Part 62 out of 70
us say no more about it. I will stay."
I went out more pained with her state than my own, and I felt that the
best thing I could do would be to forget her, "for," said I to myself,
"even if I do enjoy her once, Sunday will come again; she will confess,
repent, and I shall have to begin all over again. She confessed her
love, and flatters herself that she will be able to subdue it--a foolish
hope, which could only exist in a mind under the dominion of prejudice."
I came home at noon, and Don Diego dined with me; his daughter did not
appear till the dessert. I begged her to sit down, politely, but coldly.
Her father asked her jestingly if I had paid her a visit in the night.
"I never suspected Don Jaime of such a thing," she replied, "and I only
objected out of shyness."
I interrupted her by praising her modesty, and telling her that she would
have done quite right to beware of me, if my sense of duty had not been
stronger than any voluptuous desires inspired by her charms.
Don Diego pronounced this declaration of love as good as anything to be
found in the "Morte d'Arthur."
His daughter said I was laughing at her, but Don Diego said he was
certain that I was in earnest, and that I had known her before taking her
to the ball.
"You are utterly mistaken," said Donna Ignazia, with some degree of fire.
"Your father is wiser than you, senora," I replied.
"What! How and when did you see me?"
"At the church where I heard mass, and you communicated, when you went
out with your cousin. I followed you at some distance; you can guess the
She was speechless, and her father enjoyed the consciousness of his
"I am going to see the bull fight," said he; "it's a fine day, and all
Madrid will be there, so one must go early to get a good place. I advise
you to go, as you have never seen a bull fight; ask Don Jaime to take you
with him, Ignazia."
"Would you like to have my companionship?" said she, tenderly.
"Certainly I would, but you must bring your cousin, as I am in love with
Don Diego burst out laughing, but Ignazia said, slyly,
"It is not so impossible after all."
We went to see the splendid but barbarous spectacle in which Spaniards
take so much delight. The two girls placed themselves in front of the
only vacant box, and I sat behind on the second bench, which was a foot
and a half higher than the first. There were already two ladies there,
and much to my amusement one of them was the famous Duchess of
Villadorias. She was in front of me, and sat in such a position that her
head was almost between my legs. She recognized me, and said we were
fortunate in meeting one another; and then noticing Donna Ignazia, who
was close to her, she congratulated me in French on her charms, and asked
me whether she was my mistress or my wife. I replied that she was a
beauty before whom I sighed in vain. She replied, with a smile, that she
was rather a sceptical person; and turning to Donna Ignazia began a
pleasant and amorous discourse, thinking the girl to be as learned in the
laws of love as herself. She whispered something in her ear which made
Ignazia blush, and the duchess, becoming enthusiastic, told me I had
chosen the handsomest girl in Madrid, and that she would be delighted to
see us both at her country house.
I promised to come, as I was obliged to do, but I begged to be excused
naming the day. Nevertheless, she made me promise to call on her at four
o'clock the next day, telling me, much to my terror, that she would be
alone. She was pretty enough, but too notorious a character; and such a
visit would have given rise to talk.
Happily the fight began, and silence became general, for the Spaniards
are passionately devoted of bull fighting.
So much has been written on the subject that my readers will pardon my
giving a detailed account of the fight. I may say that the sport is, in
my opinion, a most barbarous one, and likely to operate unfavourably on
the national morals; the arena is sometimes drenched in the blood of
bulls, horses, and even of the unfortunate picadores and matadores, whose
sole defence is the red rag with which they irritate the bull.
When it was over I escorted the girls--who had enjoyed themselves
immensely--back to the house, and made the ugly cousin stay to supper, as
I foresaw that they would again sleep together.
We supped together, but it was a melancholy affair, for Don Diego was
away, and I did not feel in the humour to amuse my company.
Donna Ignazia became pensive when, in reply to a question of hers, I said
that it would be absolutely rude of me not to go to the duchess's.
"You will come with me some day," I added, "to dine at her country
"You need not look for that."
"Because she is a madwoman. She talked to me in a way that would have
offended me if I did not know that she fancied she was honouring me by
laying aside her rank."
We rose from table, and after I had dismissed my man we sat on the
balcony to wait for Don Diego and to enjoy the delicious evening breezes.
As we sat near to each other in the twilight, so favourable to lovers'
vows, I looked into Donna Ignazia's eyes, and saw there that my hour had
come. I clasped her to me with one arm, I clung with my lips to hers,
and by the way she trembled I guessed the flame which consumed her.
"Will you go and see the duchess?"
"No, if you will promise me not to go to confession next Sunday."
"But what will he say if I do not go?"
"Nothing at all, if he understands his business. But let us talk it over
We were so tightly clasped together that the cousin, like a good girl,
left us, and went to the other end of the balcony, taking care to look
away from us.
Without changing my position, in spite of the temptation to do so, I
asked her if she felt in the humour to repent of the sin she was ready to
"I was not thinking of repentance just then, but as you remind me of it,
I must tell you that I shall certainly go to confession."
"And after you have been to confession will you love me as you love me
"I hope God will give me strength to offend Him no more."
"I assure you that if you continue loving me God will not give you grace,
yet I feel sure that on Sunday evening you will refuse me that which you
are now ready to grant."
"Indeed I will, sweetheart; but why should we talk of that now?"
"Because if I abandon myself to pleasure now I shall be more in love with
you than ever, and consequently more unhappy than ever, when the day of
your repentance comes. So promise me that you will not go to confession
whilst I remain at Madrid, or give the fatal order now, and bid me leave
you. I cannot abandon myself to love to-day knowing that it will be
refused me on Sunday."
As I remonstrated thus, I clasped her affectionately in my arms,
caressing her most ardently; but before coming to the decisive action I
asked her again whether she would promise not to go to confession next
"You are cruel," said she, "I cannot make you that promise for my
At this reply, which I had quite expected, I remained motionless, feeling
sure that she must be in a state of desperate irritation at the work half
begun and not concluded. I, too, suffered, for I was at the door of the
sanctuary, and a slight movement would have sent me into the inmost
shrine; but I knew that her torments must be greater than mine, and that
she could not resist long.
Donna Ignazia was indeed in a terrible state; I had not repulsed her, but
I was perfectly inactive. Modesty prevented her asking me openly to
continue, but she redoubled her caresses, and placed herself in an easier
position, reproaching me with my cruelty. I do not know whether I could
have held out much longer, but just then the cousin turned round and told
us that Don Diego was coming in.
We hastened to arrange our toilette, and to sit in a decent position.
The cousin came up to us, and Don Diego, after making a few remarks, left
us on the balcony, wishing us a good night. I might have begun over
again, but I clung to my system of repression, and after wishing the
girls good night with a melancholy air, I went to bed.
I hoped Donna Ignazia would repent and come and keep me company, but I
was disappointed. They left their room early in the morning, and at noon
Don Diego came to dine with me, saying his daughter had such a bad
headache that she had not even gone to mass.
"We must get her to eat something."
"No, I think abstinence will do her good, and in the evening I daresay
she will be able to sup with you."
I went to keep her company by her bedside after I had taken my siesta.
I did my best for three hours to convince her of her folly; but she kept
her eyes closed, and said nothing, only sighing when I said something
I left her to walk in St. Jerome's Park, and told her that if she did not
sup with me I should understand that she did not wish to see me again.
This threat had its effect. She came to table at supper-time, but she
looked pale and exhausted. She ate little, and said nothing, for she
knew not what to say. I saw that she was suffering, and I pitied her
from my heart.
Before going to bed she asked me if I had been to see the duchess. She
seemed somewhat cheered when I answered in the negative. I told her that
she might satisfy herself of the truth of my reply by asking Philippe,
who had taken my note begging her grace to excuse me for that day.
"But will you go another day?"
"No, dearest, because I see it would grieve you."
She gave a sigh of content, and I embraced her gently, and she left me as
sad as I was.
I could see that what I asked of her was a great deal; but I had good
grounds for hope, as I knew her ardent disposition. It was not God and I
that were disputing for her, but her confessor and I. If she had not
been a Catholic I should have won her the first day.
She had told me that she would get into trouble with her confessor if she
did not go to him as usual; she had too much of fine Spanish honour in
her to tell him what was not true, or to endeavour to combine her love
with her religion.
The Friday and the Saturday passed without any events of consequence.
Her father, who could not blind himself to our love any longer, trusted,
I suppose, to his daughter's virtue, and made her dine and sup with me
every day. On Saturday evening Donna Ignazia left me sadder than ever,
and turned her head away when I would have kissed her as usual.
I saw what was the matter; she was going to communicate the next day.
I admired her consistency, in spite of myself, and pitied her heartily;
for I could guess the storm that must be raging in her breast. I began
to repent having demanded all, and wished I had been contented with a
I wished to be satisfied with my own eyes, and got up early on Sunday
morning and followed her. I knew that she would call for her cousin, so
I went on to the church. I placed myself by the sacristy-door, where I
could see without being seen.
I waited a quarter of an hour, then they came in, and after kneeling down
for a few moments, separated, each going to her own confessor.
I only noticed Donna Ignazia; I saw her going to the confessional, and
the confessor turning towards her.
I waited patiently. I thought the confession would never come to an end.
"What is he saying?" I repeated to myself as I saw the confessor speaking
to her now and again.
I could bear it no longer, and I was on the point of going away when I
saw her rise from her knees.
Donna Ignazia, looking like a saint, came to kneel in the church, but out
of my sight. I thought she would come forward to receive the Holy
Communion at the end of the Mass that was being said, but instead of that
she went towards the door, rejoined her cousin and they left the church.
I was astonished. My heart was seized with a pang of remorse.
"It's all over," I said to myself. "The poor girl has made a sincere and
full confession, she has avowed her love, and the priest's cruel duty has
made him refuse her absolution.
"All is lost. What will come of it?"
"My peace of mind and hers require me to leave her.
"Wretch that I am, to have lost all for all! I should have made allowance
for the peculiar Spanish character.
"I might have enjoyed her by surprise now and again; the difficulty would
have added piquancy to the intrigue. I have behaved as if I were once
more twenty, and I have lost all.
"At dinner she will be all sad and tearful. I must find some way out of
this terrible situation."
Thus soliloquising, I came home ill pleased with the line of conduct I
My hairdresser was waiting for me, but I sent him away, and told my cook
not to serve my dinner till I ordered it; then, feeling the need of rest,
I flung myself on my bed and slept profoundly till one o'clock.
I got up and ordered dinner to be brought in, and sent a message to the
father and daughter that I was expecting them.
My surprise may be imagined when Donna Ignazia appeared in a costume of
black velvet, adorned with ribbons and lace. In my opinion there is no
more seductive costume in Europe when the wearer is pretty.
I also noticed that every feature of her face breathed peace and calm; I
had never seen her looking so well, and I could not help congratulating
her. She replied with a smile, and I gave her a kiss, which she took as
meekly as a lamb.
Philippe arrived, and we sat down to table. I saw that my fair
sweetheart had crossed the Rubicon; the day was won.
"I am going to be happy," said she, "but let us say nothing, and it will
come of itself."
However, I did not conceal my bliss, and made love to her whenever the
servant was out of the room. She was not only submissive, but even
Before we left the table she asked me if I still loved her.
"More than ever, darling; I adore you."
"Then take me to the bull fight."
"Quick! Fetch the hairdresser."
When my hair was done I made an elaborate toilette, and burning with
impatience we set out on foot, as I was afraid we should not secure a
good place if we waited till the carriage was ready. We found a fine box
with only two persons in it, and Ignazia, after glancing round, said she
was glad that the detestable duchess was not anywhere near us.
After some fine sport my mistress begged me to take her to the Prado,
where all the best people in Madrid are to be seen.
Donna Ignazia leant on my arm, seemed proud to be thought mine, and
filled me with delight.
All at once we met the Venetian ambassador and his favourite, Manucci.
They had just arrived from Aranjuez. We greeted each other with due
Spanish politeness, and the ambassador paid me a high compliment on the
beauty of my companion. Donna Ignazia pretended not to understand, but
she pressed my arm with Spanish delicacy.
After walking a short distance with us M. de Mocenigo said he hoped I
would dine with him on the following day, and after I had nodded
acquiescence in the French style we parted.
Towards the evening we took some ices and returned home, and the gentle
pressure of my arm on the way prepared me for the bliss I was to enjoy.
We found Don Diego on the balcony waiting for us. He congratulated his
daughter on her pleasant appearance and the pleasure she must have taken
in my society.
Charmed with papa's good humour, I asked him to sup with us, and he
accepted, and amused us with his witty conversation and a multitude of
little tales that pleased me exceedingly. He made the following speech
on leaving us, which I give word for word, but I cannot give the reader
any idea of the inimitable Spanish gravity with which it was delivered.
"Amigo Senior Don Jaime, I leave you here to enjoy the cool air with my
daughter. I am delighted at your loving her, and you may be assured that
I shall place no obstacle in the way of your becoming my son-in-law as
soon as you can shew your titles of nobility."
When he was gone, I said to his daughter,--
"I should be only too happy, if it could be managed; but you must know
that in my country they only are called nobles who have an hereditary
right to rule the state. If I had been born in Spain I should be noble,
but as it is I adore you, and I hope you will make me happy."
"Yes, dearest, but we must be happy together; I cannot suffer any
"I give you my word of honour that I will be wholly faithful to you."
"Come then, 'corazon mio', let us go in."
"No, let us put out the lights, and stay here a quarter of an hour. Tell
me, my angel, whence comes this unexpected happiness?"
"You owe it to a piece of tyranny which drove me to desperation. God is
good, and I am sure He would not have me become my own executioner. When
I told my confessor that I could not help loving you, but that I could
restrain myself from all excess of love, he replied that this self-
confidence was misplaced, as I had already fallen. He wanted me to
promise never to be alone with you again, and on my refusing to do so he
would not give me absolution.
"I have never had such a piece of shame cast on me, but I laid it all in
the hands of God, and said, 'Thy will be done.'
"Whilst I heard mass my mind was made up, and as long as you love me I
shall be yours, and yours only. When you leave Spain and abandon me to
despair, I shall find another confessor. My conscience holds me
guiltless; this is my comfort. My cousin, whom I have told all, is
astonished, but then she is not very clever."
After this declaration, which put me quite at my ease, and would have
relieved me of any scruples if I had had them, I took her to my bed. In
the morning, she left me tired out, but more in love with her than ever.
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6b--EXPELLED FROM SPAIN
THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN TO
WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.
EXPELLED FROM SPAIN
I Make a Mistake and Manucci Becomes My Mortal Foe--His Vengeance--
I Leave Madrid--Saragossa--Valentia--Nina--I Arrive at Barcelona
If these Memoirs, only written to console me in the dreadful weariness
which is slowly killing me in Bohemia--and which, perhaps, would kill me
anywhere, since, though my body is old, my spirit and my desires are as
young as ever--if these Memoirs are ever read, I repeat, they will only
be read when I am gone, and all censure will be lost on me.
Nevertheless, seeing that men are divided into two sections, the one and
by far the greater composed of the ignorant and superficial, and the
other of the learned and reflective, I beg to state that it is to the
latter I would appeal. Their judgment, I believe, will be in favour of
my veracity, and, indeed, why should I not be veracious? A man can have
no object in deceiving himself, and it is for myself that I chiefly
Hitherto I have spoken nothing but the truth, without considering whether
the truth is in my favour or no. My book is not a work of dogmatic
theology, but I do not think it will do harm to anyone; while I fancy
that those who know how to imitate the bee and to get honey from every
flower will be able to extract some good from the catalogue of my vices
After this digression (it may be too long, but that is my business and
none other's), I must confess that never have I had so unpleasant a truth
to set down as that which I am going to relate. I committed a fatal act
of indiscretion--an act which after all these years still gives my heart
a pang as I think of it.
The day after my conquest I dined with the Venetian ambassador, and I had
the pleasure of hearing that all the ministers and grandees with whom I
had associated had the highest possible opinion of me. In three or four
days the king, the royal family, and the ministers would return to town,
and I expected to have daily conferences with the latter respecting the
colony in the Sierra Morena, where I should most probably be going.
Manucci, who continued to treat me as a valued friend, proposed to
accompany me on my journey, and would bring with him an adventuress, who
called herself Porto-Carrero, pretending to be the daughter or niece of
the late cardinal of that name, and thus obtained a good deal of
consideration; though in reality she was only the mistress of the French
consul at Madrid, the Abbe Bigliardi.
Such was the promising state of my prospects when my evil genius brought
to Madrid a native of Liege, Baron de Fraiture, chief huntsman of the
principality, and a profligate, a gamester, and a cheat, like all those
who proclaim their belief in his honesty nowadays.
I had unfortunately met him at Spa, and told him I was was going to
Portugal. He had come after me, hoping to use me as a means of getting
into good society, and of filling his pocket with the money of the dupes
he aspired to make.
Gamesters have never had any proof of my belonging to their infernal
clique, but they have always persisted in believing that I too am a
As soon as this baron heard that I was in Madrid he called on me, and by
dint of politeness obliged me to receive him. I thought any small
civilities I might shew or introductions I might give could do me no
harm. He had a travelling companion to whom he introduced me. He was a
fat, ignorant fellow, but a Frenchman, and therefore agreeable. A
Frenchman who knows how to present himself, who is well dressed, and has
the society air, is usually accepted without demur or scrutiny. He had
been a cavalry captain, but had been fortunate enough to obtain an
Four or five days after his appearance the baron asked me quietly enough
to lend him a score of louis, as he was hard up. I replied as quietly,
thanking him for treating me as a friend, but informing him that I really
could not lend him the money, as I wanted what little I had for my own
"But we can do good business together, and you cannot possibly be
"I do not know anything about good business, but I do know that I want my
money and cannot part with it."
"We are at our wits' end to quiet our landlord; come and speak to him."
"If I were to do so I should do you more harm than good. He would ask me
if I would answer for you, and I should reply that you are one of those
noblemen who stand in need of no surety. All the same, the landlord
would think that if I did not stand your surety, it must be from my
entertaining doubts as to your solvency."
I had introduced Fraiture to Count Manucci, on the Pando, and he
requested me to take him to see the count, to which request I was foolish
enough to accede.
A few days later the baron opened his soul to Manucci.
He found the Venetian disposed to be obliging, but wary. He refused to
lend money himself, but introduced the baron to someone who lent him
money on pledges without interest.
The baron and his friend did a little gaming and won a little money, but
I held aloof from them to the best of my ability.
I had my colony and Donna Ignazia, and wanted to live peacefully; and if
I had spent a single night away from home, the innocent girl would have
been filled with alarm.
About that time M. de Mocenigo went as ambassador to France, and was
replaced by M. Querini. Querini was a man of letters, while Mocenigo
only liked music and his own peculiar kind of love.
The new ambassador was distinctly favourable to me, and in a few days I
had reason to believe that he would do more for me than ever Mocenigo
would have done.
In the meanwhile, the baron and his friend began to think of beating a
retreat to France. There was no gaming at the ambassador's and no gaming
at the Court; they must return to France, but they owed money to their
landlord, and they wanted money for the journey. I could give them
nothing, Manucci would give them nothing; we both pitied them, but our
duty to ourselves made us cruel to everyone else. However, he brought
trouble on us.
One morning Manucci came to see me in evident perturbation.
"What is the matter?" said I.
"I do not know exactly. For the last week I have refused to see the
Baron Fraiture, as not being able to give him money, his presence only
wearied me. He has written me a letter, in which he threatens to blow
out his brains to-day if I will not lend him a hundred pistoles."
"He said the same thing to me three days ago; but I replied that I would
bet two hundred pistoles that he would do nothing of the kind. This made
him angry, and he proposed to fight a duel with me; but I declined on the
plea that as he was a desperate man either he would have an advantage
over me or I, over him. Give him the same answer, or, better still, no
answer at all."
"I cannot follow your advice. Here are the hundred pistoles. Take them
to him and get a receipt."
I admired his generosity and agreed to carry out his commission. I
called on the baron, who seemed rather uncomfortable when I walked in;
but considering his position I was not at all surprised.
I informed him that I was the bearer of a thousand francs from Count
Manucci, who thereby placed him in a position to arrange his affairs and
to leave Madrid. He received the money without any signs of pleasure,
surprise, or gratitude, and wrote out the receipt. He assured me that he
and his friend would start for Barcelona and France on the following day.
I then took the document to Manucci, who was evidently suffering from
some mental trouble; and I remained to dinner with the ambassador. It
was for the last time.
Three days after I went to dine with the ambassadors (for they all dined
together), but to my astonishment the porter told me that he had received
orders not to admit me.
The effect of this sentence on me was like that of a thunderbolt; I
returned home like a man in a dream. I immediately sat down and wrote to
Manucci, asking him why I had been subjected to such an insult; but
Philippe, my man, brought me back the letter unopened.
This was another surprise; I did not know what to expect next.
"What can be the matter?" I said to myself. "I cannot imagine, but I
will have an explanation, or perish."
I dined sadly with Donna Ignazia, without telling her the cause of my
trouble, and just as I was going to take my siesta a servant of Manucci's
brought me a letter from his master and fled before I could read it.
The letter contained an enclosure which I read first. It was from Baron
de Fraiture. He asked Manucci to lend him a hundred pistoles, promising
to shew him the man whom he held for his dearest friend to be his worst
Manucci (honouring me, by the way, with the title of ungrateful traitor)
said that the baron's letter had excited his curiosity and he he had met
him in St. Jerome's Park, where the baron had clearly proved this enemy
to be myself, since I had informed the baron that though the name of
Manucci was genuine the title of count was quite apocryphal.
After recapitulating the information which Fraiture had given him, and
which could only have proceeded from myself, he advised me to leave
Madrid as soon as possible, in a week at latest.
I can give the reader no idea of the shock this letter gave me. For the
first time in my life I had to confess myself guilty of folly,
ingratitude, and crime. I felt that my fault was beyond forgiveness, and
did not think of asking Manucci to pardon me; I could do nothing but
Nevertheless, in spite of Manucci's just indignation, I could not help
seeing that he had made a great mistake in advising me, in so insulting a
manner, to leave Madrid in a week. The young man might have known that
my self-respect would forbid my following such a piece of advice. He
could not compel me to obey his counsel or command; and to leave Madrid
would have been to commit a second baseness worse than the first.
A prey to grief I spent the day without taking any steps one way or the
other, and I went to bed without supping and without the company of Donna
After a sound sleep I got up and wrote to the friend whom I had offended
a sincere and humble confession of my fault. I concluded my letter by
saying that I hoped that this evidence of my sincere and heartfelt
repentance would suffice, but if not that I was ready to give him any
honourable satisfaction in my power.
"You may," I said, "have me assassinated if you like, but I shall not
leave Madrid till its suits me to do so."
I put a commonplace seal on my letter, and had the address written by
Philippe, whose hand was unknown to Manucci, and then I sent it to Pando
where the king had gone.
I kept my room the whole day; and Donna Ignazia, seeing that I had
recovered my spirits to some degree, made no more enquiries about the
cause of my distress. I waited in the whole of the next day, expecting a
reply, but in vain.
The third day, being Sunday, I went out to call on the Prince della
Catolica. My carriage stopped at his door, but the porter came out and
told me in a polite whisper that his highness had his reasons for not
receiving me any longer.
This was an unexpected blow, but after it I was prepared for anything.
I drove to the Abbe Bigliardi, but the lackey, after taking in my name,
informed me that his master was out.
I got into my carriage and went to Varnier, who said he wanted to speak
"Come into my carriage," said I, "we will go and hear mass together."
On our way he told me that the Venetian ambassador, Mocenigo, had warned
the Duke of Medina Sidonia that I was a dangerous character.
"The duke," he added, "replied that he would cease to know you as soon as
he found out the badness of your character himself."
These three shocks, following in such quick succession, cast me into a
state of confusion. I said nothing till we heard mass together, but I
believe that if I had not then told him the whole story I should have had
an apoplectic fit.
Varnier pitied me, and said,--
"Such are the ways of the great when they have abjured all virtue and
honesty. Nevertheless, I advise you to keep silence about it, unless you
would irritate Manucci still farther."
When I got home I wrote to Manucci begging him to suspend his vengeance,
or else I should be obliged to tell the story to all those who insulted
me for the ambassador's sake. I sent the letter to M. Soderini, the
secretary of the embassy, feeling sure that he would forward it to
I dined with my mistress, and took her to the bull fight, where I chanced
to find myself in a box adjoining that in which Manucci and the two
ambassadors were seated. I made them a bow which they were obliged to
return, and did not vouchsafe them another glance for the rest of the
The next day the Marquis Grimaldi refused to receive me, and I saw that I
should have to abandon all hope. The Duke of Lossada remained my friend
on account of his dislike to the ambassador and his unnatural tastes; but
he told me that he had been requested not to receive me, and that he did
not think I had the slightest chance of obtaining any employment at
I could scarcely believe in such an extremity of vengeance: Manucci was
making a parade of the influence he possessed over his wife the
ambassador. In his insane desire for revenge he had laid all shame
I was curious to know whether he had forgotten Don Emmanuel de Roda and
the Marquis de la Moras; I found both of them had been forewarned against
me. There was still the Count of Aranda, and I was just going to see him
when a servant of his highness's came and told me that his master wished
to see me.
I shuddered, for in my then state of mind I drew the most sinister
conclusions from the message.
I found the great man alone, looking perfectly calm. This made me pluck
up a heart. He asked me to sit down--a favour he had not hitherto done
me, and this further contributed to cheer me.
"What have you been doing to offend your ambassador?" he began.
"My lord, I have done nothing to him directly, but by an inexcusable act
of stupidity I have wounded his dear friend Manucci in his tenderest
part. With the most innocent intentions I reposed my confidence in a
cowardly fellow, who sold it to Manucci for a hundred pistoles. In his
irritation, Manucci has stirred up the great man against me: 'hinc illae
"You have been unwise, but what is done is done. I am sorry for you,
because there is an end to all your hopes of advancement. The first
thing the king would do would be to make enquiries about you of the
"I feel it to my sorrow, my lord, but must I leave Madrid?"
"No. The ambassador did his best to make me send you way, but I told him
that I had no power over you so long as you did not infringe the laws."
"'He has calumniated a Venetian subject whom I am bound to protect,' said
"'In that case,' I replied, 'you can resort to the ordinary law, and
punish him to the best of your ability.'"
"The ambassador finally begged me to order you not to mention the matter
to any Venetian subjects at Madrid, and I think you can safely promise me
"My lord, I have much pleasure in giving your excellency my word of
honour not to do so."
"Very good. Then you can stay at Madrid as long as you please; and,
indeed, Mocenigo will be leaving in the course of a week."
From that moment I made up my mind to amuse myself without any thought of
obtaining a position in Spain. However, the ties of friendship made me
keep up my acquaintance with Varnier, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and the
architect, Sabatini, who always gave me a warm welcome, as did his wife.
Donna Ignazia had more of my company than ever, and congratulated me on
my freedom from the cares of business.
After the departure of Mocenigo I thought I would go and see if Querini,
his nephew, was equally prejudiced against me. The porter told me that
he had received orders not to admit me, and I laughed in the man's face.
Six or seven weeks after Manucci's departure I, too, left Madrid. I did
so on compulsion, in spite of my love for Ignazia, for I had no longer
hopes of doing anything in Portugal, and my purse was nearly exhausted.
I thought of selling a handsome repeater and a gold snuff-box so as to
enable me to go to Marseilles, whence I thought of going to
Constantinople and trying my fortune there without turning renegade.
Doubtless, I should have found the plan unsuccessful, for I was attaining
an age when Fortune flies. I had no reason, however, to complain of
Fortune, for she had been lavish in her gifts to me, and I in my turn had
always abused them.
In my state of distress the learned Abbe Pinzi introduced me to a Genoese
bookseller, named Carrado, a thoroughly honest man, who seemed to have
been created that the knavery of most of the Genoese might be pardoned.
To him I brought my watch and snuff-box, but the worthy Carrado not only
refused to buy them, but would not take them in pledge. He gave me
seventeen hundred francs with no other security than my word that I would
repay him if I were ever able to do so. Unhappily I have never been able
to repay this debt, unless my gratitude be accounted repayment.
As nothing is sweeter than the companionship between a man and the woman
he adores, so nothing is bitterer than the separation; the pleasure has
vanished away, and only the pain remains.
I spent my last days at Madrid drinking the cup of pleasure which was
embittered by the thought of the pain that was to follow. The worthy
Diego was sad at the thought of losing me, and could with difficulty
refrain from tears.
For some time my man Philippe continued to give me news of Donna Ignazia.
She became the bride of a rich shoemaker, though her father was extremely
mortified by her making a marriage so much beneath her station.
I had promised the Marquis de las Moras and Colonel Royas that I would
come and see them at Saragossa, the capital of Aragon, and I arrived
there at the beginning of September. My stay lasted for a fortnight,
during which time I was able to examine the manners and customs of the
Aragonese, who were not subject to the ordinances of the Marquis of
Aranda, as long cloaks and low hats were to be seen at every corner.
They looked like dark phantoms more than men, for the cloak covered up at
least half the face. Underneath the cloak was carried el Spadino, a
sword of enormous length. Persons who wore this costume were treated
with great respect, though they were mostly arrant rogues; still they
might possibly be powerful noblemen in disguise.
The visitor to Saragossa should see the devotion which is paid to our
Lady del Pilar. I have seen processions going along the streets in which
wooden statues of gigantic proportions were carried. I was taken to the
best assemblies, where the monks swarmed. I was introduced to a lady of
monstrous size, who, I was informed, was cousin to the famous Palafox,
and I did not feel my bosom swell with pride as was evidently expected.
I also made the acquaintance of Canon Pignatelli, a man of Italian
origin. He was President of the Inquisition, and every morning he
imprisoned the procuress who had furnished him with the girl with whom he
had supped and slept. He would wake up in the morning tired out with the
pleasures of the night; the girl would be driven away and the procuress
imprisoned. He then dressed, confessed, said mass, and after an
excellent breakfast with plenty of good wine he would send out for
another girl, and this would go on day after day. Nevertheless, he was
held in great respect at Saragossa, for he was a monk, a canon, and an
The bull fights were finer at Saragossa than at Madrid--that is to say,
they were deadlier; and the chief interest of this barbarous spectacle
lies in the shedding of blood. The Marquis de las Moras and Colonel
Royas gave me some excellent dinners. The marquis was one of the
pleasantest men I met in Spain; he died very young two years after.
The Church of Nuestra Senora del Pilar is situated on the ramparts of the
town, and the Aragonese fondly believe this portion of the town defences
to be impregnable.
I had promised Donna Pelliccia to go and see her at Valentia, and on my
way I saw the ancient town of Saguntum on a hill at some little distance.
There was a priest travelling with me and I told him and the driver (who
preferred his mules to all the antiquities in the world) that I should
like to go and see the town. How the muleteer and the priest objected to
"There are only ruins there, senor."
"That's just what I want to see."
"We shall never get to Valentia to-night."
"Here's a crown; we shall get there to-morrow."
The crown settled everything, and the man exclaimed,
"Valga me Dios, es un hombre de buen!" (So help me God, this is an honest
man!) A subject of his Catholic majesty knows no heartier praise than
I saw the massive walls still standing and in good condition, and yet
they were built during the second Punic War. I saw on two of the
gateways inscriptions which to me were meaningless, but which Seguier,
the old friend of the Marquis Maffei, could no doubt have deciphered.
The sight of this monument to the courage of an ancient race, who
preferred to perish in the flames rather than surrender, excited my awe
and admiration. The priest laughed at me, and I am sure he would not
have purchased this venerable city of the dead if he could have done so
by saying a mass. The very name has perished; instead of Saguntum it is
called Murviedro from the Latin 'muri veteres' (old walls); but Time that
destroys marble and brass destroys also the very memory of what has been.
"This place," said the priest, "is always called Murviedro."
"It is ridiculous to do so," I replied; "common sense forbids us calling
a thing old which was once young enough. That's as if you would tell me
that New Castille is really new."
"Well, Old Castille is more ancient than New Castille."
"No so. New Castille was only called so because it was the latest
conquest; but as a matter of fact it is the older of the two."
The poor priest took refuge in silence; shaking his head, and evidently
taking me for a madman.
I tried vainly to find Hannibal's head, and the inscription in honour of
Caesar Claudius, but I found out the remains of the amphitheatre.
The next day I remarked the mosaic pavement, which had been discovered
twenty years before.
I reached Valentia at nine o'clock in the morning, and found that I
should have to content myself with a bad lodging, as Marescalchi, the
opera manager, had taken all the best rooms for the members of his
company. Marescalchi was accompanied by his brother, a priest, whom I
found decidedly learned for his age. We took a walk together, and he
laughed when I proposed going into a cafe, for there was not such a thing
in the town. There were only taverns of the lowest class where the wine
is not fit to drink. I could scarcely believe it, but Spain is a
peculiar country. When I was at Valentia, a good bottle of wine was
scarcely obtainable, though Malaga and Alicante were both close at hand.
In the first three days of my stay at Valentia (the birthplace of
Alexander VI.), I saw all the objects of interest in the town, and was
confirmed in my idea that what seems so admirable in the descriptions of
writers and the pictures of artists loses much of its charm on actual
Though Valentia is blessed with an excellent climate, though it is well
watered, situated in the midst of a beautiful country, fertile in all the
choicest products of nature, though it is the residence of many of the
most distinguished of the Spanish nobility, though its women are the most
handsome in Spain, though it has the advantage of being the seat of an
archbishop; in spite of all these commodities, it is a most disagreeable
town to live in. One is ill lodged and ill fed, there is no good wine
and no good company, there is not even any intellectual provision, for
though there is a university, lettered men are absolutely unknown.
As for the bridges, churches, the arsenal, the exchange, the town hall,
the twelve town gates, and the rest, I could not take pleasure in a town
where the streets are not paved, and where a public promenade is
conspicuous by its absence. Outside the town the country is delightful,
especially on the side towards the sea; but the outside is not the
The feature which pleased me most was the number of small one-horse
vehicles which transport the traveller rapidly from one point to another,
at a very slight expense, and will even undertake a two or three days'
If my frame of mind had been a more pleasant one, I should have travelled
through the kingdoms of Murcia and Grenada, which surpass Italy in beauty
Poor Spaniards! This beauty and fertility of your land are the cause of
your ignorance, as the mines of Peru and Potosi have brought about that
foolish pride and all the prejudices which degrade you.
Spaniards, when will the impulse come? when will you shake off that fatal
lethargy? Now you are truly useless to yourselves, and the rest of the
world; what is it you need?
A furious revolution, a terrible shock, a conquest of regeneration; your
case is past gentle methods, it needs the cautery and the fire.
The first call I paid was on Donna Pelliccia. The first performance was
to be given in two days. This was not a matter of any difficulty, as the
same operas were to be presented as had been already played at Aranjuez,
the Escurial, and the Granja, for the Count of Aranda would never have
dared to sanction the performance of an Italian comic opera at Madrid.
The novelty would have been too great, and the Inquisition would have
The balls were a considerable shock, and two years after they were
suppressed. Spain will never make any real advance, until the
Inquisition is suppressed also.
As soon as Donna Pelliccia arrived, she sent in the letter of
introduction she had received from the Duke of Arcos, three months
before. She had not seen the duke since their meeting at Aranjuez.
Madam," said Don Diego, the person to whom she was commended, "I have
come to offer you my services, and to tell you of the orders his grace
has laid on me, of which you may possibly be ignorant."
"I hope, sir," she replied, "that I am not putting you to any
inconvenience, but I am extremely grateful to the duke and to yourself;
and I shall have the honour of calling on you to give you my thanks."
"Not at all; I have only to say that I have orders to furnish you with
any sums you may require, to the amount of twenty-five thousand
"Twenty-five thousand doubloons?"
"Exactly, madam, two hundred and fifty thousand francs in French money,
and no more. Kindly read his grace's letter; you do not seem to be aware
of its contents."
The letter was a brief one:
"Don Diego,--You will furnish Donna Pelliccia with whatever sums she may
require, not exceeding twenty-five thousand doubloons, at my account.
"THE DUKE DOS ARCOS"
We remained in a state of perfect stupefaction. Donna Pelliccia returned
the epistle to the banker, who bowed and took his leave.
This sounds almost incredible generosity, but in Spain such things are
not uncommon. I have already mentioned the munificent gift of Medina-
Celi to Madame Pichona.
Those who are unacquainted with the peculiar Spanish character and the
vast riches of some of the nobility, may pronounce such acts of
generosity to be ridiculous and positively injurious, but they make a
mistake. The spendthrift gives and squanders by a kind of instinct, and
so he will continue to do as long as his means remain. But these
splendid gifts I have described do not come under the category of
senseless prodigality. The Spaniard is chiefly ambitious of praise, for
praise he will do anything; but this very desire for admiration serves to
restrain him from actions by which he would incur blame. He wants to be
thought superior to his fellows, as the Spanish nation is superior to all
other nations; he wants to be thought worthy of a throne, and to be
considered as the possessor of all the virtues.
I may also note that while some of the Spanish nobility are as rich as
the English lords, the former have not so many ways of spending their
money as the latter, and thus are enabled to be heroically generous on
As soon as Don Diego had gone, we began to discuss the duke's noble
Donna Pelliccia maintained that the duke had wished to shew his
confidence in her by doing her the honour of supposing her incapable of
abusing his generosity; "at all events," she concluded, "I would rather
die of hunger than take a single doubloon of Don Diego."
"The duke would be offended," said a violinist; "I think you ought to
"You must take it all," said the husband.
I was of the lady's opinion, and told her that I was sure the duke would
reward her delicacy by making her fortune.
She followed my advice and her own impulse, though the banker
remonstrated with her.
Such is the perversity of the human mind that no one believed in Donna
Pelliccia's delicacy. When the king heard what had happened he ordered
the worthy actress to leave Madrid, to prevent the duke ruining himself.
Such is often the reward of virtue here below, but the malicious persons
who had tried to injure Donna Pelliccia by calumniating her to the king
were the means of making her fortune.
The duke who had only spoken once or twice to the actress in public, and
had never spent a penny on her, took the king's command as an insult, and
one not to be borne. He was too proud to solicit the king to revoke the
order he had given, and in the end behaved in a way befitting so noble-
minded a man. For the first time he visited Donna Pelliccia at her own
house, and begging her to forgive him for having been the innocent cause
of her disgrace, asked her to accept a rouleau and a letter which he laid
on the table.
The rouleau contained a hundred gold ounces with the words "for
travelling expenses," and the letter was addressed to a Roman bank, and
proved to be an order for twenty-four thousand Roman crowns.
For twenty-nine years this worthy woman kept an establishment at Rome,
and did so in a manner which proved her worthy of her good fortune.
The day after Donna Pelliccia's departure the king saw the Duke of Arcos,
and told him not to be sad, but to forget the woman, who had been sent
away for his own good.
"By sending her away, your majesty obliged me to turn fiction into fact,
for I only knew her by speaking to her in various public places, and I
had never made her the smallest present."
"Then you never gave her twenty-five thousand doubloons?"
"Sire, I gave her double that sum, but only on the day before yesterday.
Your majesty has absolute power, but if she had not received her
dismissal I should never have gone to her house, nor should I have given
her the smallest present."
The king was stupefied and silent; he was probably meditating on the
amount of credit a monarch should give to the gossip that his courtiers
I heard about this from M. Monnino, who was afterwards known under the
title of Castille de Florida Blanca, and is now living in exile in
Murcia, his native country.
After Marescalchi had gone, and I was making my preparations for my
journey to Barcelona, I saw one day, at the bull fight, a woman whose
appearance had a strange kind of fascination about it.
There was a knight of Alcantara at my side, and I asked him who the lady
"She is the famous Nina."
"If you do not know her story, it is too long to be told here."
I could not help gazing at her, and two minutes later an ill-looking
fellow beside her came up to my companion and whispered something in his
The knight turned towards me and informed me in the most polite manner
that the lady whose name I had asked desired to know mine.
I was silly enough to be flattered by her curiosity, and told the
messenger that if the lady would allow me I would come to her box and
tell her my name in person after the performance.
"From your accent I should suppose you were an Italian."
"I am a Venetian."
"So is she."
When he had gone away my neighbour seemed inclined to be more
communicative, and informed me that Nina was a dancer whom the Count de
Ricla, the Viceroy of Barcelona, was keeping for some weeks at Valentia,
till he could get her back to Barcelona, whence the bishop of the diocese
had expelled her on account of the scandals to which she gave rise. "The
count," he added, "is madly in love with her, and allows her fifty
doubloons a day."
"I should hope she does not spend them."
"She can't do that, but she does not let a day pass without committing
some expensive act of folly."
I felt curious to know a woman of such a peculiar character, and longed
for the end of the bull fight, little thinking in what trouble this new
acquaintance would involve me.
She received me with great politeness, and as she got into her carriage
drawn by six mules, she said she would be delighted if I would breakfast
with her at nine o'clock on the following day.
I promised to come, and I kept my word.
Her house was just outside the town walls, and was a very large building.
It was richly and tastefully furnished, and was surrounded by an enormous
The first thing that struck me was the number of the lackeys and the
richness of their liveries, and the maids in elegant attire, who seemed
to be going and coming in all directions.
As I advanced I heard an imperious voice scolding some one.
The scold was Nina, who was abusing an astonished-looking man, who was
standing by a large table covered with stuffs and laces.
"Excuse me," said she, "but this fool of a Spaniard wants to persuade me
that this lace is really handsome."
She asked me what I thought of the lace, and though I privately thought
it lace of the finest quality, I did not care to contradict her, and so
replied that I was no judge.
"Madam," said the tradesman, "if you do not like the lace, leave it; will
you keep the stuffs?"
"Yes," she replied; "and as for the lace, I will shew you that it is not
the money that deters me."
So saying the mad girl took up a pair of scissors and cut the lace into
"What a pity!" said the man who had spoken to me at the bull fight.
"People will say that you have gone off your head."
"Be silent, you pimping rogue!" said she, enforcing her words with a
sturdy box on the ear.
The fellow went off, calling her strumpet, which only made her scream
with laughter; then, turning to the Spaniard, she told him to make out
his account directly.
The man did not want telling twice, and avenged himself for the abuse he
had received by the inordinate length of his bill.
She took up the account and placed her initials at the bottom without
deigning to look at the items, and said,--
"Go to Don Diego Valencia; he will pay you immediately."
As soon as we were alone the chocolate was served, and she sent a message
to the fellow whose ears she had boxed to come to breakfast directly.
"You needn't be surprised at my way of treating him," she said. "He's a
rascal whom Ricla has placed in my house to spy out my actions, and I
treat him as you have seen, so that he may have plenty of news to write
to his master."
I thought I must be dreaming; such a woman seemed to me beyond the limits
of the possible.
The poor wretch, who came from Bologna and was a musician by profession,
came and sat down with us without a word. His name was Molinari.
As soon as he had finished his breakfast he left the room, and Nina spent
an hour with me talking about Spain, Italy, and Portugal, where she had
married a dancer named Bergonzi.
"My father," she said, "was the famous charlatan Pelandi; you may have
known him at Venice."
After this piece of confidence (and she did not seem at all ashamed of
her parentage) she asked me to sup with her, supper being her favourite
meal. I promised to come, and I left her to reflect on the extraordinary
character of the woman, and on the good fortune which she so abused.
Nina was wonderfully beautiful; but as it has always been my opinion that
mere beauty does not go for much, I could not understand how a viceroy
could have fallen in love with her to such an extent. As for Molinari,
after which I had seen, I could only set him down as an infamous wretch.
I went to supper with her for amusement's sake, for, with all her beauty,
she had not touched my heart in the slightest degree. It was at the
beginning of October, but at Valentia the thermometer marked twenty
degrees Reaumur in the shade.
Nina was walking in the garden with her companion, both of them being
very lightly clad; indeed, Nina had only her chemise and a light
As soon as she saw me she came up and begged me to follow their example
in the way of attire, but I begged to be excused. The presence of that
hateful fellow revolted me in the highest degree.
In the interval before supper Nina entertained me with a number of
lascivious anecdotes of her experiences from the time she began her
present mode of living up to the age of twenty-two, which was her age
If it had not been for the presence of the disgusting Argus, no doubt all
these stories would have produced their natural effect on me; but as it
was they had none whatever.
We had a delicate supper and ate with appetite, and after it was over I
would have gladly left them; but Nina would not let me go. The wine had
taken effect, and she wished to have a little amusement.
After all the servants had been dismissed, this Messalina ordered
Molinari to strip naked, and she then began to treat him in a manner
which I cannot describe without disgust.
The rascal was young and strong, and, though he was drunk, Nina's
treatment soon placed him in a hearty condition. I could see that she
wished me to play my part in the revels, but my disgust had utterly
deprived me of all my amorous faculties.
Nina, too, had undressed, and seeing that I viewed the orgy coldly she
proceeded to satiate her desires by means of Molinari.
I had to bear with the sight of this beautiful woman coupling herself
with an animal, whose only merit lay in his virile monstrosity, which she
no doubt regarded as a beauty.
When she had exhausted her amorous fury she threw herself into a bath,
then came back, drank a bottle of Malmsey Madeira, and finally made her
brutal lover drink till he fell on to the floor.
I fled into the next room, not being able to bear it any longer, but she
followed me. She was still naked, and seating herself beside me on an
ottoman she asked me how I had enjoyed the spectacle.
I told her boldy that the disgust with which her wretched companion had
inspired me was so great that it had utterly annulled the effect of her
"That may be so, but now he is not here, and yet you do nothing. One
would not think it, to look at you."
"You are right, for I have my feelings like any other man, but he has
disgusted me too much. Wait till tomorrow, and let me not see that
monster so unworthy of enjoying you."
"He does not enjoy me. If I thought he did I would rather die than let
him have to do with me, for I detest him."
"What! you do not love him, and yet you make use of him in the way you
"Yes, just as I might use a mechanical instrument."
In this woman I saw an instance of the depths of degradation to which
human nature may be brought.
She asked me to sup with her on the following day, telling me that we
would be alone, as Molinari would be ill.
"He will have got over the effects of the wine."
"I tell you he will be ill. Come to-morrow, and come every evening."
"I am going the day after to-morrow."
"You will not go for a week, and then we will go together."
"If you go you will insult me beyond bearing."
I went home with my mind made up to depart without having anything more
to do with her; and though I was far from inexperienced in wickedness of
all kinds, I could not help feeling astonished at the unblushing
frankness of this Megaera, who had told me what I already knew, but in
words that I had never heard a woman use before.
"I only use him to satisfy my desires, and because I am certain that he
does not love me; if I thought he did I would rather die than allow him
to do anything with me, for I detest him."
The next day I went to her at seven o'clock in the evening. She received
me with an air of feigned melancholy, saying,--
"Alas! we shall have to sup alone; Molinari has got the colic."
"You said he would be ill; have you poisoned him?"
"I am quite capable of doing so, but I hope I never shall."
"But you have given him something?"
"Only what he likes himself; but we will talk of that again. Let us sup
and play till to-morrow, and tomorrow evening we will begin again."
"I am going away at seven o'clock to-morrow."
"No, no, you are not; and your coachman will have no cause for complaint,
for he has been paid; here is the receipt."
These remarks, delivered with an air of amorous despotism, flattered my
vanity. I made up my mind to submit gaily, called her wanton, and said I
was not worth the pains she was taking over me.
"What astonishes me," said I, "is that with this fine house you do not
care to entertain company."
"Everybody is afraid to come; they fear Ricla's jealousy, for it is well
known that that animal who is now suffering from the colic tells him
everything I do. He swears that it is not so, but I know him to be a
liar. Indeed, I am very glad he does write to Ricla, and only wish he
had something of real importance to write about."
"He will tell him that I have supped alone with you."
"All the better; are you afraid?"
"No; but I think you ought to tell me if I have anything really to fear."
"Nothing at all; it will fall on me."
"But I should not like to involve you in a dispute which might be
prejudicial to your interests."
"Not at all; the more I provoke him, the better he loves me, and I will
make him pay dearly when he asks me to make it up."
"Then you don't love him?"
"Yes, to ruin him; but he is so rich that there doesn't seem much hope of
my ever doing that."
Before me I saw a woman as beautiful as Venus and as degraded as Lucifer;
a woman most surely born to be the ruin of anyone who had the misfortune
to fall in love with her. I had known women of similar character, but
never one so dangerous as she.
I determined to make some money out of her if I could.
She called for cards, and asked me to play with her at a game called
primiera. It is a game of chance, but of so complicated a nature that
the best player always wins. In a quarter of an hour I found that I was
the better player, but she had such luck that at the end of the game I
had lost twenty pistoles, which I paid on the spot. She took the money,
promising to give me my revenge.
We had supper, and then we committed all the wantonness she wished and I
was capable of performing, for with me the age of miracles was past.
The next day I called to see her earlier in the evening. We played
again; and she lost, and went on losing evening after evening, till I had
won a matter of two or three hundred doubloons, no unwelcome addition to
my somewhat depleted purse.
The spy recovered from his colic and supped with us every evening, but
his presence no longer interfered with my pleasure since Nina had ceased
to prostitute herself to him in my presence. She did the opposite;
giving herself to me, and telling him to write to the Comte de Ricla
whatever he liked.
The count wrote her a letter which she gave me to read. The poor love-
sick viceroy informed her that she might safely return to Barcelona, as
the bishop had received an order from the Court to regard her as merely
au actress, whose stay in his diocese would only be temporary; she would
thus be allowed to live there in peace so long as she abstained from
giving cause for scandal. She told me that whilst she was at Barcelona I
could only see her after ten o'clock at night, when the count always left
her. She assured me that I should run no risk whatever.
Possibly I should not have stayed at Barcelona at all if Nina had not
told me that she would always be ready to lend me as much money as I
She asked me to leave Valentia a day before her, and to await her at
Tarragona. I did so, and spent a very pleasant day in that town, which
abounds in remains of antiquity.
I ordered a choice supper according to her instructions, and took care
that she should have a separate bedroom so as to avoid any scandal.
She started in the morning begging me to wait till the evening, and to
travel by night so as to reach Barcelona by day-time. She told me to put
up at the "Santa Maria," and not to call till I had heard from her.
I followed all the directions given me by this curious woman, and found
myself comfortably lodged at Barcelona. My landlord was a Swiss who told
me in confidence that he had received instructions to treat me well, and
that I had only to ask for what I wanted.
We shall see soon what was the result of all this.
My Imprudence--Passano--I Am Imprisoned--My Departure from Barcelona--
Madame Castelbajac at Montpellier--Nimes--I Arrive at Aix
Although my Swiss landlord seemed an honest and trustworthy kind of man,
I could not help thinking that Nina had acted very imprudently in
commending me to him. She was the viceroy's mistress; and though the
viceroy might be a very agreeable man, he was a Spaniard, and not likely
to be easy-going in his love affairs. Nina herself had told me that he
was ardent, jealous, and suspicious. But the mischief was done, and
there was no help for it.
When I got up my landlord brought me a valet de place, for whose
character he said he could answer, and he then sent up an excellent
dinner. I had slept till three o'clock in the afternoon.
After dinner I summoned my host, and asked him whether Nina had told him
to get me a servant. He answered in the affirmative, and added that a
carriage was awaiting my commands at the door; it had been taken by the
"I am astonished to hear it, for no one but myself can say what I can
afford or not."
"Sir, everything is paid for."
"Paid for! I will not have it!"
"You can settle that with her, but I shall certainly take no payment."
I saw dangers ahead, but as I have never cared to cherish forbodings I
dismissed the idea.
I had a letter of introduction from the Marquis de las Moras to Don
Miguel de Cevallos, and another from Colonel Royas to Don Diego de la
Secada. I took my letters, and the next day Don Diego came to see me,
and took me to the Comte de Peralda. The day after Don Miguel introduced
me to the Comte de Ricla, Viceroy of Catalonia, and the lover of Nina.
The Comte de Peralada was a young man with a pleasant face but with an
ill-proportioned body. He was a great debauchee and lover of bad
company, an enemy of religion, morality, and law. He was directly
descended from the Comte de Peralada, who served Philip II. so well that
this king declared him "count by the grace of God." The original patent
of nobility was the first thing I saw in his antechamber, where it was
framed and glazed so that all visitors might see it in the quarter of an
hour they were kept waiting.
The count received me with an easy and cordiale manner, which seemed to
say that he renounced all the dignities of his rank. He thanked Don
Diego for introducing me, and talked a good deal about Colonel Royas. He
asked me if I had seen the English girl he was keeping at Saragossa, and
on my replying in the affirmative, he told me in a whisper that he had
slept with her.
He took me to his stables, where he had some splendid horses, and then
asked me to dine with him the next day.
The viceroy received me in a very different manner; he stood up so that
he might not have to offer me a chair, and though I spoke Italian, with
which language I knew him to be well acquainted, he answered me in
Spanish, styling me 'ussia' (a contraction of 'vuestra senoria', your
lordship, and used by everyone in Spain), while I gave him his proper
title of excellence.
He talked a good deal about Madrid, and complained that M. de Mocenigo
had gone to Paris by Bayonne instead of Barcelona, as he had promised
I tried to excuse my ambassador by saying that by taking the other route
he had saved fifty leagues of his journey, but the viceroy replied that
'tenir la palabra' (keeping to one's words) comes before all else.
He asked me if I thought of staying long at Barcelona, and seemed
surprised when I told him that, with his leave, I hoped to make a long
"I hope you will enjoy yourself," he said, "but I must warn you that if
you indulge in the pleasures which my nephew Peralada will doubtless
offer you, you will not enjoy a very good reputation at Barcelona."
As the Comte de Ricla made this observation in public, I thought myself
justified in communicating it to Peralada himself. He was delighted, and
told me, with evident vanity, that he had gone to Madrid three times, and
had been ordered to return to Catalonia on each occasion.
I thought my best plan would be to follow the viceroy's indirect advice,
so I refused to join in any of the little parties of pleasure which
On the fifth day after my arrival, an officer came to ask me to dinner at
the viceroy's. I accepted the invitation with much pleasure, for I had
been afraid of the viceroy's having heard of my relations with Nina, and
thought it possible that he might have taken a dislike to me. He was
very pleasant to me at dinner, often addressing his observations to me,
but always in a tone of great gravity.
I had been in Barcelona for a week, and was beginning to wonder why I had
not heard from Nina; but one evening she wrote me a note, begging me to
come on foot and alone to her house at ten o'clock the same night.
If I had been wise I should not have gone, for I was not in love with the
woman, and should have remembered the respect due to the viceroy; but I
was devoid of all wisdom and prudence. All the misfortunes I have
experienced in my long life never taught me those two most necessary
At the hour she had named I called on her, wearing my great coat, and
with a sword for my only weapon. I found Nina with her sister, a woman
of thirty-six or thereabouts, who was married to an Italian dancer,
nicknamed Schizza, because he had a flatter nose than any Tartar.
Nina had just been supping with her lover, who had left her at ten
o'clock, according to his invariable custom.
She said she was delighted to hear I had been to dinner with him, as she
had herself spoken to him in my praise, saying how admirably I had kept
her company at Valentia.
"I am glad to hear it, but I do not think you are wise in inviting me to
your house at such late hours."
"I only do so to avoid scandal amongst my neighbours."
"In my opinion my coming so late is only likely to increase the
probability of scandal, and to make your viceroy jealous."
"He will never hear of your coming."
"I think you are mistaken."
I went away at midnight, after a conversation of the most decent
character. Her sister did not leave us for a moment, and Nina gave her
no cause to suspect the intimacy of our relations.
I went to see her every evening, without encroaching on the count's
preserves. I thought myself secure, but the following warning should
have made me desist if I had not been carried away by the forces of
destiny and obstinacy in combination.
An officer in the Walloon Guards accosted me one day as I was walking by
myself just outside the town. He begged me in the most polite manner to
excuse him if he spoke on a matter which was indifferent to him but of
great consequence to me.
"Speak, sir," I replied, "I will take whatever you say in good part."
"Very good. You are a stranger, sir, and may not be acquainted with our
Spanish manners, consequently you are unaware of the great risk you run
in going to see Nina every evening after the count has left her."
"What risk do I run? I have no doubt that the count knows all about it
and does not object."
"I have no doubt as to his knowing it, and he may possibly pretend to
know nothing before her, as he fears as well as loves her; but if she
tells you that he does not object, she either deceives herself or you.
He cannot love her without being jealous, and a jealous Spaniard . . .
"Follow my advice, sir, and forgive my freedom."
"I am sincerely obliged to you for your kind interest in me, but I cannot
follow your advice, as by doing so I should be wanting in politeness to
Nina, who likes to see me and gives me a warm welcome. I shall continue
to visit her till she orders me not to do so, or till the count signifies
to me his displeasure at my visits to his mistress."
"The count will never do such a thing; he is too careful of his dignity."
The worthy officer then narrated to me all the acts of injustice which
Ricla had committed since he had fallen in love with this woman. He had
dismissed gentlemen from his service on the mere suspicion that they were
in love with her; some had been exiled, and others imprisoned on one
frivolous pretext or another. Before he had known Nina he had been a
pattern of wisdom, justice, and virtue, and now he had become unjust,
cruel, blindly passionate, and in every way a scandal to the high
position he occupied.
All this should have influenced me, but it had not the slightest effect.
I told him for politeness' sake that I would endeavour to part from her
by degrees, but I had no intention of doing so.
When I asked him how he knew that I visited Nina, he laughed and said it
was a common topic of conversation all over the town.
The same evening I called on her without mentioning my conversation with
the officer. There would have been some excuse for me if I had been in
love with her, but as it was . . . I acted like a madman.
On the 14th of November I went to see her at the usual time. I found her
with a man who was shewing her miniatures. I looked at him and found
that he was the scoundrel Passano, or Pogomas.
My blood boiled; I took Nina's hand and led her into a neighbouring room,
and told her to dismiss the rogue at once, or I would go to return no
"He's a painter."
"I am well acquainted with his history, and will tell you all about it
presently; but send him away, or I shall go."
She called her sister, and told her to order the Genoese to leave the
house and never to enter it again.
The thing was 'done in a moment, but the sister told us that as he went
out he had said,--
"Se ne pentira" ("He shall be sorry for it").
I occupied an hour in relating some of the injuries I had received from
this scoundrelly fellow.
The next day (November 15th), I went to Nina at the usual time, and after
spending two hours in pleasant converse with her and her sister I went
out as the clocks were striking midnight.
The door of the house was under an arcade, which extended to the end of
the street. It was a dark night; and I had scarcely gone twenty-five
paces when two men suddenly rushed at me.
I stepped back, drawing my sword, and exclaiming, "Assassins!" and then
with a rapid movement, I thrust my blade into the body of the nearest
assailant. I then left the arcade, and began to run down the street.
The second assassin fired a pistol at me, but it fortunately missed me.
I fell down and dropped my hat in my rapid flight, and got up and
continued my course without troubling to pick it up. I did not know
whether I was wounded or not, but at last I got to my inn, and laid down
the bloody sword on the counter, under the landlord's nose. I was quite
out of breath.
I told the landlord what had happened, and on taking off my great coat, I
found it to be pierced in two places just below the armpit.
"I am going to bed," I said to the landlord, "and I leave my great coat
and the sword in your charge. Tomorrow morning I shall ask you to come
with me before the magistrate to denounce this act of assassination, for
if the man was killed it must be shewn that I only slew him to save my
"I think your best plan would be to fly Barcelona immediately."
"Then you think I have not told you the strict truth?"
"I am sure you have; but I know whence the blow comes, and God knows what
will befall you!"
"Nothing at all; but if I fly I shall be accounted guilty. Take care of
the sword; they tried to assassinate me, but I think the assassins got
the worst of it."
I went to bed somewhat perturbed, but I had the consoling thought that if
I had killed a man I had done so to self-defence; my conscience was quite
At seven o'clock the next morning I heard a knocking at my door. I
opened it, and saw my landlord, accompanied by an officer, who told me to
give him all my papers, to dress, and to follow him, adding that he
should be compelled to use force in case of resistance.
"I have no intention of resisting," I replied. "By whose authority do
you ask me for my papers?"
"By the authority of the governor. They will be returned to you if
nothing suspicious is found amongst them."
"Where are you going to take me?"
"To the citadel."
I opened my trunk, took out my linen and my clothes, which I gave to my
landlord, and I saw the officer's astonishment at seeing my trunk half
filled with papers.
"These are all the papers I have," I said. I locked the box and gave the
officer the key.
"I advise you, sir," he said, "to put all necessary articles into a
portmanteau." He then ordered the landlord to send me a bed, and finally
asked me if I had any papers in my pockets.
"Only my passports."
"That's exactly what we want," he rejoined, with a grim smile.
"My passports are sacred; I will never give them to anyone but the
governor-general. Reverence your king; here is his passport, here is
that of the Count of Aranda, and here the passport of the Venetian
ambassador. You will have to bind me hand and foot before you get them."
"Be more moderate, sir. In giving them to me it is just as if you gave
them to the viceroy. If you resist I will not bind you hand and foot,
but I shall take you before the viceroy, and then you will be forced to
give them up in public. Give them to me with a good grace, and you shall
have an acknowledgement."
The worthy landlord told me I should be wiser to give in, so I let myself
be persuaded. The officer gave me a full quittance, which I put in my
pocketbook (this he let me keep out of his kindness), and then I followed
him. He had six constables with him, but they kept a good distance away.
Comparing this with the circumstances of my arrest at Madrid, I thought
myself well treated.
Before we left the inn the officer told me that I might order what meals
I pleased, and I asked the landlord to let me have my dinner and supper
On the way I told him of my adventure of the night before; he listened
attentively but made no comments.
When we reached the citadel I was delivered to the officer of the guard,
who gave me a room on the first floor. It was bare of furniture, but the
windows looked on to a square and had no iron bars.
I had scarcely been there ten minutes when my carpet bag and an excellent
bed were brought in.
As soon as I was alone I began to think over the situation. I finished
where I ought to have begun.
"What can this imprisonment have to do with my last night's adventure?" I
I could not make out the connection.
"They are bent on examining my papers; they must think I have been
tampering in some political or religious intrigue; but my mind is quite
at ease on that score. I am well lodged at present, and no doubt shall
be set free after my papers have been examined; they can find nothing
against me there.
"The affair of my attempted assassination will, no doubt, be considered
"Even if the rascal is dead, I do not see what they can do to me.
"On the other hand, my landlord's advice to fly from Barcelona looks
ominous; what if the assassins received their orders from some person
high in authority?
"It is possible that Ricla may have vowed my ruin, but it does not seem
probable to me.
"Would it have been wise to follow the landlord's advice?
"Possibly, but I do not think so; my honour would have suffered, and I
might have been caught and laid up in some horrid dungeon, whereas for a
prison I am comfortable enough here.
"In three or four days the examination of my papers will have been
completed, and as there is nothing in them likely to be offensive to the
powers that be, they will be returned to me with my liberty, which will
taste all the sweeter for this short deprivation.
"As for my passports they all speak in my favour.
"I cannot think that the all-powerful hand of the viceroy could have
directed the assassin's sword; it would be a dishonour to him, and if it
were so, he would not be treating me so kindly now. If it were his
doing, he must have heard directly that the blow had failed, and in that
case I do not think he would have arrested me this morning.
"Shall I write to Nina? Will writing be allowed here?"
As I was puzzling my brains with these reflections, stretched on my bed
(for I had no chair), I heard some disturbance, and on opening my window
I saw, to my great astonishment, Passano being brought into the prison by
a corporal and two soldiers. As he was going in, the rascal looked up
and saw me, and began to laugh.
"Alas!" I said to myself, "here is fresh food for conjecture. The fellow
told Nina's sister that I should be sorry for what I had done. He must
have directed some fearful calumny against me, and they are imprisoning
him so as to be sure of his evidence."
On reflection, I was well pleased at the turn affairs had taken.
An excellent dinner was set before me, but I had no chair or table. The
deficiency was remedied by the soldier who was in charge of me for the
consideration of a duro.
Prisoners were not allowed to have pen and ink without special
permission; but paper and pencils were not included under this
regulation, so my guard got them for me, together with candles and
candlesticks, and I proceeded to kill time by making geometrical
calculations. I made the obliging soldier sup with me, and he promised
to commend me to one of his comrades who would serve me well. The guard
was relieved at eleven.
On the fourth day the officer of the guard came to me with a distressed
look, and told me that he had the disagreeable duty of giving me some
very bad news.
"What is that, sir?"
"I have received orders to transfer you to the bottom of the tower."
"To transfer me?"
"Then they must have discovered in me a criminal of the deepest dye! Let
us go at once."
I found myself in a kind of round cellar, paved with large flagstones,
and lighted by five or six narrow slits in the walls. The officer told
me I must order what food required to be brought once a day, as no one
was allowed to come into the 'calabozo', or dungeon, by night.
"How about lights?"
"You may lave one lamp always burning, and that will be enough, as books
are not allowed. When your dinner is brought, the officer on duty will
open the pies and the poultry to see that they do not contain any
documents; for here no letters are allowed to come in or go out."
"Have these orders been given for my especial benefit?"
"No, sir; it is the ordinary rule. You will be able to converse with the
"The door will be open, then?"
"Not at all."
"How about the cleanliness of my cell?"
"A soldier will accompany the officer in charge of your dinner, and he
will attend to your wants for a trifle."
"May I amuse myself by making architectural plans with the pencil?"
"As much as you like."
"Then will you be good enough to order some paper to be bought for me?"
The officer seemed to pity me as he left me, and bolted and barred the
heavy door behind which I saw a man standing sentry with his bayonet
fixed. The door was fitted with a small iron grating.
When I got my paper and my dinner at noonday the officer cut open a fowl,
and plunged a fork in the other dishes so as to make sure that there were
no papers at the bottom.
My dinner would have sufficed for six people. I told the officer that I
should be much honoured by his dining with me, but he replied that it was
strictly forbidden. He gave me the same answer when I asked if I might
have the newspapers.
It was a festival time for the sentinels, as I shared my meals and my
good wine with them; and consequently these poor fellows were firmly
attached to me.
I was curious to know who was paying for my good cheer, but there was no
chance of my finding out, for the waiter from the inn was never allowed
to approach my cell.
In this dungeon, where I was imprisoned for forty-two days, I wrote in
pencil and without other reference than my memory, my refutation of
Amelot de la Houssaye's "History of the Venetian Government."
I was most heartily amused during my imprisonment, and in the following
While I was at Warsaw an Italian named Tadini came to Warsaw. He had an
introduction to Tomatis who commended him to me. He called himself an
oculist. Tomatis used to give him a dinner now and again, but not being
well off in those days I could only give him good words and a cup of
coffee when he chanced to come about my breakfast-time.
Tadini talked to everybody about the operations he had performed, and
condemned an oculist who had been at Warsaw for twenty years, saying that
he did not understand how to extract a cataract, while the other oculist
said that Tadini was a charlatan who did not know how the eye was made.
Tadini begged me to speak in his favour to a lady who had had a cataract
removed by the Warsaw oculist, only to return again a short time after
The lady was blind of the one eye, but she could see with the other, and
I told Tadini that I did not care to meddle with such a delicate matter.
"I have spoken to the lady," said Tadini, "and I have mentioned your name
as a person who will answer for me."
"You have done wrong; in such a matter I would not stand surety for the
most learned of men, and I know nothing about your learning."
"But you know I am an oculist."
"I know you were introduced to me as such, but that's all. As a
professional man, you should not need anyone's commendation, you should
be able to say, 'Operibus credite'. That should be your motto."
Tadini was vexed with my incredulity, and shewed me a number of
testimonials, which I might possibly have read, if the first which met my
eye had not been from a lady who protested to all and singular that
M. Tadini had cured her of amaurosis. At this I laughed in his face and
told him to leave me alone.
A few days after I found myself dining with him at the house of the lady
with the cataract. She had almost made up her mind to submit to the
operation, but as the rascal had mentioned my name, she wanted me to be
present at a dispute between Tadini and the other oculist who came in
with the dessert.
I disposed myself to listen to the arguments of the two rival professors
with considerable pleasure. The Warsaw oculist was a German, but spoke
French very well; however, he attacked Tadini in Latin. The Italian
checked him by saying that their discourse must be conducted in a
language intelligible to the lady, and I agreed with him. It was plain
that Tadini did not know a word of Latin.
The German oculist began by admitting that after the operation for
cataract there was no chance of the disease returning, but that there was
a considerable risk of the crystalline humour evaporating, and the
patient being left in a state of total blindness.
Tadini, instead of denying this statement (which was inaccurate), had the
folly to take a little box out of his pocket. It contained a number of
minute round crystals.
"What's that?" said the old professor.
"A substance which I can place in the cornea to supply the loss of the
The German went off into a roar of laughter so long and loud that the
lady could not help laughing. I should have liked to join them, but I
was ashamed to be thought the patron of this ignorant fellow, so I
preserved a gloomy silence.
Tadini no doubt interpreted my silence as a mark of disapproval of the
German's laughter, and thought to better matters by asking me to give my
"As you want to hear it," said I, "here it is."
"There's a great difference between a tooth and the crystalline humour;
and though you may have succeeded in putting an artificial tooth into a
gum, this treatment will not do with the eye."
"Sir, I am not a dentist."
"No, nor an oculist either."
At this the ignorant rascal got up and left the room, and it was
decidedly the best thing he could do.
We laughed over this new treatment, and the lady promised to have nothing
more to do with him. The professor was not content to despise his
opponent in silence. He had him cited before the Faculty of Medicine to
be examined on his knowledge of the eye, and procured the insertion of a
satiric article in the news on the new operation for replacing the
crystalline humour, alluding to the wonderful artist then in Warsaw who
could perform this operation as easily as a dentist could put in a false
This made Tadini furious, and he set upon the old professor in the street
and forced him to the refuge in a house.
After this he no doubt left the town on foot, for he was seen no more.
Now the reader is in a position to understand my surprise and amusement,
when, one day as I peered through the grating in my dungeon, I saw the
oculist Tadini standing over me with gun in hand. But he at all events
evinced no amusement whatever, while I roared and roared again with
laughter for the two hours his duty lasted.
I gave him a good meal and a sufficiency of my excellent wine, and at the
end a crown, promising that he should have the same treatment every time
he returned to the post. But I only saw him four times, as the guard at
my cell was a position eagerly coveted and intrigued for by the other
He amused me by the story of his misadventures since he had left Warsaw.
He had travelled far and wide without making a fortune, and at last
arrived in Barcelona, where he failed to meet with any courtesy or
consideration. He had no introduction, no diploma; he had refused to
submit to an examination in the Latin tongue, because (as he said) there
was no connection between the learned languages and the diseases of the
eye; and the result was that, instead of the common fate of being ordered
to leave the country, he was made into a soldier. He told me in