup with them if you like,' said he.
"I accepted the offer, and found the party consisted of a minister of
religion and two ladies whose faces pleased me. I was fortunate
enough to win their good graces, and early the next day we got to
London and alighted in the Strand at an inn where I only dined, going
out to seek a lodging appropriate to my means and the kind of life I
wished to lead. Fifty Lisbon pieces and a ring of about the same
value was all that I possessed in the world.
"I took a room on the third floor, being attracted by the honest and
kindly expression of the landlady. I could only trust in God and
confide my position to her. I agreed to pay her ten shillings a
week, and begged her to get me some woman's clothes, for I was afraid
to go out in my man's dress any longer.
"The next day I was clothed like a poor girl who desires to escape
notice. I spoke English well enough to seem a native of the country,
and I knew how I must behave if I wished to be let alone. Although
the landlady was a worthy woman, her house was not exactly suitable
for me; my stay in England might be protracted, and if I came to
destitution I should be wretched indeed; so I resolved to leave the
house. I received no visitors, but I could not prevent the
inquisitive from hovering round my door, and the more it became known
that I saw no one, the more their curiosity increased. The house was
not quiet enough. It was near the Exchange, and the neighborhood
swarmed with young men who came to dine on the first floor of the
house, and did their best to cure me of my sadness, as they called
it, though I had not shewn any signs of wishing to be cured.
"I made up my mind not to spend more than a guinea a week, and
resolved to sell my ring if I could have the money paid to me at
intervals. An old jeweler who lodged next door, and for whose
honesty my landlady answered, told me it was worth a hundred and
fifty guineas, and asked me to let him have it if I had no better
offer. I had not thought it to be so valuable, and I sold it to him
on condition that he would pay me four guineas a month, and that I
should be at liberty to buy it back if I could do so before all the
payments had been made.
"I wanted to keep my ready money, which I still have by me, so as to
be able to go back to Lisbon by land when I can do so in safety, for
I could not face the horrors of a sea voyage a second time.
"I told my case to my worthy landlady who still befriends me, and she
helped me to get another lodging, but I had to procure a servant to
fetch me my food; I could not summon up courage to have my meals in a
coffee-house. However, all my servants turned out ill; they robbed
me continually, and levied a tax on all their purchases.
"The temperance I observed--for I almost lived on bread and water--
made me get thinner every day, still I saw no way of mending my
existence till chance made me see your singular announcement. I
laughed at it; and then drawn by some irresistible power, or perhaps
by the curiosity that falls to the lot of most of us women,
I could not resist going in and speaking to you. Instinct thus
pointed out the way to improve my lot without increasing my
"When I got back I found a copy of the Advertiser on my landlady's
table; it contained some editorial fun on the notice I had just read.
The writer said that the master of the house was an Italian, and had
therefore nothing to fear from feminine violence. On my side I
determined to hazard everything, but I feel I have been too hasty,
and that there are certain attacks which it is pleasant not to
resist. I was brought up by an Italian, a clever and good man, and I
have always had a great respect for your fellow-countrymen."
My fair Portuguese had finished her story, and I observed,--
"Really, your history has amused me very much; it has all the air of
"Quite so," said she; "but it is a strictly historical romance. But
the most amusing thing to me is that you have listened to it without
"That is your modesty, madam; not only, has your tale interested me,
but now that I know you are a Portuguese I am at peace with the
"Were you at war with us, then?"
"I have never forgiven you for letting your Portuguese Virgil die
miserably two hundred years ago."
"You mean Camoens. But the Greeks treated Homer in the same way."
"Yes, but the faults of others are no excuse for our own."
"You are right; but how can you like Camoens so much if you do not
"I have read a translation in Latin hexameters so well done that I
fancied I was reading Virgil."
"Is that truly so?"
"I would never lie to you."
"Then I make a vow to learn Latin."
"That is worthy of you, but it is of me that you must learn the
language. I will go to Portugal and live and die there, if you will
give me your heart.'
"My heart! I have only one, and that is given already. Since I have
known you I have despised myself, for I am afraid I have an
"It will be enough for me if you will love me as your father,
provided I may sometimes take my daughter to my arms. But go on with
your story, the chief part is yet untold. What became of your lover,
and what did your relations do when they found out your flight?"
"Three days after I arrived in this vast city I wrote to the abbess,
my aunt, and told her the whole story, begging her to protect my
lover, and to confirm me in my resolution never to return to Lisbon
till I could do so in security, and have no obstacles placed in the
way of my marriage. I also begged her to write and inform me of all
that happened, addressing her letters to 'Miss Pauline,' under cover
of my landlady.
"I sent my letter by Paris and Madrid, and I had to wait three months
before I got an answer. My aunt told me that the frigate had only
returned a short time, and that the captain immediately on his
arrival wrote to the minister informing him that the only lady who
was in his ship when he sailed was still on board, for he had brought
her back with him, despite the opposition of Count Al-----, who
declared she was his wife. The captain ended by asking his
excellency for further orders with respect to the lady aforesaid.
"Oeiras, feeling sure that the lady was myself, told the captain to
take her to the convent of which my aunt was abbess, with a letter he
had written. In this letter he told my aunt that he sent her her
niece, and begged her to keep the girl securely till further orders.
My aunt was extremely surprised, but she would have been still more
surprised if she had not got my letter a few days before. She
thanked the captain for his care, and took the false niece to a room
and locked her up. She then wrote to Oeiras, telling him that she
had received into her convent a person supposed to be his niece, but
as this person was really a man in woman's dress she begged his
excellency to remove him as soon as possible.
"When the abbess had written this curious letter she paid a visit to
the count, who fell on his knees before her. My good aunt raised
him, and shewed him my letter. She said that she had been obliged to
write to the minister, and that she had no doubt he would be removed
from the convent in the course of a few hours. The count burst into
tears, and begging the abbess to protect us both gave her my jewel-
casket, which the worthy woman received with great pleasure. She
left him, promising to write to me of all that happened.
"The minister was at one of his country estates, and did not receive
the abbess's letter till the next day, but hastened to reply in
person. My aunt easily convinced his excellency of the need for
keeping the matter secret, for a man had been sent into the convent,
which would be to her dishonour. She shewed the proud minister the
letter she had had from me, and told him how the honest young man had
given her my jewel-casket. He thanked her for her open dealing, and
begged her pardon with a smile for sending a fine young man to her
"'The secret,' said he, 'is of the greatest importance; we must see
that it goes no farther. I will relieve you of your false niece, and
take her away in my carriage.'
"My aunt took him at his word and brought out the young recluse, who
drove away with the minister. The abbess tells me that from that day
she has heard nothing about him, but that all Lisbon is talking over
the affair, but in a wholly distorted manner. They say that the
minister first of all put me under the care of my aunt, but soon
after took me away, and has kept me in some secret place ever since.
Count Al---- is supposed to be in London, and I in the minister's
power, and probably we are supposed to have entered into a tender
relationship. No doubt his excellency is perfectly well informed of
my doings here, for he knows my address and has spies everywhere.
"On the advice of my aunt I wrote to Oeiras a couple of months ago,
telling him that I am ready to return to Lisbon, if I may marry Count
Al---- and live in perfect liberty. Otherwise, I declared, I would
stay in London, where the laws guaranteed my freedom. I am waiting
for his answer every day, and I expect it will be a favourable one,
for no one can deprive me of my estates, and Oeiras will probably be
only too glad to protect me to lessen the odium which attaches to his
name as the murderer of my father."
Pauline made no mystery of the names of the characters, but she may
be still alive, and I respect her too well to run the risk of
wounding her, though these Memoirs will not see the light of day
during my lifetime. It is sufficient to say that the story is known
to all the inhabitants of Lisbon, and that the persons who figure in
it are public characters in Portugal.
I lived with dear Pauline in perfect harmony, feeling my love for her
increase daily, and daily inspiring her with tenderer feelings
towards myself. But as my love increased in strength, I grew thin
and feeble; I could not sleep nor eat. I should have languished away
if I had not succeeded in gratifying my passion. On the other hand,
Pauline grew plumper and prettier every day.
"If my sufferings serve to increase your charms," said I, "you ought
not to let me die, for a dead man has no suffering."
"Do you think that your sufferings are due to your love for me?"
"There may be something in it, but, believe me, the tender passion
does not destroy the appetite nor take away the power of sleep. Your
indisposition is undoubtedly due to the sedentary life you have been
leading of late. If you love me, give me a proof of it; go out for a
"I cannot refuse you anything, dearest Pauline, but what then?"
"Then you shall find me grateful to you, you will have a good
appetite, and will sleep well."
"A horse, a horse! Quick! My boots!" I kissed her hand--for I had
not got any farther than that--and began to ride towards Kingston.
I did not care for the motion of trotting, so I put my horse at a
gallop, when all of a sudden he stumbled, and in an instant I was
lying on the ground in front of the Duke of Kingston's house. Miss
Chudleigh happened to be at the window, and seeing me thrown to the
ground uttered a shriek. I raised my head and she recognized me, and
hastened to send some of her people to help me. As soon as I was on
my feet I wanted to go and thank her, but I could not stir, and a
valet who knew something of surgery examined me, and declared that I
had put out my collar-bone and would require a week's rest.
The young lady told me that if I liked to stay in her house the
greatest care should be taken of me. I thanked her warmly, but
begged her to have me taken home, as I should not like to give her so
much trouble. She immediately gave the necessary orders, and I was
driven home in a comfortable carriage. The servants in charge would
not acept any money, and I saw in the incident a proof of that
hospitality for which the English are famed, although they are at the
same time profoundly egotistic.
When I got home I went to bed, and sent for a surgeon, who laughed
when I told him that I had put out a bone.
"I'll wager it is nothing more than a sprain. I only wish it was put
out that I might have some chance of shewing my skill."
"I am delighted," I said, "not to be in a position to call for that
amount of talent, but I shall have a high opinion of you if you set
me up in a short time."
I did not see Pauline, much to my astonishment. I was told she had
gone out in a sedan-chair, and I almost felt jealous. In two hours
she came in looking quite frightened, the old house-keeper having
told her that I had broken my leg, and that the doctor had been with
"Unhappy wretch that I am!" she exclaimed as she came to my bedside,
"'tis I that have brought you to this."
With these words she turned pale and almost fell in a swoon beside
"Divine being!" I cried, as I pressed her to my breast, "it is
nothing; only a sprain."
"What pain that foolish old woman has given me!
"God be praised that it is no worse! Feel my heart."
"Oh, yes! I felt it with delight. It was a happy fall for me."
Fastening my lips on hers, I felt with delight that our transports
were mutual, and I blessed the sprain that had brought me such bliss.
After these ectasies I felt that Pauline was laughing.
"What are you laughing at, sweetheart?"
"At the craft of love, which always triumphs at last."
"Where have you been?"
"I went to my old jeweler's to redeem my ring, that you might have a
souvenir of me; here it is."
"Pauline! Pauline! a little love would have been much more precious
to me than this beautiful ring."
"You shall have both. Till the time of my departure, which will come
only too soon, we will live together like man and wife; and to-night
shall be our wedding night, and the bed the table for the feast."
"What sweet news you give me, Pauline! I cannot believe it till my
happiness is actually accomplished."
"You may doubt, if you like; but let it be a slight doubt, or else
you will do me wrong. I am tired of living with you as a lover and
only making you wretched, and the moment I saw you on horseback I
determined to belong to you. Consequently I went to redeem the ring
directly you left, and I do not intend to leave you until I receive
the fatal message from Lisbon. I have dreaded its arrival every day
for the last week."
"May the messenger that brings it be robbed on the way."
"No such luck, I am afraid."
As Pauline was standing, I asked her to come to my arms, for I longed
to give her some palpable signs of my love.
"No, dearest, one can love and yet be wise; the door is open."
She got down Ariosto and began to read to me the adventure of
Ricciardetto with Fiordespina, an episode which gives its beauty to
the twenty-ninth canto of that beautiful poem which I knew by heart.
She imagined that she was the princess, and I Ricciardetto. She
liked to fancy,
'Che il ciel L'abbia concesso,
Bradamante cangiata in miglior sesso.'
When she came to the lines;
'Le belle braccia al collo indi mi getta,
E dolcemente stringe, a baccia in bocca:
Tu puoi pensar se allora la saetta
Dirizza Amor, se in mezzo al cor mi tocca.'
She wanted some explanations on the expression 'baccia in bocca', and
on the love which made Ricciardetto's arrow so stiff, and I, only too
ready to comment on the text, made her touch an arrow as stiff as
Ricciardetto's. Of course, she was angry at that, but her wrath did
not last long. She burst out laughing when she came to the lines,
'Io il veggo, io il sento, e a pena vero parmi:
Sento in maschio in femina matarsi.'
'Cosi le dissi, e feci ch'ella stessa
Trovo con man la veritade expressa.
She expressed her, wonder that this poem abounding in obscenities had
not been put on the "Index" at Rome.
"What you call obscenity is mere license, and there is plenty of that
"That's a joke which should bring the censures of the Church upon
you. But what do you call obscenities, if Ariosto is not obscene?"
"Obscenity disgusts, and never gives pleasure."
"Your logic is all your own, but situated as I am I cannot reargue
your proposition. I am amused at Ariosto's choosing a Spanish woman
above all others to conceive that strange passion for Bradamante."
"The heat of the Spanish climate made him conclude that the Spanish
temperament was also ardent, and consequently whimsical in its
"Poets are a kind of madmen who allow themselves to give utterance to
all their fancies."
The reading was continued, and I thought my time had come when she
read the verses:
Io senza scale in su la rooca salto,
E to stendardo piantovi di botto,
E la nemica mia mi caccio sotto**
**I scaled the rock without a ladder, I planted my standard suddenly,
and held my enemy beneath me.
I wanted to give her a practical illustration of the lines, but with
that sensibility so natural to women, and which they can use so well
as a goad to passion, she said,--
"Dearest, you might make yourself worse; let us wait till your sprain
"Are we to wait till I am cured for the consummation of our
"I suppose so, for if I am not mistaken the thing can't be done
without a certain movement."
"You are wrong, dear Pauline, but it would make no difference to me
even if it were so. You may be sure I would not put it off till to-
morrow, even if it cost me my leg. Besides, you shall see that there
are ways and means of satisfying our passions without doing me any
harm. Is that enough for you?"
"Well, well, as it is written that a wife should obey her husband,
you will find me docile."
"Then we will have no supper. We shall dine with all the better
appetite to-morrow. Let us begin now."
"No, for the suspicions of the servants might be aroused. Love has
its rules of decency like everything else."
"You talk as wisely as Cato, and I am obliged to confess that you are
right in all you say."
Supper was served as usual; it was delicate enough, but the thought
of approaching bliss had taken away our appetites, and we ate only
for form's sake. At ten o'clock we were at liberty, and could
indulge our passion without any fear of being disturbed.
But this delightful woman, who had so plainly told me a few hours
before that when I was cured we would live together as man and wife,
was now ashamed to undress before me. She could not make up her
mind, and told me so, laughing at herself. From this circumstance I
gathered that the decency of the body is more tenacious in its grasp
than the purity of the soul.
"But, sweetheart," said I, "you dressed and undressed for a fortnight
before your betrothed."
"Yes, but he was always lying in his hammock with his back towards me
at night, and in the morning he never turned round and wished me good
day till he knew I was dressed."
"What, he never turned?"
"I never let him take any liberties."
"Such virtue is incomprehensible to me."
"You see the count was to be my husband, and I was to be his wife,
and in such cases a young woman is careful. Besides, I believe that
if one will but refrain from taking the first step, continence is
easy. Then the count was naturally timid, and would never have taken
any liberties without my encouraging him, which I took care not to
do. For this once, you will allow me to sleep with you in my
"Certainly, if you wish me to be dressed also, otherwise it would be
unbearable for both of us."
"You are very cruel."
"But, dearest, are you not ashamed of these foolish scruples?"
"Well, well, put out the candles, and in a minute I will be beside
"Very good; though the want of light will deprive me of a great
pleasure. Quick, out with them!"
My charming Portuguese did not reflect that the moon shone full into
the room, and that the muslin curtains would not prevent my seeing
her exquisite figure, which shewed to greater advantage in the
position she happened to take. If Pauline had been a coquette I
should have considered her scruples as mere artifice calculated to
increase my ardour; but she had no need to use such stratagems. At
last she was within my arms, and we clasped each other closely and in
silence that was only broken by the murmur of our kisses. Soon our
union became closer, and her sighs and the ardour of her surrender
shewed me that her passion was more in need of relief than mine. I
was sufficiently master of myself to remember that I must have a care
for her honour, greatly to her astonishment, for she confessed she
had never thought of such a thing, and had given herself up freely,
resolved to brave the consequences which she believed to be
inevitable. I explained the mystery and made her happy.
Till this moment love alone had swayed me, but now that the bloody
sacrifice was over I felt full of respect and gratitude. I told her
effusively that I knew how great was my happiness, and that I was
ready to sacrifice my life to her to prove my love.
The thought that our embraces would have no dangerous result had put
Pauline at her ease, and she have reins to her ardent temperament,
while I did valiant service, till at last we were exhausted and the
last sacrifice was not entirely consummated. We abandoned ourselves
to a profound and peaceful sleep. I was the first to awake; the sun
was shining in through the window, and I gazed on Pauline. As I
looked at this woman, the first beauty in Portugal, the only child of
an illustrious family, who had given herself to me all for love, and
whom I should possess for so short a time, I could not restrain a
Pauline awoke, and her gaze, as bright as the rising sun in
springtime, fixed itself on me truthfully and lovingly.
"What are you thinking of, dearest?"
"I am trying to convince myself that my happiness is not a dream, and
if it be real I want it to last for ever. I am the happy mortal to
whom you have given up your great treasure, of which I am unworthy,
though I love you tenderly."
"Sweetheart, you are worthy of all my devotion and affection, if you
have not ceased to respect me."
"Can you doubt it, Pauline?"
"No, dearest, I think you love me, and that I shall never repent
having trusted in you."
The sweet sacrifice was offered again, and Pauline rose and laughed
to find that she was no longer ashamed of her nakedness before me.
Then, passing from jest to earnest, she said,--
"If the loss of shame is the result of knowledge, how was it that our
first parents were not ashamed till they had acquired knowledge?"
"I don't know, dearest, but tell me, did you ever ask your learned
Italian master that same question?"
"Yes, I did."
"What did he say?"
"That their shame arose not from their enjoyment, but from
disobedience; and that in covering the parts which had seduced them,
they discovered, as it were, the sin they had committed. Whatever
may be said on the subject, I shall always think that Adam was much
more to blame than Eve."
"How is that?"
"Because Adam had received the prohibition from God, while Eve had
only received it from Adam."
"I thought that both of them received the prohibition directly from
"You have not read Genesis, then."
"You are laughing at me."
"Then you have read it carelessly, because it is distinctly stated
that God made Eve after he had forbidden Adam to eat of the fruit."
"I wonder that point has not been remarked by our commentators; it
seems a very important one to me."
"They are a pack of knaves, all sworn enemies of women."
"No, no, they give proofs of quite another feeling only too often."
"We won't say anything more about it. My teacher was an honest man."
"Was he a Jesuit?"
"Yes, but of the short robe."
"What do you mean?"
"We will discuss the question another time."
"Very good; I should like to have it proved to me that a man can be a
Jesuit and honest at the same time."
"There are exceptions to all rules."
My Pauline was a profound thinker, and strongly attached to her
religion. I should never have discovered that she possessed this
merit if I had not slept with her. I have known several women of the
same stamp; if you wish to know the elevation of their souls, you
must begin by damning them. When this is done, one enjoys their
confidence, for they have no secrets for the happy victor. This is
the reason why the charming though feeble sex loves the brave and
despises the cowardly. Sometimes they appear to love cowards, but
always for their physical beauty. Women amuse themselves with such
fellows, but are the first to laugh if they get caned.
After the most delicious night I had ever passed, I resolved not to
leave my house till Pauline had to return to Portugal. She did not
leave me for a moment, save to hear mass on Sundays. I shut my door
to everybody, even to the doctor, for my sprain disappeared of
itself. I did not fail to inform Miss Chudleigh of my rapid cure;
she had sent twice a day ever since the accident to learn how I was.
Pauline went to her room after our amorous conflict, and I did not
see her again till dinner-time; but when I did see her I thought her
an angel. Her face had caught the hues of the lily and the rose, and
had an air of happiness I could not help admiring.
As we both wanted to have our portraits taken, I asked Martinelli to
send me the best miniature-painter in London. He sent a Jew, who
succeeded admirably. I had my miniature mounted in a ring and gave
it to Pauline; and this was the only present she would accept from
me, who would have thought myself all the richer if she had accepted
all I had.
We spent three weeks in a happy dream which no pen can describe. I
was quite well again, and we tasted all the sweets of love together.
All day and all night we were together, our desires were satisfied
only to be renewed; we enjoyed the extremest bliss. In a word, it is
difficult to form a just idea of the state of two individuals who
enjoy all the range of physical and mental pleasures together, whose
life is for the present without thought of the future; whose joys are
mutual and continual; such, nevertheless, was the position of myself
and my divine Pauline.
Every day I discovered in her some fresh perfection which made me
love her more; her nature was inexhaustible in its treasures, for her
mental qualities even surpassed her physical beauties, and an
excellent education had wonderfully increased the powers of her
intelligence. With all the beauty and grace of a woman she had that
exalted character which is the lot of the best of men. She began to
flatter herself that the fatal letter would never come, and the count
was little more than a dream of the past. Sometimes she would say
that she could not understand how a pretty face could exercise such a
strong influence over us in spite of our reason.
"I have found out too late," she added, "that chance alone can make a
marriage, contracted for such physical reasons, happy."
The 1st of August was a fatal day for both of us. Pauline received a
letter from Lisbon, which summoned her home without delay, and I had
a letter from Paris announcing the death of Madame d'Urfe. Madame du
Rumain told me that on the evidence of her maid the doctors had
pronounced her death to be due to an overdose of the liquid she
called "The Panacea." She added that a will had been found which
savoured of a lunatic asylum, for she had left all her wealth to the
son or daughter that should be born of her, declaring that she was
with child. I was to be the governor of the infant; this vexed me
exceedingly, as I knew I should be the laughing-stock of Paris for a
week at least. Her daughter, the Comtesse de Chatelet, had taken
possession of all her real estate and of her pocket-book, which
contained, to my surprise, four hundred thousand francs. It was a
great shock for me, but the contents of the two letters Pauline had
received was a greater blow. One was from her aunt, and the other
from Oeiras, who begged her to return to Lisbon as soon as possible,
and assured her that she should be put in possession of her property
on her arrival, and would be at liberty to marry Count Al---- in the
sight of all the world. He sent her a cheque for twenty million
reis. I was not aware of the small value of the coin, and was in an
ecstasy; but Pauline laughed, and said it only came to two thousand
pounds, which was a sufficient sum, however, to allow her to travel
in the style of a duchess. The minister wanted her to come by sea,
and all she had to do was to communicate with the Portuguese
ambassador, who had orders to give her a passage on a Portuguese
frigate which happened to be riding in an English port. Pauline
would not hear of the voyage, or of applying to the ambassador, for
she did not want anyone to think that she had been obliged to return.
She was angry with the minister for having sent her a cheque,
thinking that he must be aware that she had been in need, but I soon
brought her to see reason on this point, telling her that it was a
very thoughtful and delicate proceeding on the part of Oeiras, and
that he had merely lent-her the money, and not given it to her.
Pauline was rich, and she was a high-minded woman. Her generosity
may be estimated by her giving me her ring when she was in want, and
she certainly never counted on my purse, though she may have felt
sure that I would not abandon her. I am sure she believed me to be