Part 63 out of 70
confidence that he intended to desert, but he said he should take care to
avoid the galleys.
"What have you done with your crystals?"
"I have renounced them since I left Warsaw, though I am sure they would
I never heard of him again.
On December 28th, six weeks after my arrest, the officer of the guard
came to my cell and told me to dress and follow him.
"Where are we going?"
"I am about to deliver you to an officer of the viceroy, who is waiting."
I dressed hastily, and after placing all my belongings in a portmanteau I
followed him. We went to the guardroom, and there I was placed under the
charge of the officer who had arrested me, who took me to the palace.
There a Government official shewed me my trunk, telling me that I should
find all my papers intact; and he then returned me my three passports,
with the remark that they were genuine documents.
"I knew that all along."
"I suppose so, but we had reasons for doubting their authenticity."
"They must have been strange reasons, for, as you now confess, these
reasons were devoid of reason."
"You must be aware that I cannot reply to such an objection."
"I don't ask you to do so."
"Your character is perfectly clear; all the same I must request you to
leave Barcelona in three days, and Catalonia in a week."
"Of course I will obey; but it strikes me that the Catalonian method of
repairing injustice is somewhat peculiar."
"If you think you have ground for complaint you are at liberty to go to
Madrid and complain to the Court."
"I have certainly grounds enough for complaint, sir, but I shall go to
France, and not to Madrid; I have had enough of Spanish justice. Will
you please give me the order to leave in writing?"
"That's unnecessary; you may take it for granted. My name is Emmanuel
Badillo; I am a secretary of state. That gentleman will escort you back
to the room where you were arrested. You will find everything just as
you have left it. You are a free man. To-morrow I will send you your
passport, signed by the viceroy and myself. Good day, sir."
Accompanied by the officer and a servant bearing my portmanteau, I
proceeded to my old inn.
On my way I saw a theatrical poster, and decided to go to the opera.
The good landlord was delighted to see me again, and hastened to light me
a fire, for a bitterly cold north wind was blowing. He assured me that
no one but himself had been in my room, and in the officer's presence he
gave me back my sword, my great coat, and, to my astonishment, the hat I
had dropped in my flight from the assassins.
The officer asked me if I had any complaints to make, and I replied that
I had none.
"I should like to hear you say that I had done nothing but my duty, and
that personally I have not done you any injury."
I shook his hand, and assured him of my esteem.
"Farewell, sir," said he, "I hope you will have a pleasant journey."
I told my landlord that I would dine at noon, and that I trusted to him
to celebrate my liberation in a fitting manner, and then I went to the
post office to see if there were any letters for me. I found five or six
letters, with the seals intact, much to my astonishment. What is one to
make of a Government which deprives a man of his liberty on some trifling
pretext, and, though seizing all his papers, respects the privacy of his
letters? But Spain, as I have remarked, is peculiar in every way.
These letters were from Paris, Venice, Warsaw, and Madrid, and I have
never had any reason to believe that any other letters had come for me
during my imprisonment.
I went back to my inn, and asked my landlord to bring the bill.
"You do not owe me anything, sir. Here is your bill for the period
preceding your imprisonment, and, as you see, it has been settled. I
also received orders from the same source to provide for you during your
imprisonment, and as long as you stayed at Barcelona."
"Did you know how long I should remain in prison?"
"No, I was paid by the week."
"Who paid you?"
"You know very well."
"Have you had any note for me?"
"Nothing at all."
"What has become of the valet de place?"
"I paid him, and sent him away immediately after your arrest."
"I should like to have him with me as far as Perpignan."
"You are right, and I think the best thing you can do is to leave Spain
altogether, for you will find no justice in it."
"What do they say about my assassination?"
"Why, they say you fired the shot that people heard yourself, and that
you made your own sword bloody, for no one was found there, either dead
"That's an amusing theory. Where did my hat come from?"
"It was brought to me three days after."
"What a confusion! But was it known that I was imprisoned in the tower?"
"Everybody knew it, and two good reasons were given, the one in public,
and the other in private."
"What are these reasons?"
"The public reason was that you had forged your passports; the private
one, which was only whispered at the ear, was that you spent all your
nights with Nina."
"You might have sworn that I never slept out of your inn."
"I told everyone as much, but no matter; you did go to her house, and for
a certain nobleman that's a crime. I am glad you did not fly as I
advised you, for as it is your character is cleared before everybody."
"I should like to go to the opera this evening; take me a box."
"It shall be done; but do not have anything more to do with Nina, I
"No, my good friend, I have made up my mind to see her no more."
Just as I was sitting down to dinner, a banker's clerk brought me a
letter which pleased me very much. It contained the bills of exchange I
had drawn in Genoa, in favour of M. Augustin Grimaldi. He now sent them
back, with these words:
"Passano has been vainly endeavouring to persuade me to send these bills
to Barcelona, so that they may be protested, and you arrested. I now
send them to you to convince you that I am not one of those who delight
in trampling down the victims of bad fortune.
"--Genoa, November 30th, 1768."
For the fourth time a Genoese had behaved most generously to me. I was
almost persuaded that I ought to forgive the infamous Passano for the
sake of his four excellent fellow-countrymen.
But this virtue was a little beyond me. I concluded that the best thing
I could do would be to rid the Genoese name of the opprobrium which this
rascal was always bringing on it, but I could never find an opportunity.
Some years after I heard that the wretch died in miserable poverty in
I was curious at the time to know what had become of him, as it was
important for me to be on my guard. I confided my curiosity to my
landlord, and he instructed one of the servants to make enquiries. I
only heard the following circumstance:
Ascanio Pogomas, or Passano, had been released at the end of November,
and had then been embarked on a felucca bound for Toulon.
The same day I wrote a long and grateful letter to M. Grimaldi. I had
indeed reason to be grateful, for if he had listened to my enemy he might
have reduced me to a state of dreadful misery.
My landlord had taken the box at the opera in my name, and two hours
afterwards, to everyone's great astonishment, the posters announcing the
plays of the evening were covered by bills informing the public that two
of the performers had been taken ill, that the play would not be given,
and the theatre closed till the second day of the new year.
This order undoubtedly came from the viceroy, and everybody knew the
I was sorry to have deprived the people of Barcelona of the only
amusement they had in the evening, and resolved to stay indoors, thinking
that would be the most dignified course I could adopt.
'Amor che fa gentile un cor villano'.
If he had known the lover of Nina he would have changed the line into
'Amor che fa villan un cor gentile'.
In four months I shall be able to throw some more light on this strange
I should have left Barcelona the same day, but a slight tinge of
superstition made me desire to leave on the last day of the unhappy year
I had spent in Spain. I therefore spent my three days of grace in
writing letters to all my friends.
Don Miguel de Cevallos, Don Diego de la Secada, and the Comte de la
Peralada came to see me, but separately. Don Diego de la Secada was the
uncle of the Countess A---- B---- whom I had met at Milan. These
gentlemen told me a tale as strange as any of the circumstances which had
happened to me at Barcelona.
On the 26th of December the Abbe Marquisio, the envoy of the Duke of
Modena, asked the viceroy, before a considerable number of people, if he
could pay me a visit, to give me a letter which he could place in no
hands but mine. If not he said he should be obliged to take the letter
to Madrid, for which town he was obliged to set out the next day.
The count made no answer, to everyone's astonishment, and the abbe left
for Madrid the next day, the eve of my being set at liberty.
I wrote to the abbe, who was unknown to me, but I never succeeded in
finding out the truth about this letter.
There could be no doubt that I had been arrested by the despotic viceroy,
who had been persuaded by Nina that I was her favoured lover. The
question of my passports must have been a mere pretext, for eight or ten
days would have sufficed to send them to Madrid and have them back again
if their authenticity had been doubted. Possibly Passano might have told
the viceroy that any passports of mine were bound to be false, as I
should have had to obtain the signature of my own ambassador. This, he
might have said, was out of the question as I was in disgrace with the
Venetian Government. As a matter of fact, he was mistaken if he really
said so, but the mistake would have been an excusable one.
When I made up my mind at the end of August to leave Madrid, I asked the
Count of Aranda for a passport. He replied that I must first obtain one
from my ambassador, who, he added, could not refuse to do me this
Fortified with this opinion I called at the embassy. M. Querini was at
San Ildefonso at the time, and I told the porter that I wanted to speak
to the secretary of embassy.
The servant sent in my name, and the fop gave himself airs, and pretended
that he could not receive me. In my indignation I wrote to him saying
that I had not called to pay my court to the secretary, but to demand a
passport which was my right. I gave my name and my degree (doctor of
law), and begged him to leave the passport with the porter, as I should
call for it on the following day.
I presented myself accordingly, and the porter told me that the
ambassador had left verbal orders that I was not to have a passport.
I wrote immediately to the Marquis Grimaldi and to the Duke of Lossada,
begging them to request the ambassador to send me a passport in the usual
form, or else I should publish the shameful reasons for which his uncle
Mocenigo had disgraced me.
I do not know whether these gentlemen shewed my letters to Querini, but I
do know that the secretary Oliviera sent me my passport.
Thereupon the Count Aranda furnished me with a passport signed by the
On the last day of the year I left Barcelona with a servant who sat
behind my chaise, and I agreed with my driver to take me to Perpignan by
January 3rd, 1769.
The driver was a Piedmontese and a worthy man: The next day he came into
the room of the wayside inn where I was dining, and in the presence of my
man asked me whether I had any suspicion that I was being followed.
"Well, I may be," I said, "but what makes you ask that question?"
"As you were leaving Barcelona yesterday, I noticed three ill-looking
fellows watching us, armed to the teeth. Last night they slept in the
stable with my mules. They dined here to-day, and they went on three
quarters of an hour ago. They don't speak to anyone, and I don't like
the looks of them."
"What shall we do to avoid assassination, or the dread of it?"
"We must start late, and stop at an inn I know of, a league this side of
the ordinary stage where they will be awaiting us. If they turn back,
and sleep at the same inn as ourselves, we shall be certain."
I thought the idea a sensible one, and we started, I going on foot nearly
the whole way; and at five o'clock we halted at a wretched inn, but we
saw no signs of the sinister trio.
At eight o'clock I was at supper, when my man came in and told me that
the three fellows had come back, and were drinking with our driver in the
My hair stood on end. There could be no more doubt about the matter.
At present, it was true, I had nothing to fear; but it would be getting
dark when we arrived at the frontier, and then my peril would come.
I told my servant to shew no sign, but to ask the driver to come and
speak with me when the assassins were asleep.
He came at ten o'clock, and told me plainly that we should be all
murdered as we approached the French frontier.
"Then you have been drinking with them?"
"Yes, and after we had dispatched a bottle at my expense, one of them
asked me why I had not gone on to the end of the stage, where you would
be better lodged. I replied that it was late, and you were cold. I
might have asked in my turn, why they had not stayed at the stage
themselves, and where they were going, but I took care to do nothing of
the kind. All I asked was whether the road to Perpignan was a good one,
and they told me it was excellent all the way."
"What are they doing now?"
"They are sleeping by my mules, covered with their cloaks."
"What shall we do?"
"We will start at day-break after them, of course, and we shall dine at
the usual stage; but after dinner, trust me, we will take a different
road, and at midnight we shall be in France safe and sound."
If I could have procured a good armed escort I would not have taken his
advice, but in the situation I was in I had no choice.
We found the three scoundrels in the place where the driver had told me
we should see them. I gave them a searching glance, and thought they
looked like true Sicarii, ready to kill anyone for a little money.
They started in a quarter of an hour, and half an hour later we set out,
with a peasant to guide us, and so struck into a cross road. The mules
went at a sharp pace, and in seven hours we had done eleven leagues. At
ten o'clock we stopped at an inn in a French village, and we had no more
to fear. I gave our guide a doubloon, with which he was well pleased,
and I enjoyed once more a peaceful night in a French bed, for nowhere
will you find such soft beds or such delicious wines as in the good land
The next day I arrived at the posting-inn at Perpignan in time for
dinner. I endeavoured in vain to think who could have paid my assassins,
but the reader will see the explanation when we get twenty days farther.
At Perpignan I dismissed my driver and my servant, rewarding them
according to my ability. I wrote to my brother at Paris, telling him I
had had a fortunate escape from the dagger of the assassin. I begged him
to direct his answer to Aix, where I intended to spend a fortnight, in
the hope of seeing the Marquis d'Argens. I left Perpignan the day after
my arrival, and slept at Narbonne, and the day after at Beziers.
The distance from Narbonne to Beziers is only five leagues, and I had not
intended to stop; but the good cheer which the kindest of landladies gave
me at dinner made me stop with her to supper.
Beziers is a town which looks pleasant even at the worst time of the
year. A philosopher who wished to renounce all the vanities of the
world, and an Epicurean who would enjoy good cheer cheaply, could find no
better retreat than Beziers.
Everybody at Beziers is intelligent, all the women are pretty, and the
cooks are all artists; the wines are exquisite--what more could one
desire! May its riches never prove its ruin!
When I reached Montpellier, I got down at the "White Horse," with the
intention of spending a week there. In the evening I supped at the table
d'hote, where I found a numerous company, and I saw to my amusement that
for every guest there was a separate dish brought to table.
Nowhere is there better fare than at Montpellier. 'Tis a veritable land
The next day I breakfasted at the cafe (an institution peculiar to
France, the only country where the science of living is really
understood), and addressed the first gentleman I met, telling him that I
was a stranger and that I would like to know some of the professors. He
immediately offered to take me to one of the professors who enjoyed a
Herein may be seen another of the good qualities of the French, who rank
above other nations by so many titles. To a Frenchman a foreigner is a
sacred being; he receives the best of hospitality, not merely in form,
but in deed; and his welcome is given with that easy grace which so soon
sets a stranger at his ease.
My new friend introduced me to the professor, who received me with all
the polished courtesy of the French man of letters. He that loves
letters should love all other lovers of letters, and in France that is
the case, even more so than Italy. In Germany the literary man has an
air of mysterious reserve. He thinks he is proclaiming to all the world
that he at all events is a man of no pretension, whereas his pride peeps
through every moment. Naturally the stranger is not encouraged by such a
manner as this.
At the time of my visit there was an excellent company of actors at
Montpellier, whom I went to see the same evening. My bosom swelled at
finding myself in the blessed air of France after all the annoyances I
had gone through in Spain. I seemed to have become young again; but I
was altered, for several beautiful and clever actresses appeared on the
stage without arousing any desires within me; and I would have it so.
I had a lively desire to find Madame Castelbajac, not with any wish to
renew my old relations with her. I wished to congratulate her on her
improved position, but I was afraid of compromising her by asking for her
in the town.
I knew that her husband was an apothecary, so I resolved to make the
acquaintance of all the apothecaries in the place. I pretended to be in
want of some very rare drugs, and entered into conversation about the
differences between the trade in France and in foreign countries. If I
spoke to the master I hoped he would talk to his wife about the stranger
who had visited the countries where she had been, and that that would
make her curious to know me. If, on the other hand, I spoke to the man,
I knew he would soon tell me all he knew about his master's family.
On the third day my stratagem succeeded. My old friend wrote me a note,
telling me that she had seen me speaking to her husband in his shop. She
begged me to come again at a certain time, and to tell her husband that I
had known her under the name of Mdlle. Blasin in England, Spa, Leipzig,
and Vienna, as a seller of lace. She ended her note with these words:
"I have no doubt that my husband will finally introduce you to me as his
I followed her advice, and the good man asked me if I had ever known a
young lace seller of the name of Mdlle. Blasin, of Montpellier.
"Yes, I remember her well enough--a delightful and most respectable young
woman; but I did not know she came from Montpellier. She was very pretty
and very sensible, and I expect she did a good business. I have seen her
in several European cities, and the last time at Vienna, where I was able
to be of some slight service to her. Her admirable behaviour won her the
esteem of all the ladies with whom she came in contact. In England I met
her at the house of a duchess."
"Do you think you would recognize her if you saw her again?"
"By Jove! I should think so! But is she at Montpellier? If so, tell
her that the Chevalier de Seingalt is here."
"Sir, you shall speak to her yourself, if you will do me the honour to
My heart leapt, but I restrained myself. The worthy apothecary went
through the shop, climbed a stair, and, opening a door on the first
floor, said to me,--
"There she is."
"What, mademoiselle! You here? I am delighted to see you."
"This is not a young lady, sir, 'tis my dear wife; but I hope that will
not hinder you from embracing her."
"I have never had such an honour; but I will avail myself of your
permission with pleasure. Then you have got married at Montpellier. I
congratulate both of you, and wish you all health and happiness. Tell
me, did you have a pleasant journey from Vienna to Lyons?"
Madame Blasin (for so I must continue to designate her) answered my
question according to her fancy, and found me as good an actor as she was
We were very glad to see each other again, but the apothecary was
delighted at the great respect with which I treated his wife.
For a whole hour we carried on a conversation of a perfectly imaginary
character, and with all the simplicity of perfect truth.
She asked me if I thought of spending the carnival at Montpellier, and
seemed quite mortified when I said that I thought of going on the next
Her husband hastened to say that that was quite out of the question.
"Oh, I hope you won't go," she added, "you must do my husband the honour
of dining with us."
After the husband had pressed me for some time I gave in, and accepted
their invitation to dinner for the day after next.
Instead of stopping two days I stopped four. I was much pleased with the
husband's mother, who was advanced in years but extremely intelligent.
She had evidently made a point of forgetting everything unpleasant in the
past history of her son's wife.
Madame Blasin told me in private that she was perfectly happy, and I had
every reason to believe that she was speaking the truth. She had made a
rule to be most precise in fulfilling her wifely duties, and rarely went
out unless accompanied by her husband or her mother-in-law.
I spent these four days in the enjoyment of pure and innocent friendship
without there being the slightest desire on either side to renew our
On the third day after I had dined with her and her husband, she told me,
while we were alone for a moment, that if I wanted fifty louis she knew
where to get them for me. I told her to keep them for another time, if I
was so happy as to see her again, and so unhappy as to be in want.
I left Montpellier feeling certain that my visit had increased the esteem
in which her husband and her mother-in-law held her, and I congratulated
myself on my ability to be happy without committing any sins.
The day after I had bade them farewell, I slept at Nimes, where I spent
three days in the company of a naturalist: M. de Seguier, the friend of
the Marquis Maffei of Verona. In his cabinet of natural history I saw
and admired the immensity and infinity of the Creator's handiwork.
Nimes is a town well worthy of the stranger's observation; it provides
food for the mind, and the fair sex, which is really fair there, should
give the heart the food it likes best.
I was asked to a ball, where, as a foreigner, I took first place--a
privilege peculiar to France, for in England, and still more in Spain, a
foreigner means an enemy.
On leaving Nimes I resolved to spend the carnival at Aix, where the
nobility is of the most distinguished character. I believe I lodged at
the "Three Dolphins," where I found a Spanish cardinal on his way to Rome
to elect a successor to Pope Rezzonico.
My Stay at Aix; I Fall Ill--I am Cared for By an Unknown Lady--
The Marquis d'Argens--Cagliostro
My room was only separated from his Castilian eminence's by a light
partition, and I could hear him quite plainly reprimanding his chief
servant for being too economical.
"My lord, I do my best, but it is really impossible to spend more, unless
I compel the inn-keepers to take double the amount of their bills; and
your eminence will admit that nothing in the way of rich and expensive
dishes has been spared."
"That may be, but you ought to use your wits a little; you might for
example order meals when we shall not require any. Take care that there
are always three tables--one for us, one for my officers, and the third
for the servants. Why I see that you only give the postillions a franc
over the legal charge, I really blush for you; you must give them a crown
extra at least. When they give you change for a louis, leave it on the
table; to put back one's change in one's pocket is an action only worthy
of a beggar. They will be saying at Versailles and Madrid, and maybe at
Rome itself, that the Cardinal de la Cerda is a miser. I am no such
thing, and I do not want to be thought one. You must really cease to
dishonour me, or leave my service."
A year before this speech would have astonished me beyond measure, but
now I was not surprised, for I had acquired some knowledge of Spanish
manners. I might admire the Senor de la Cerda's prodigality, but I could
not help deploring such ostentation on the part of a Prince of the Church
about to participate in such a solemn function.
What I had heard him say made me curious to see him, and I kept on the
watch for the moment of his departure. What a man! He was not only ill
made, short and sun-burnt; but his face was so ugly and so low that I
concluded that AEsop himself must have been a little Love beside his
eminence. I understood now why he was so profuse in his generosity and
decorations, for otherwise he might well have been taken for a stableboy.
If the conclave took the eccentric whim of making him pope, Christ would
never have an uglier vicar.
I enquired about the Marquis d'Argens soon after the departure of his
eminence, and was told that he was in the country with his brother, the
Marquis d'Eguille, President of the Parliament, so I went there.
This marquis, famous for his friendship for Frederick II. rather than for
his writings (which are no longer read), was an old man when I saw him.
He was a worthy man, fond of pleasure, a thorough-paced Epicurean, and
had married an actress named Cochois, who had proved worthy of the honour
he had laid on her. He was deeply learned and had a thorough knowledge
of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew literature. His memory was prodigious.
He received me very well, and recalled what his friend the marshal had
written about me. He introduced me to his wife and to his brother, a
distinguished jurist, a man of letters, and a strictly moral man by
temperament as much as religion. Though a highly intellectual man, he
was deeply and sincerely religious.
He was very fond of his brother, and grieved for his irreligion, but
hoped that grace would eventually bring him back to the fold of the
Church. His brother encouraged him in his hopes, while laughing at them
in private, but as they were both sensible men they never discussed
I was introduced to a numerous company of both sexes, chiefly consisting
of relations. All were amiable and highly polished, like all the
Plays were performed on the miniature stage, good cheer prevailed, and at
intervals we walked in the garden, in spite of the weather. In Province,
however, the winter is only severe when the wind blows from the north,
which unfortunately often happens.
Among the company were a Berlin lady (widow of the marquis's nephew) and
her brother. This young gentleman, who was gay and free from care,
enjoyed all the pleasures of the house without paying any attention to
the religious services which were held every day. If he thought on the
matter at all, he was a heretic; and when the Jesuit chaplain was saying
mass he amused himself by playing on the flute; he laughed at everything.
He was unlike his sister, who had not only become a Catholic, but was a
very devout one. She was only twenty-two.
Her brother told me that her husband, who had died of consumption, and
whose mind was perfectly clear to the last, as is usually the case in
phthisis, had told her that he could not entertain any hopes of seeing
her in the other world unless she became a Catholic.
These words were engraved on her heart; she had adored her husband, and
she resolved to leave Berlin to live with his relations. No one ventured
to oppose this design, her brother accompanying her, and she was welcomed
joyfully by all her husband's kinsfolk.
This budding saint was decidedly plain.
Her brother, finding me less strict than the others, soon constituted
himself my friend. He came over to Aix every day, and took me to the
houses of all the best people.
We were at least thirty at table every day, the dishes were delicate
without undue profusion, the conversation gay and animated without any
improprieties. I noticed that whenever the Marquis d'Argens chanced to
let slip any equivocal expressions, all the ladies made wry faces, and
the chaplain hastened to turn the conversation. This chaplain had
nothing jesuitical in his appearance; he dressed in the costume of an
ordinary priest, and I should never had known him if the Marquis d'Argens
had not warned me. However, I did not allow his presence to act as a wet
I told, in the most decent manner possible, the story of the picture of
the Virgin suckling her Divine Child, and how the Spaniards deserted the
chapel after a stupid priest had covered the beautiful breast with a
kerchief. I do not know how it was, but all the ladies began to laugh.
The disciple of Loyola was so displeased at their mirth, that he took
upon himself to tell me that it was unbecoming to tell such equivocal
stories in public. I thanked him by an inclination of the head, and the
Marquis d'Argens, by way of turning the conversation, asked me what was
the Italian for a splendid dish of stewed veal, which Madame d'Argens was
"Una crostata," I replied, "but I really do not know the Italian for the
'beatilles' with which it is stuffed."
These 'beatilles' were balls of rice, veal, champignons, artichoke, foie
The Jesuit declared that in calling them 'beatilles' I was making a mock
of the glories of hereafter.
I could not help roaring with laughter at this, and the Marquis d'Eguille
took my part, and said that 'beatilles' was the proper French for these
After this daring difference of opinion with his director, the worthy man
thought it would be best to talk of something else. Unhappily, however,
he fell out of the frying-pan into the fire by asking me my opinion as to
the election of the next pope.
"I believe it will be Ganganelli," I replied, "as he is the only monk in
"Why should it be necessary to choose a monk?"
"Because none but a monk would dare to commit the excess which the
Spaniards will demand of the new pope."
"You mean the suppression of the Jesuits."
"They will never obtain such a demand."
"I hope not, for the Jesuits were my masters, and I love them
accordingly. But all the same Ganganelli will be elected, for an amusing
and yet a weighty reason."
"Tell us the reason."
"He is the only cardinal who does not wear a wig; and you must consider
that since the foundation of the Holy See the Pope has never been
This reason created a great deal of amusement; but the conversation was
brought back to the suppression of the Jesuits, and when I told the
company that I had heard from the Abbe Pinzi I saw the Jesuit turn pale.
"The Pope could never suppress the order," he said.
"It seems that you have never been at a Jesuit seminary," I replied, "for
the dogma of the order is that the Pope can do everything, 'et aliquid
This answer made everybody suppose me to be unaware that I was speaking
to a Jesuit, and as he gave me no answer the topic was abandoned.
After dinner I was asked to stay and see 'Polieucte' played; but I
excused myself, and returned to Aix with the young Berliner, who told me
the story of his sister, and made me acquainted with the character of the
society to which the Marquis d'Eguille was chiefly addicted. I felt that
I could never adapt myself to their prejudices, and if it had not been
for my young friend, who introduced me to some charming people, I should
have gone on to Marseilles.
What with assemblies, balls, suppers, and the society of the handsome
Provenqal ladies, I managed to spend the whole of the carnival and a part
of Lent at Aix.
I had made a present of a copy of the "Iliad" to the learned Marquis
d'Argens; to his daughter, who was also a good scholar, I gave a Latin
The "Iliad" had Porphyry's comment; it was a copy of a rare edition, and
was richly bound.
As the marquis came to Aix to thank me, I had to pay another visit to the
In the evening I drove back in an open carriage. I had no cloak, and a
cold north wind was blowing; I was perishing with cold, but instead of
going to bed at once I accompanied the Berliner to the house of a woman
who had a daughter of the utmost beauty. Though the girl was only
fourteen, she had all the indications of the marriageable age, and yet
none of the Provencal amateurs had succeeded in making her see daylight.
My friend had already made several unsuccessful efforts. I laughed at
him, as I knew it was all a cheat, and I followed him to the house with
the idea of making the young imposter dismount from her high horse, as I
had done in similar cases in England and Metz.
We set to work; and, far from resisting, the girl said she would be only
too glad to get rid of the troublesome burden.
I saw that the difficulty only proceeded from the way she held herself,
and I ought to have whipped her, as I had done in Venice twenty-five
years ago, but I was foolish enough to try to take the citadel by storm.
But my age of miracles was gone.
I wearied myself to no purpose for a couple of hours, and then went to my
inn, leaving the young Prussian to do his best.
I went to bed with a pain in my side, and after six hours' sleep awoke
feeling thoroughly ill. I had pleurisy. My landlord called in an old
doctor, who refused to let me blood. A severe cough came on, and the
next day I began to spit blood. In six or seven days the malady became
so serious that I was confessed and received the last sacraments.
On the tenth day, the disease having abated for three days, my clever old
doctor answered for my life, but I continued to spit blood till the
My convalescence lasted for three weeks, and I found it more trying than
the actual illness, for a man in pain has no time to grow weary.
Throughout the whole case I was tended day and night by a strange woman,
of whom I knew nothing. She nursed me with the tenderest care, and I
awaited my recovery to give her my sincere thanks.
She was not an old woman, neither was she attractive looking. She had
slept in my room all the time. After Eastertide, feeling I was well
enough to venture out, I thanked her to the best of my ability, and asked
who had sent her to me. She told me it was the doctor, and so bade me
A few days later I was thanking my old doctor for having procured me such
a capital nurse, but he stared at me and said he knew nothing about the
I was puzzled, and asked my landlord if she could throw any light on the
strange nurse's identity; but she knew nothing, and her ignorance seemed
universal. I could not discover whence or how she came to attend me.
After my convalescence I took care to get all the letters which had been
awaiting me, and amongst them was a letter from my brother in Paris, in
answer to the epistle I wrote him from Perpignan. He acknowledged my
letter, and told me how delighted he had been to receive it, after
hearing the dreadful news that I had been assassinated on the borders of
Catalonia at the beginning of January.
"The person who gave me the news," my brother added, "was one of your
best friends, Count Manucci, an attache at the Venetian embassy. He said
there could be no doubt as to the truth of the report."
This letter was like a flash of lightning to me. This friend of mine had
pushed his vengeance so far as to pay assassins to deprive me of my life.
Manucci had gone a little too far.
He must have been pretty well qualified to prophesy, as he was so certain
of my death. He might have known that in thus proclaiming in advance the
manner of my death, he was also proclaiming himself as my murderer.
I met him at Rome, two years later, and when I would have made him
confess his guilt, he denied everything, saying he had received the news
from Barcelona; however, we will speak of this in its proper place.
I dined and supped every day at the table d'hote, and one day I heard the
company talking of a male and female pilgrim who had recently arrived.
They were Italians, and were returning from St. James of Compostella.
They were said to be high-born folks, as they had distributed large alms
on their entry into the town.
It was said that the female pilgrim, who had gone to bed on her arrival,
was charming. They were staying at the same inn as I was, and we all got
very curious about them.
As an Italian, I put myself at the head of the band who proceeded to call
on the pilgrims, who, in my opinion, must either be fanatics or rogues.
We found the lady sitting in an arm-chair, looking very tired. She was
young, beautiful, and melancholy-looking, and in her hands she held a
brass crucifix some six inches long. She laid it down when we came in,
and got up and received us most graciously. Her companion, who was
arranging cockle-shells on his black mantle, did not stir; he seemed to
say, by glancing at his wife, that we must confine our attentions to her.
He seemed a man of twenty-four or twenty-five years of age. He was short
and badly hung, and his face bore all the indications of daring,
impudence, scarcasm, and imposture. His wife, on the other hand, was all
meekness and simplicity, and had that modesty which adds so much to the
charm of feminine beauty. They only spoke just enough French to make
themselves understood on their journey, and when they heard me addressing
them in Italian they seemed much relieved.
The lady told me she was a Roman, but I could have guessed as much from
her accent. I judged the man to be a Neapolitan or Sicilian. Their
passport, dated Rome, called him Balsamo, while she bore the names of
Serafina Feliciani, which she still retains. Ten years later we shall
hear more of this couple under the name of Cagliostro.
"We are going back to Rome," said she, "well pleased with our devotions
to St. James of Compostella and to Our Lady del Pilar. We have walked
the whole way on foot, living on alms, so as to more surely win the mercy
of the God whom I have offended so grievously. We have had silver, and
even gold money given us, and in every town we came to we gave what
remained to the poor, so as not to offend God by lack of faith.
"My husband is strong, and has not suffered much, but I have found so
much walking very fatiguing. We have slept on straw or bad beds, always
with our clothes on, to avoid contracting diseases it would be hard to
rid one's self of."
It seemed to me that this last circumstance was added to make us wish to
find out whether the rest of her body could compare with her hands and
arms in whiteness.
"Do you think of making any stay?"
"My weariness will oblige us to stay here for three days; then we shall
go to Rome by the way of Turin, where we shall pay our devotion to the
"You know, of course, that there are several of them in Europe."
"So we have heard, but we are assured that the Sudary of Turin is the
true one. It is the kerchief with which St. Veronica wiped the face of
Our Lord, who left the imprint of His divine face upon it."
We left them, well pleased with the appearance and manners of the lady
pilgrim, but placing very little trust in her devotion. I was still weak
from my illness, and she inspired me with no desires, but the rest would
have gladly supped with her if they had thought there was anything to
Next day her husband asked me if I would come up and breakfast with them,
or if they should come down and breakfast with me. It would have been
impolite to have replied neither, so I said that I should be delighted to
see them in my room.
At breakfast I asked the pilgrim what he did, and he replied that he was
He could not design a picture, but he could copy it, and he assured me
that he could copy an engraving so exactly that none could tell the copy
from the original.
"I congratulate you. If you are not a rich man, you are, at least,
certain of earning a living with this talent."
"Everybody says the same, but it is a mistake. I have pursued this craft
at Rome and at Naples, and found I had to work all day to make half a
tester, and that's not enough to live on."
He then shewed me some fans he had done, and I thought them most
beautiful. They were done in pen and ink, and the finest copper-plate
could not have surpassed them.
Next he showed me a copy from a Rembrandt, which if anything, was finer
than the original. In spite of all he swore that the work he got barely
supported him, but I did not believe what he said. He was a weak genius
who preferred a vagabond life to methodical labour.
I offered a Louis for one of his fans, but he refused to take it, begging
me to accept the fan as a gift, and to make a collection for him at the
table d'hote, as he wanted to start the day after next.
I accepted the present and promised to do as he desired, and succeeded in
making up a purse of two hundred francs for them.
The woman had the most virtuous air. She was asked to write her name on
a lottery ticket, but refused, saying that no honest girls were taught to
write at Rome.
Everybody laughed at this excuse except myself, and I pitied her, as I
could see that she was of very low origin.
Next day she came and asked me to give her a letter of introduction for
Avignon. I wrote her out two; one to M. Audifret the banker, and the
other to the landlady of the inn. In the evening she returned me the
letter to the banker, saying that it was not necessary for their
purposes. At the same time she asked me to examine the letter closely,
to see if it was really the same document I had given her. I did so, and
said I was sure it was my letter.
She laughed, and told me I was mistaken as it was only a copy.
She called her husband, who came with the letter in his hand.
I could doubt no longer, and said to him,--
"You are a man of talents, for it is much harder to imitate a handwriting
than an engraving. You ought to make this talent serve you in good
stead; but be careful, or it may cost you your life."
The next day the couple left Aix. In ten years I saw them again under
the name of Count and Countess Pellegrini.
At the present period he is in a prison which he will probably never
leave, and his wife is happy, maybe, in a convent.
My Departure--Letter from Henriette--Marsellies--History of Nina--Nice--
As soon as I had regained my usual strength, I went to take leave of the
Marquis d'Argens and his brother. I dined with them, pretending not to
observe the presence of the Jesuit, and I then spent three delightful
hours in conversation with the learned and amiable Marquis d'Argens. He
told me a number of interesting anecdotes about the private life of
Frederick II. No doubt the reader would like to have them, but I lack
the energy to set them down. Perhaps some other day when the mists about
Dux have dispersed, and some rays of the sun shine in upon me, I shall
commit all these anecdotes to paper, but now I have not the courage to do
Frederick had his good and his bad qualities, like all great men, but
when every deduction on the score of his failings has been made, he still
remains the noblest figure in the eighteenth century.
The King of Sweden, who has been assassinated, loved to excite hatred
that he might have the glory of defying it to do its worst. He was a
despot at heart, and he came to a despot's end. He might have foreseen a
violent death, for throughout his life he was always provoking men to the
point of despair. There can be no comparison between him and Frederick.
The Marquis d'Argens made me a present of all his works, and on my asking
him if I could congratulate myself on possessing the whole number, he
said yes, with the exception of a fragment of autobiography which he had
written in his youth, and which he had afterwards suppressed.
"Why so?" I asked.
"Because I was foolish enough to write the truth. Never give way to this
temptation, if it assails you. If you once begin on this plan you are
not only compelled to record all your vices and follies, but to treat
them in the severe tone of a philosophical historian. You must not, of
course, omit the good you may have done; and so praise and blame is
mingled on every page. All the evil you say of yourself will be held for
gospel, your peccadilloes will be made into crimes, and your good deeds
will not only be received with incredulity, but you will be taxed with
pride and vanity for having recorded them. Besides, if you write your
memoirs, you make an enemy in every chapter if you once begin to tell the
truth. A man should neither talk of himself nor write of himself, unless
it be to refute some calumny or libel."
I was convinced, and promised never to be guilty of such a folly, but in
spite of that I have been writing memoirs for the last seven years, and
though I repent of having begun, I have sworn to go on to the end.
However, I write in the hope that my Memoirs may never see the light of
day; in the first place the censure would not allow them to be printed,
and in the second I hope I shall be strong-minded enough, when my last
illness comes, to have all my papers burnt before my eyes. If that be
not the case I count on the indulgence of my readers, who should remember
that I have only written my story to prevent my going mad in the midst of
all the petty insults and disagreeables which I have to bear day by day
from the envious rascals who live with me in this castle of Count
Waldstein, or Wallenstein, at Dux.
I write ten or twelve hours a day, and so keep black melancholy at bay.
My readers shall hear more of my sufferings later on, if I do not die
before I write them down.
The day after Corpus Christi I left Aix for Marseilles. But here I must
set down a circumstance that I had forgotten; I mean the procession of
Everyone knows that this festival is celebrated with great ceremony all
over Christendom; but at Aix these ceremonies are of such a nature that
every man of sense must be shocked at my recital.
It is well known that this procession in honour of the Being of beings,
represented under the sacramental forms, is followed by all the religious
confraternities, and this is duly done at Aix; but the scandalous part of
the ceremony is the folly and the buffoonery which is allowed in a rite
which should be designed to stir up the hearts of men to awe and
reverence their Creator.
Instead of that, the devil, death, and the seven deadly sins, are
impersonated in the procession. They are clad in the most absurd
costumes, and make hideous contortions, beating and abusing each other in
their supposed vexation at having to join in the Creator's praises. The
people hoot and hiss them, the lower classes sing songs in derision of
them, and play them all manner of tricks, and the whole scene is one of
incredible noise, uproar, and confusion, more worthy of some pagan
bacchanalia than a procession of Christian people. All the country-folk
from five or six leagues around Aix pour into the town on that day to do
honour to God. It is the only occasion of the kind, and the clergy,
either knavish or ignorant, encourage all this shameful riot. The lower
orders take it all in good faith, and anyone who raised any objection
would run some risk, for the bishop goes in front of the saturnalia, and
consequently it is all holy.
I expressed my disapproval of the whole affair, as likely to bring
discredit on religion, to a councillor of parliament, M. de St. Marc; but
he told me gravely that it was an excellent thing, as it brought no less
than a hundred thousand francs into the town on the single day.
I could find no reply to this very weighty reason.
Every day I spent at Aix I thought of Henriette. I knew her real name,
and remembering the message she had sent me by Marcoline I hoped to meet
her in some assembly, being ready to adapt my conduct to hers. I had
often heard her name mentioned, but I never allowed myself to ask any
question, not wishing our old friendship to be suspected. Believing her
to be at her country house, I had resolved on paying her a visit, and had
only stayed on at Aix so as to recover my health before seeing her. In
due course I left Aix with a letter in my pocket for her, resolving to
send it in, and to remain in my carriage till she asked me to get down.
We arrived at her residence at eleven o'clock. A man came to the door,
took my letter, and said madam should have it without fail.
"Then she is not here."
"No, sir; she is at Aix."
"For the last six months."
"Where does she live?"
"In her town house. She will be coming here in three weeks to spend the
summer as usual."
"Will you let me write a letter?"
"If you will get down you will find all the necessary materials in
I went into the house, and to my extreme surprise found myself face to
face with my nurse.
"You live here, then."
"For the last ten years."
"How did you come to nurse me?"
"If you will step upstairs I will tell you."
Her story was as follows:
"Madam sent for me in haste, and told me to go and attend to you as if it
were herself. She told me to say that the doctor had sent me if you
asked any questions."
"The doctor said he didn't know you."
"Perhaps he was speaking the truth, but most likely he had received
orders from madam. That's all I know, but I wonder you haven't seen her
"She cannot see any company, for I have been everywhere."
"She does not see any company at her own house, but she goes everywhere."
"It's very strange. I must have seen her, and yet I do not think I could
have passed her by unrecognized. You have been with her ten years?"
"Yes, sir, as I had the honour of informing you."
"Has she changed? Has she had any sickness? Has she aged?"
"Not at all. She has become rather stout, but I assure you you would
take her for a woman of thirty."
"I must be blind, or I cannot have seen her. I am going to write to her
The woman went out, leaving me in astonishment, at the extraordinary
situation in which I was placed.
"Ought I to return to Aix immediately?" I asked myself. She has a town
house, but does not see company, but she might surely see me: She loves
me still. She cared for me all through my illness, and she would not
have done so if she had become indifferent to me. She will be hurt at my
not recognizing her. She must know that I have left Aix, and will no
doubt guess that I am here now. Shall I go to her or shall I write?
I resolved to write, and I told her in my letter that I should await her
reply at Marseilles. I gave the letter to my late nurse, with some money
to insure its being dispatched at once, and drove on to Marseilles where
I alighted at an obscure inn, not wishing to be recognized. I had
scarcely got out of my carriage when I saw Madame Schizza, Nina's sister.
She had left Barcelona with her husband. They had been at Marseilles
three or four days and were going to Leghorn.
Madame Schizza was alone at the moment, her husband having gone out; and
as I was full of curiosity I begged her to come up to my room while my
dinner was getting ready.
"What is your sister doing? Is she still at Barcelona?"
"Yes; but she will not be there long, for the bishop will not have her in
the town or the diocese, and the bishop is stronger than the viceroy.
She only returned to Barcelona on the plea that she wished to pass
through Catalonia of her way home, but she does not need to stay there
for nine or ten months on that account. She will have to leave in a
month for certain, but she is not much put out, as the viceroy is sure to
keep her wherever she goes, and she may eventually succeed in ruining
him. In the meanwhile she is revelling in the bad repute she has gained
for her lover."
"I know something of her peculiarities; but she cannot dislike a man who
has made her rich."
"Rich! She has only got her diamonds. Do you imagine this monster
capable of any feelings of gratitude? She is not a human being, and no
one knows her as I do. She has made the count commit a hundred acts of
injustice so that all Spain may talk of her, and know that she has made
herself mistress of his body and soul, and all he has. The worse his
actions are, the more certain she feels that people will talk of her, and
that is all she wants. Her obligations to me are beyond counting, for
she owes me all, even to her existence, and instead of continuing my
husband in her service she has sent him about his business."
"Then I wonder how she came to treat me so generously."
"If you knew all, you would not feel grateful to her."
"Tell me all, then."
"She only paid for your keep at the inn and in prison to make people
believe you were her lover, and to shame the count. All Barcelona knows
that you were assassinated at her door, and that you were fortunate
enough to run the fellow through."
"But she cannot have been the instigator of, or even the accomplice in,
the plot for my assassination. That's against nature."
"I dare say, but everything in Nina is against nature. What I tell you
is the bare truth, for I was a witness of it all. Whenever the viceroy
visited her she wearied him with praise of your gallantry, your wit, your
noble actions, comparing you with the Spaniards, greatly to their
"The count got impatient and told her to talk of something else, but she
would not; and at last he went away, cursing your name. Two days before
you came to grief he left her, saying,--
"'Valga me Dios! I will give you a pleasure you do not expect.'
"I assure you that when we heard the pistol-shot after you had gone, she
remarked, without evincing the slightest emotion, that the shot was the
pleasure her rascally Spaniard had promised her.
"I said that you might be killed.
"'All the worse for the count,' she replied, 'for his turn will come
"Then she began laughing like a madcap; she was thinking of the
excitement your death would cause in Barcelona.
"At eight o'clock the following day, your man came and told her that you
had been taken to the citadel; and I will say it to her credit, she
seemed relieved to hear you were alive."
"My man--I did not know that he was in correspondence with her."
"No, I suppose not; but I assure you the worthy man was very much
attached to you."
"I am sure he was. Go on."
"Nina then wrote a note to your landlord. She did not shew it me, but it
no doubt contained instructions to supply you with everything.
"The man told us that he had seen your sword all red with blood, and that
your cloak had a bullet hole through it. She was delighted, but do not
think it was because she loved you; she was glad you had escaped that you
might take your revenge. However, she was troubled by the pretext on
which the count had had you arrested.
"Ricla did not come to see her that day, but he came the next day at
eight o'clock, and the infamous creature received him with a smiling
face. She told him she had heard he had imprisoned you, and that she was
obliged to him, as he had, of course, done so to protect you from any
fresh attempts on your life.
"He answered, dryly, that your arrest had nothing to do with anything
that might have happened the night before. He added that you had only
been seized pending the examination of your papers, and that if they were
found to be in good form, you would be set at liberty in the course of a
"Nina asked him who was the man that you had wounded. He replied that
the police were enquiring into the matter, but that so far they had
neither found a dead man nor a wounded man, nor any traces of blood. All
that had been found was Casanova's hat, and this had been returned to
"I left them alone together till midnight, so I cannot say what further
converse they may have had on the subject, but three or four days later
everybody knew that you were imprisoned in the tower.
"Nina asked the count the reason of this severity in the evening, and he
replied that your passports were thought to be forgeries, because you
were in disgrace with the State Inquisitors, and therefore would not be
in a position to get a passport from the Venetian ambassador. On this
supposition he said you had been placed in the tower, and if it proved to
be a true one, you would be still more severely punished.
"This news disturbed us, and when we heard that Pogomas had been arrested
we felt certain he had denounced you in revenge for your having procured
his dismissal from Nina's house. When we heard that he had been let out
and sent to Genoa, we expected to hear of your being set at liberty, as
the authorities must have been satisfied of the genuine character of your
passports; but you were still shut up, and Nina did not know what to
think, and the count would not answer her when she made enquiries about
you. She had made up her mind to say no more about it, when at last we
heard you had been set free and that your passports had been declared
"Nina thought to see you in the pit of the opera-house, and made
preparations for a triumph in her box; but she was in despair when she
heard no performance was to be given. In the evening the count told her
that your passports had been returned with the order to leave in three
days. The false creature praised her lover's prudence to his face, but
she cursed him in her heart.
"She knew you would not dare to see her, and when you left without
writing her a note, she said you had received secret orders not to hold
any further communications with her. She was furious with the viceroy.
"'If Casanova had had the courage to ask me to go with him, I would have
gone,' said she.
"Your man told her of your fortunate escape from three assassins. In the
evening she congratulated Ricla on the circumstance, but he swore he knew
nothing about it. Nina did not believe him. You may thank God from the
bottom of your heart that you ever left Spain alive after knowing Nina.
She would have cost you your life at last, and she punishes me for having
given her life."
"What! Are you her mother?"
"Yes; Nina, that horrible woman, is my daughter."
"Really? Everybody says you are her sister."
"That is the horrible part of it, everybody is right."
"Yes, though it is to my shame. She is my sister and my daughter, for
she is the daughter of my father."
"What! your father loved you?"
"I do not know whether the scoundrel loved me, but he treated me as his
wife. I was sixteen then. She is the daughter of the crime, and God
knows she is sufficient punishment for it. My father died to escape her
vengeance; may he also escape the vengeance of God. I should have
strangled her in her cradle, but maybe I shall strangle her yet. If I do
not, she will kill me."
I remained dumb at the conclusion of this dreadful story, which bore all
the marks of truth.
"Does Nina know that you are her mother?"
"Her own father told her the secret when she was twelve, after he had
initiated her into the life she has been living ever since. He would
have made her a mother in her turn if he had not killed himself the same
year, maybe to escape the gallows."
"How did the Conte de Ricla fall in love with her?"
"It is a short story and a curious one. Two years ago she came to
Barcelona from Portugal, and was placed in one of the ballets for the
sake of her pretty face, for as to talents she had none, and could only
do the rebaltade (a sort of skip and pirouette) properly.
"The first evening she danced she was loudly applauded by the pit, for as
she did the rebaltade she shewed her drawers up to her waist. In Spain
any actress who shews her drawers on the stage is liable to a fine of a
crown. Nina knew nothing about this, and, hearing the applause, treated
the audience to another skip of the same kind, but at the end of the
ballet she was told to pay two crowns for her immodesty. Nina cursed and
swore, but she had to give in. What do you think she did to elude the
law, and at the same time avenge herself?"
"Danced badly, perhaps."
"She danced without any drawers at all, and did her rebdltade as before,
which caused such an effervescence of high spirits in the house as had
never been known at Barcelona.
"The Conte de Ricla had seen her from his box, and was divided between
horror and admiration, and sent for the inspector to tell him that this
impudent creature must be punished.
"'In the mean time,' said he, 'bring her before me.'
"Presently Nina appeared in the viceroy's box, and asked him, impudently,
what he wanted with her.
"'You are an immodest woman, and have failed in your duty to the public.'
"'What have I done?
"'You performed the same skip as before.'
"'Yes, but I haven't broken your law, for no one can have seen my drawers
as I took the precaution not to put any on. What more can I do for your
cursed law, which has cost me two crowns already? Just tell me.'
"The viceroy and the great personages around him had much ado to refrain
from laughter, for Nina was really in the right, and a serious discussion
of the violated law would have been ridiculous.
"The viceroy felt he was in a false position, and merely said that if she
ever danced without drawers again she should have a month's imprisonment
on bread and water.
"A week after one of my husband's ballets was given. It was so well
received that the audience encored it with enthusiasm. Ricla gave orders
that the public should be satisfied, and all the dancers were told they
would have to reappear.
"Nina, who was almost undressed, told my husband to do as best he could,
as she was not going to dance again. As she had the chief part my
husband could not do without her, and sent the manager to her dressing-
room. She pushed the poor man out with so much violence that he fell
against the wall of the passage, head foremost.
"The manager told his piteous tale to the viceroy, who ordered two
soldiers to bring her before him. This was his ruin; for Nina is a
beautiful woman, and in her then state of undress she would have seduced
the coldest of men.
"The count reproved her, but his voice and his manner were ill-assured,
and growing bolder as she watched his embarrassment, Nina replied that he
might have her torn to pieces if he liked, but she would not dance
against her will, and nowhere in her agreement was it stipulated that she
should dance twice in the same evening, whether for his pleasure or
anyone else's. She also expressed her anger at making her appear before
him in a state of semi-nudity, and swore she would never forgive his
barbarous and despotic conduct.
"'I will dance no more before you or your people.
'Let me go away, or kill me if you like; do your worst on me, and you
shall find that I am a Venetian and a free woman!'
"The viceroy sat astonished, and said she must be mad. He then summoned
my husband and told him she was no longer in his service. Nina was told
she was free, and could go where she would.
"She went back to her dressing-room and came to us, where she was living.
"The ballet went on without her, and the poor viceroy sat in a dream, for
the poison had entered into his veins.
"Next day a wretched singer named Molinari called on Nina and told her
that the viceroy was anxious to know whether she were really mad or not,
and would like to see her in a country house, the name of which he
mentioned: this was just what the wretched woman wanted.
"'Tell his highness,' she said to Molinari, "that I will come, and that
he will find me as gentle as a lamb and as good as an angel.'
"This is the way in which the connection began, and she fathomed his
character so astutely that she maintained her conquest as much with ill-
treatment and severity as with her favours."
Such was the tale of the hapless Madame Schizza. It was told with all
the passion of an Italian divided between repentance for the past and the
desire of vengeance.
The next day, as I had expected, I received a letter from Henriette. It
ran as follows:
"My Dear Old Friend,--Nothing could be more romantic than our meeting at
my country house six years ago, and now again, after a parting of so many
years. Naturally we have both grown older, and though I love you still I
am glad you did not recognize me. Not that I have become ugly, but I am
stout, and this gives me another look. I am a widow, and well enough off
to tell you that if you lack money you will find some ready for you in
Henriette's purse. Do not come back to Aix to see me, as your return
might give rise to gossip; but if you chance to come here again after
some time, we may meet, though not as old acquaintances. I am happy to
think that I have perhaps prolonged your days by giving you a nurse for
whose trustworthiness I would answer. If you would like to correspond
with me I should be happy to do my part. I am very curious to know what
happened to you after your flight from The Leads, and after the proofs
you have given me of your discretion I think I shall be able to tell you
how we came to meet at Cesena, and how I returned to my country. The
first part is a secret for everyone; only M. d'Antoine is acquainted with
a portion of the story. I am grateful for the reticence you have
observed, though Marcoline must have delivered the message I gave her.
Tell me what has become of that beautiful girl. Farewell!"
I replied, accepting her offer to correspond, and I told her the whole
story of my adventures. From her I received forty letters, in which the
history of her life is given. If she die before me, I shall add these
letters to my Memoirs, but at present she is alive and happy, though
advanced in years.
The day after I went to call on Madame Audibert, and we went together to
see Madame N---- N----, who was already the mother of three children.
Her husband adored her, and she was very happy. I gave her good news of
Marcoline, and told the story of Croce and Charlotte's death, which
affected her to tears.
In turn she told me about Rosalie, who was quite a rich woman. I had no
hopes of seeing her again, for she lived at Genoa, and I should not have
cared to face M. Grimaldi.
My niece (as I once called her) mortified me unintentionally; she said I
was ageing. Though a man can easily make a jest of his advancing years,
a speech like this is not pleasant when one has not abandoned the pursuit
of pleasure. She gave me a capital dinner, and her husband made me
offers which I was ashamed to accept. I had fifty Louis, and, intending
to go on to Turin, I did not feel uneasy about the future.
At Marseilles I met the Duc de Vilardi, who was kept alive by the art of
Tronchin. This nobleman, who was Governor of Provence, asked me to
supper, and I was surprised to meet at his house the self-styled Marquis
d'Aragon; he was engaged in holding the bank. I staked a few coins and
lost, and the marquis asked me to dine with him and his wife, an elderly
Englishwoman, who had brought him a dowry of forty thousand guineas
absolutely, with twenty thousand guineas which would ultimately go to her
son in London. I was not ashamed to borrow fifty Louis from this lucky
rascal, though I felt almost certain that I should never return the
I left Marseilles by myself, and after crossing the Alps arrived at
There I had a warm welcome from the Chevalier Raiberti and the Comte de
la Perouse. Both of them pronounced me to be looking older, but I
consoled myself with the thought that, after all, I was only forty-four.
I became an intimate friend of the English ambassador, Sir N----, a rich,
accomplished and cultured man, who kept the choicest of tables.
Everybody loved him, and amongst others this feeling was warmly shared by
a Parmese girl, named Campioni, who was wonderfully beautiful.
As soon as I had told my friends that I intended to go into Switzerland
to print at my own expense a refutation in Italian of the "History of the
Venetian Government," by Amelot de la Houssaye, they all did their best
by subscribing and obtaining subscriptions. The most generous of all was
the Comte de la Perouse, who gave me two hundred and fifty francs for
fifty copies. I left Turin in a week with two thousand lire in my purse.
With this I should be able to print the book I had composed in my prison;
but I should have to rewrite it 'ab initio', with the volume to my hand,
as also the "History of Venice," by Nani.
When I had got these works I set out with the intention of having my book
printed at Lugano, as there was a good press there and no censure. I
also knew that the head of the press was a well-read man, and that the
place abounded in good cheer and good society.
Lugano is near Milan, Como, and Lake Maggiore, and I was well pleased
with the situation. I went to the best inn, which was kept by a man
named Tagoretti, who gave me the best room in the house.
The day after my arrival I called on Dr. Agnelli, who was at once
printer, priest, theologian, and an honest man. I made a regular
agreement with him, he engaging to print at the rate of four sheets a
week, and on my side I promised to pay him every week. He reserved the
right of censorship, expressing a hope that our opinions might coincide.
I gave him the preface and the preliminary matter at once, and chose the
paper and the size, large octavo.
When I got back to my inn the landlord told me that the bargello, or
chief constable, wanted to see me.
Although Lugano is in Switzerland, its municipal government is modelled
after that of the Italian towns.
I was curious to hear what this ill-omened personage could have to say to
me, so I told him to shew him in. After giving me a profound bow, with
his hat in his hand, Signor Bargello told me that he had come to offer me
his services, and to assure me that I should enjoy complete tranquillity
and safety in Lugano, whether from any enemies within the State or from
the Venetian Government, in case I had any dispute with it.
"I thank you, signor," I replied, "and I am sure that you are telling me
the truth, as I am in Switzerland."
"I must take the liberty of telling you, sir, that it is customary for
strangers who take up their residence in Lugano, to pay some trifling
sum, either by the week, the month, or the year."
"And if they refuse to pay?"
"Then their safety is not so sure."
"Money does everything in Lugano, I suppose."
"I understand, but let me tell you that I have no fears, and I shall
consequently beg to be excused from paying anything."
"You will forgive me, but I happen to know that you have some disputes
with the Venetian Government."
"You are making a mistake, my good fellow."
"No, I am not."
"If you are so sure, find someone to bet me two hundred sequins that I
have reason to fear the Venetian Government; I will take the bet and
deposit the amount."
The bargello remained silent, and the landlord told him he seemed to have
made some kind of mistake, so he went away, looking very disappointed.
My landlord was delighted to hear that I thought of making some stay at
Lugano, and advised me to call on the high bailiff, who governed the
"He's a very nice Swiss gentleman," said he, "and his wife a clever
woman, and as fair as the day."
"I will go and see him to-morrow."
I sent in my name to the high bailiff at noon on the day following, and
what was my surprise to find myself in the presence of M. de R and his
charming wife. Beside her was a pretty boy, five or six years old.
Our mutual surprise may be imagined!
The Punishment of Marazzani--I Leave Lugano--Turin--M. Dubois at Parma--
Leghorn--The Duke of Orloff--Pisa--Stratico--Sienna--The Marchioness
Chigi--My Departure from Sienna With an Englishwoman
These unforeseen, haphazard meetings with old friends have always been
the happiest moments of my life.
We all remained for some time dumb with delight. M. de R. was the first
to break the silence by giving me a cordial embrace. We burst out into
mutual excuses, he for having imagined that there might be other
Casanovas in Italy, and I for not having ascertained his name. He made
me take pot-luck with him the same day, and we seemed as if we had never
parted. The Republic had given him this employ--a very lucrative one--
and he was only sorry that it would expire in two years. He told me he
was delighted to be able to be of use to me, and begged me to consider he
was wholly at my service. He was delighted to hear that I should be
engaged in seeing my work through the press for three or four months, and
seemed vexed when I told him that I could not accept his hospitality more
than once a week as my labours would be incessant.
Madame de R---- could scarcely recover from her surprise. It was nine
years since I had seen her at Soleure, and then I thought her beauty must
be at its zenith; but I was wrong, she was still more beautiful and I
told her so. She shewed me her only child, who had been born four years
after my departure. She cherished the child as the apple of her eye, and
seemed likely to spoil it; but I heard, a few years ago, that this child
is now an amiable and accomplished man.
In a quarter of an hour Madame de R---- informed me of all that had
happened at Soleure since my departure. Lebel had gone to Besancon,
where he lived happily with his charming wife.
She happened to observe in a casual way that I no longer looked as young
as I had done at Soleure, and this made me regulate my conduct in a
manner I might not otherwise have done. I did not let her beauty carry
me away; I resisted the effect of her charms, and I was content to enjoy
her friendship, and to be worthy of the friendship of her good husband.
The work on which I was engaged demanded all my care and attention, and a
love affair would have wasted most of my time.
I began work the next morning, and save for an hour's visit from M. de
R---- I wrote on till nightfall. The next day I had the first proof-
sheet with which I was well enough pleased.
I spent the whole of the next month in my room, working assiduously, and
only going out to mass on feast days, to dine with M. de R----, and to
walk with his wife and her child.
At the end of a month my first volume was printed and stitched, and the
manuscript of the second volume was ready for the press. Towards the end
of October the printer sent in the entire work in three volumes, and in
less than a year the edition was sold out.
My object was not so much to make money as to appease the wrath of the
Venetian Inquisitors; I had gone all over Europe, and experienced a
violent desire to see my native land once more.
Amelot de la Houssaye had written his book from the point of view of an
enemy of Venice. His history was rather a satire, containing learned and
slanderous observations mingled together. It had been published for
seventy years, but hitherto no one had taken the trouble to refute it.
If a Venetian had attempted to do so he would not have obtained
permission from his Government to print it in the States of Venice, for
the State policy is to allow no one to discuss the actions of the
authorities, whether in praise or blame; consequently no writer had
attempted to refute the French history, as it was well known that the
refutation would be visited with punishment and not with reward.
My position was an exceptional one. I had been persecuted by the
Venetian Government, so no one could accuse me of being partial; and by
my exposing the calumnies of Amelot before all Europe I hoped to gain a
reward, which after all would only be an act of justice.
I had been an exile for fourteen years, and I thought the Inquisitors
would be glad to repair their injustice on the pretext of rewarding my
My readers will see that my hopes were fulfilled, but I had to wait for
five more years instead of receiving permission to return at once.
M. de Bragadin was dead, and Dandolo and Barbaro were the only friends I
had left at Venice; and with their aid I contrived to subscribe fifty
copies of my book in my native town.
Throughout my stay at Lugano I only frequented the house of M. de R-----,
where I saw the Abbe Riva, a learned and discreet man, to whom I had been
commended by M. Querini, his relation. The abbe enjoyed such a
reputation for wisdom amongst his fellow-countrymen that he was a kind of
arbiter in all disputes, and thus the expenses of the law were saved.
It was no wonder that the gentlemen of the long robe hated him most
cordially. His nephew, Jean Baptiste Riva, was a friend of the Muses, of
Bacchus, and of Venus; he was also a friend of mine, though I could not
match him with the bottles. He lent me all the nymphs he had initiated
into the mysteries, and they liked him all the better, as I made them
some small presents. With him and his two pretty sisters I went to the
Borromean Isles. I knew that Count Borromeo, who had honoured me with
his friendship at Turin, was there, and from him I felt certain of a warm
welcome. One of the two sisters had to pass for Riva's wife, and the
other for his sister-in-law.
Although the count was a ruined man he lived in his isles like a prince.
It would be impossible to describe these Islands of the Blest; they must
be seen to be imagined. The inhabitants enjoy an everlasting spring;
there is neither heat nor cold.
The count regaled us choicely, and amused the two girls by giving them
rods and lines and letting them fish. Although he was ugly, old, and
ruined, he still possessed the art of pleasing.
On the way back to Lugano, as I was making place for a carriage in a
narrow road, my horse slipped and fell down a slope ten feet high. My
head went against a large stone, and I thought my last hour was come as
the blood poured out of the wound. However, I was well again in a few
days. This was my last ride on horseback.
During my stay at Lugano the inspectors of the Swiss cantons came there
in its turn. The people dignified them with the magnificent title of
ambassadors, but M. de R---- was content to call them avoyers.
These gentlemen stayed at my inn, and I had my meals with them throughout
The avoyer of Berne gave me some news of my poor friend M. F----. His
charming daughter Sara had become the wife of M, de V----, and was happy.
A few days after these pleasant and cultured men had left, I was startled
one morning by the sudden appearance of the wretched Marazzani in my
room. I seized him by his collar, threw him out, and before he had time
to use his cane or his sword, I had kicked, beaten, and boxed him most
soundly. He defended himself to the best of his ability, and the
landlord and his men ran up at the noise, and had some difficulty in
"Don't let him go!" I cried, "send for the bargello and have him away to
I dressed myself hastily, and as I was going out to see M. de R----, the
bargello met me, and asked me on what charge I gave the man into custody.
"You will hear that at M. de R----'s, where I shall await you."
I must now explain my anger. You may remember, reader, that I left the
wretched fellow in the prison of Buen Retiro. I heard afterwards that
the King of Spain, Jerusalem, and the Canary Islands, had given him a
small post in a galley off the coast of Africa.
He had done me no harm, and I pitied him; but not being his intimate
friend, and having no power to mitigate the hardship of his lot, I had
well-nigh forgotten him.
Eight months after, I met at Barcelona Madame Bellucci, a Venetian
dancer, with whom I had had a small intrigue. She gave an exclamation of
delight on seeing me, and said she was glad to see me delivered from the
hard fate to which a tyrannous Government had condemned me.
"What fate is that?" I asked, "I have seen a good deal of misfortune
since I left you."
"I mean the presidio."
"But that has never been my lot, thank God! Who told you such a story?"
"A Count Marazzani, who was here three weeks ago, and told me he had been
luckier than you, as he had made his escape."
"He's a liar and a scoundrel; and if ever I meet him again he shall pay
From that moment I never thought of the rascal without feeling a lively
desire to give him a thrashing, but I never thought that chance would
bring about so early a meeting.
Under the circumstances I think my behaviour will be thought only
natural. I had beaten him, but that was not enough for me. I seemed to
have done nothing, and indeed, I had got as good as I gave.
In the mean time he was in prison, and I went to M. de R---- to see what
he could do for me.
As soon as M. de R heard my statement he said he could neither keep him
in prison nor drive him out of the town unless I laid a plea before him,
craving protection against this man, whom I believed to have come to
Lugano with the purpose of assassinating me.
"You can make the document more effective," he added, "by placing your
actual grievance in a strong light, and laying stress on his sudden
appearance in your room without sending in his name. That's what you had
better do, and it remains to be seen how I shall answer your plea. I
shall ask him for his passport and delay the case, and order him to be
severely treated; but in the end I shall only be able to drive him out of
the town, unless he can find good bail."
I could ask no more. I sent in my plea, and the next day I had the
pleasure of seeing him brought into the court bound hand and foot.
M. de R began to examine him, and Marazzani swore he had no evil
intentions in calling on me. As to the calumny, he protested he had only
repeated common rumour, and professed his joy at finding it had been
This ought to have been enough for me, but I continued obdurate.
M. de R---- said the fact of my being sent to the galleys having been
rumoured was no justification for his repeating it.
"And furthermore," he proceeded, "M. Casanova's suspicion that you were
going to assassinate him is justified by your giving a false name, for
the plaintiff maintains that you are not Count Marazzani at all. He
offers to furnish surety on this behalf, and if M. Casanova does you
wrong, his bail will escheat to you as damages. In the mean time you
will remain in prison till we have further information about your real
He was taken back, and as the poor devil had not a penny in his pocket it
would have been superfluous to tell the bargedlo to treat him severely.
M. de R wrote to the Swiss agent at Parma to obtain the necessary
information; but as the rascal knew this would be against him, he wrote
me a humble letter, in which he confessed that he was the son of a poor
shopkeeper of Bobbio, and although his name was really Marazzani, he had
nothing to do with the Marazzanis of Plaisance. He begged me to set him
I shewed the letter to M. de R----, who let him out of prison with orders
to leave Lugano in twenty-four hours.
I thought I had been rather too harsh with him, and gave the poor devil
some money to take him to Augsburg, and also a letter for M. de
Sellentin, who was recruiting there for the Prussian king. We shall hear
of Marazzani again.
The Chevalier de Breche came to the Lugano Fair to buy some horses, and
stopped a fortnight. I often met him at M. de R----'s, for whose wife he
had a great admiration, and I was sorry to see him go.
I left Lugano myself a few days later, having made up my mind to winter
in Turin, where I hoped to see some pleasant society.
Before I left I received a friendly letter from Prince Lubomirski, with a
bill for a hundred ducats, in payment of fifty copies of my book. The
prince had become lord high marshal on the death of Count Bilinski.
When I got to Turin I found a letter from the noble Venetian M. Girolamo
Zulian, the same that had given me an introduction to Mocenigo. His
letter contained an enclosure to M. Berlendis, the representative of the
Republic at Turin, who thanked me for having enabled him to receive me.
The ambassador, a rich man, and a great lover of the fair sex, kept up a
splendid establishment, and this was enough for his Government, for
intelligence is not considered a necessary qualification for a Venetian
ambassador. Indeed it is a positive disadvantage, and a witty ambassador
would no doubt fall into disgrace with the Venetian Senate. However,
Berlendis ran no risk whatever on this score; the realm of wit was an
unknown land to him.
I got this ambassador to call the attention of his Government to the work
I had recently published, and the answer the State Inquisitors gave may
astonish my readers, but it did not astonish me. The secretary of the
famous and accursed Tribunal wrote to say that he had done well to call
the attention of the Inquisitors to this work, as the author's
presumption appeared on the title-page. He added that the work would be
examined, and in the mean time the ambassador was instructed to shew me
no signal marks of favour lest the Court should suppose he was protecting
me as a Venetian.
Nevertheless, it was the same tribunal that had facilitated my access to
the ambassador to Madrid--Mocenigo.
I told Berlendis that my visits should be limited in number, and free
from all ostentation.
I was much interested in his son's tutor; he was a priest, a man of
letters, and a poet. His name was Andreis, and he is now resident in
England, where he enjoys full liberty, the greatest of all blessings.
I spent my time at Turin very pleasantly, in the midst of a small circle
of Epicureans; there were the old Chevalier Raiberti, the Comte de la
Perouse, a certain Abbe Roubien, a delightful man, the voluptuous Comte
de Riva, and the English ambassador. To the amusements which this
society afforded I added a course of reading, but no love affairs
While I was at Turin, a milliner, Perouse's mistress, feeling herself in
'articulo mortis', swallowed the portrait of her lover instead of the
Eucharist. This incident made me compose two sonnets, which pleased me a
good deal at the time, and with which I am still satisfied. No doubt
some will say that every poet is pleased with his own handiwork, but as a
matter of fact, the severest critic of a sensible author is himself.
The Russian squadron, under the command of Count Alexis Orloff, was then
at Leghorn; this squadron threatened Constantinople, and would probably
have taken it if an Englishman had been in command.
As I had known Count Orloff in Russia, I imagined that I might possibly
render myself of service to him, and at the same time make my fortune.
The English ambassador having given me a letter for the English consul, I
left Turin with very little money in my purse and no letter of credit on
An Englishman named Acton commended me to an English banker at Leghorn,
but this letter did not empower me to draw any supplies.
Acton was just then involved in a curious complication. When he was at
Venice he had fallen in love with a pretty woman, either a Greek or a
Neapolitan. The husband, by birth a native of Turin, and by profession a
good-for-nothing, placed no obstacle in Acton's way, as the Englishman
was generous with his money; but he had a knack of turning up at those
moments when his absence would have been most desirable.
The generous but proud and impatient Englishman could not be expected to
bear this for long. He consulted with the lady, and determined to shew
his teeth. The husband persisted in his untimely visits, and one day
Acton said, dryly,--
"Do you want a thousand guineas? You can have them if you like, on the
condition that your wife travels with me for three years without our
having the pleasure of your society."
The husband thought the bargain a good one, and signed an agreement to
After the three years were over the husband wrote to his wife, who was at
Venice, to return to him, and to Acton to put no obstacle in the way.
The lady replied that she did not want to live with him any more, and
Acton explained to the husband that he could not be expected to drive his
mistress away against her will. He foresaw, however, that the husband
would complain to the English ambassador, and determined to be before-
handed with him.
In due course the husband did apply to the English ambassador, requesting
him to compel Acton to restore to him his lawful wife. He even asked the
Chevalier Raiberti to write to the Commendatore Camarana, the Sardinian
ambassador at Venice, to apply pressure on the Venetian Government, and
he would doubtless have succeeded if M. Raiberti had done him this
favour. However, as it was he did nothing of the sort, and even gave
Acton a warm welcome when he came to Turin to look into the matter. He
had left his mistress at Venice under the protection of the English
The husband was ashamed to complain publicly, as he would have been
confronted with the disgraceful agreement he had signed; but Berlendis
maintained that he was in the right, and argued the question in the most
amusing manner. On the one hand he urged the sacred and inviolable
character of the marriage rite, and on the other he shewed how the wife
was bound to submit to her husband in all things. I argued the matter
with him myself, shewing him his disgraceful position in defending a man
who traded on his wife's charms, and he was obliged to give in when I
assured him that the husband had offered to renew the lease for the same
time and on the same terms as before.
Two years later I met Acton at Bologna, and admired the beauty whom he
considered and treated as his wife. She held on her knees a fine little
I left Turin for Parma with a Venetian who, like myself, was an exile
from his country. He had turned actor to gain a livelihood; and was
going to Parma with two actresses, one of whom was interesting. As soon
as I found out who he was, we became friends, and he would have gladly
made me a partner in all his amusements, by the way, if I had been in the
humour to join him.
This journey to Leghorn was undertaken under the influence of chimercial
ideas. I thought I might be useful to Count Orloff, in the conquest he
was going to make, as it was said, of Constantinople. I fancied that it
had been decreed by fate that without me he could never pass through the
Dardanelles. In spite of the wild ideas with which my mind was occupied,
I conceived a warm friendship for my travelling companion, whose name was
Angelo Bentivoglio. The Government never forgave him a certain crime,
which to the philosophic eye appears a mere trifle. In four years later,
when I describe my stay at Venice, I shall give some further account of
About noon we reached Parma, and I bade adieu to Bentivoglio and his
friends. The Court was at Colorno, but having nothing to gain from this
mockery of a court, and wishing to leave for Bologna the next morning, I
asked Dubois-Chateleraux, Chief of the Mint, and a talented though vain
man, to give me some dinner. The reader will remember that I had known
him twenty two years before, when I was in love with Henriette. He was
delighted to see me, and seemed to set great store by my politeness in
giving him the benefit of my short stay at Parma. I told him that Count
Orloff was waiting for me at Leghorn, and that I was obliged to travel
day and night.
"He will be setting sail before long," said he; "I have advices from
Leghorn to that effect."
I said in a mysterious tone of voice that he would not sail without me,
and I could see that my host treated me with increased respect after
this. He wanted to discuss the Russian Expedition, but my air of reserve
made him change the conversation.
At dinner we talked a good deal about Henriette, whom he said he had
succeeded in finding out; but though he spoke of her with great respect,
I took care not to give him any information on the subject. He spent the
whole afternoon in uttering complaints against the sovereigns of Europe,
the King of Prussia excepted, as he had made him a baron, though I never
could make out why.
He cursed the Duke of Parma who persisted in retaining his services,
although there was no mint in existence in the duchy, and his talents
were consequently wasted there.
I listened to all his complaints, and agreed that Louis XV. had been
ungrateful in not conferring the Order of St. Michael on him; that Venice
had rewarded his services very shabbily; that Spain was stingy, and
Naples devoid of honesty, etc., etc. When he had finished, I asked him
if he could give me a bill on a banker for fifty sequins.
He replied in the most friendly manner that he would not give me the
trouble of going to a banker for such a wretched sum as that; he would be
delighted to oblige me himself.
I took the money promising to repay him at an early date, but I have
never been able to do so. I do not know whether he is alive or dead, but
if he were to attain the age of Methuselah I should not entertain any
hopes of paying him; for I get poorer every day, and feel that my end is