Part 69 out of 70
I dressed myself as if I had been about to speak to a monarch, and sent
in a note to his room.
I had not long to wait; he came out and welcomed me most graciously,
telling me how delighted he was to see me again.
When he heard the reason of my being at Trieste, and how I desired to
return to my country, he assured me he would do all in his power to
obtain me my wish. He thanked me for the care I had taken of his nephew
at Florence, and kept me all the day while I told him my principal
He was glad to hear that M. Zaguri was working for me, and said that they
must concert the mater together. He commended me warmly to the consul,
who was delighted to be able to inform the Tribunal of the consideration
with which M. Morosini treated me.
After the procurator had gone I began to enjoy life at Trieste, but in
strict moderation and with due regard for economy, for I had only fifteen
sequins a month. I abjured play altogether.
Every day I dined with one of the circle of my friends, who were the
Venetian consul, the French consul (an eccentric but worthy man who kept
a good cook), Pittoni, who kept an excellent table, thanks to his man who
knew what was to his own interests, and several others.
As for the pleasures of love I enjoyed them in moderation, taking care of
my purse and of my health.
Towards the end of the carnival I went to a masked ball at the theatre,
and in the course of the evening a harlequin came up and presented his
columbine to me. They both began to play tricks on me. I was pleased
with the columbine, and felt a strong desire to be acquainted with her.
After some vain researches the French consul, M. de St. Sauveur, told me
that the harlequin was a young lady of rank, and that the columbine was a
handsome young man.
"If you like," he added, "I will introduce you to the harlequin's family,
and I am sure you will appreciate her charms when you see her as a girl."
As they persisted in their jokes I was able, without wounding decency
overmuch, to convince myself that the consul was right on the question of
sex; and when the ball was over I said I should be obliged by his
introducing me as he had promised. He promised to do so the day after
Thus I made the acquaintance of Madame Leo, who was still pretty and
agreeable, though she had lived very freely in her younger days. There
was her husband, a son, and six daughters, all handsome, but especially
the harlequin with whom I was much taken. Naturally I fell in love with
her, but as I was her senior by thirty years, and had begun my addresses
in a tone of fatherly affection, a feeling of shame prevented my
disclosing to her the real state of my heart. Four years later she told
me herself that she had guessed my real feelings, and had been amused by
my foolish restraint.
A young girl learns deeper lessons from nature than we men can acquire
with all our experience.
At the Easter of 1773 Count Auersperg, the Governor of Trieste, was
recalled to Vienna, and Count Wagensberg took his place. His eldest
daughter, the Countess Lantieri, who was a great beauty, inspired me with
a passion which would have made me unhappy if I had not succeeded in
hiding it under a veil of the profoundest respect.
I celebrated the accession of the new governor by some verses which I had
printed, and in which, while lauding the father, I paid conspicuous
homage to the charms of the daughter.
My tribute pleased them, and I became an intimate friend of the count's.
He placed confidence in me with the idea of my using it to my own
advantage, for though he did not say so openly I divined his intention.
The Venetian consul had told me that he had been vainly endeavouring for
the last four years to get the Government of Trieste to arrange for the
weekly diligence from Trieste to Mestre to pass by Udine, the capital of
the Venetian Friuli.
"This alteration," he had said, "would greatly benefit the commerce of
the two states; but the Municipal Council of Trieste opposes it for a
plausible but ridiculous reason."
These councillors, in the depth of their wisdom, said that if the
Venetian Republic desired the alteration it would evidently be to their
advantage, and consequently to the disadvantage of Trieste.
The consul assured me that if I could in any way obtain the concession it
would weigh strongly in my favour with the State Inquisitors, and even in
the event of my non-success he would represent my exertions in the most
I promised I would think the matter over.
Finding myself high in the governor's favour, I took the opportunity of
addressing myself to him on the subject. He had heard about the matter,
and thought the objection of the Town Council absurd and even monstrous;
but he professed his inability to do anything himself.
"Councillor Rizzi," said he, "is the most obstinate of them all, and has
led astray the rest with his sophisms. But do you send me in a
memorandum shewing that the alteration will have a much better effect on
the large commerce of Trieste than on the comparatively trifling trade of
Udine. I shall send it into the Council without disclosing the
authorship, but backing it with my authority, and challenging the
opposition to refute your arguments. Finally, if they do not decide
reasonably I shall proclaim before them all my intention to send the
memoir to Vienna with my opinion on it."
I felt confident of success, and wrote out a memoir full of
incontrovertible reasons in favour of the proposed change.
My arguments gained the victory; the Council were persuaded, and Count
Wagensberg handed me the decree, which I immediately laid before the
Venetian consul. Following his advice, I wrote to the secretary of the
Tribunal to the effect that I was happy to have given the Government a
proof of my zeal, and an earnest of my desire to be useful to my country
and to be worthy of being recalled.
Out of regard for me the count delayed the promulgation of the decree for
a week, so that the people of Udine heard the news from Venice before it
had reached Trieste, and everybody thought that the Venetian Government
had achieved its ends by bribery. The secretary of the Tribunal did not
answer my letter, but he wrote to the consul ordering him to give me a
hundred ducats, and to inform me that this present was to encourage me to
serve the Republic. He added that I might hope great things from the
mercy of the Inquisitors if I succeeded in negotiating the Armenian
The consul gave me the requisite information, and my impression was that
my efforts would be in vain; however, I resolved to make the attempt.
Four Armenian monks had left the Convent of St. Lazarus at Venice, having
found the abbot's tyranny unbearable. They had wealthy relations at
Constantinople, and laughed the excommunication of their late tyrant to
scorn. They sought asylum at Vienna, promising to make themselves useful
to the State by establishing an Armenian press to furnish all the
Armenian convents with books. They engaged to sink a capital of a
million florins if they were allowed to settle in Austria, to found their
press, and to buy or build a convent, where they proposed to live in
community but without any abbot.
As might be expected the Austrian Government did not hesitate to grant
their request; it did more, it gave them special privileges.
The effect of this arrangement would be to deprive Venice of a lucrative
trade, and to place it in the emperor's dominions. Consequently the
Viennese Court sent them to Trieste with a strong recommendation to the
governor, and they had been there for the past six months.
The Venetian Government, of course, wished to entice them back to Venice.
They had vainly induced their late abbot to make handsome offers to them,
and they then proceeded by indirect means, endeavoring to stir up
obstacles in their way, and to disgust them with Trieste.
The consul told me plainly that he had not touched the matter, thinking
success to be out of the question; and he predicted that if I attempted
it I should find myself in the dilemma of having to solve the insoluble.
I felt the force of the consul's remark when I reflected that I could not
rely on the governor's assistance, or even speak to him on the subject.
I saw that I must not let him suspect my design, for besides his duty to
his Government he was a devoted friend to the interests of Trieste, and
for this reason a great patron of the monks.
In spite of these obstacles my nostalgia made me make acquaintance with
these monks under pretence of inspecting their Armenian types, which they
were already casting. In a week or ten days I became quite intimate with
them. One day I said that they were bound in honour to return to the
obedience of their abbot, if only to annul his sentence of
The most obstinate of them told me that the abbot had behaved more like a
despot than a father, and had thus absolved them from their obedience.
"Besides," he said, "no rascally priest has any right to cut off good
Christians from communion with the Saviour, and we are sure that our
patriarch will give us absolution and send us some more monks."
I could make no objection to these arguments; however, I asked on another
occasion on what conditions they would return to Venice.
The most sensible of them said that in the first place the abbot must
withdraw the four hundred thousand ducats which he had entrusted to the
Marquis Serpos at four per cent.
This sum was the capital from which the income of the Convent of St.
Lazarus was derived. The abbot had no right whatever to dispose of it,
even with the consent of a majority among the monks. If the marquis
became bankrupt the convent would be utterly destitute. The marquis was
an Armenian diamond merchant, and a great friend of the abbot's.
I then asked the monks what were the other conditions, and they replied
that these were some matters of discipline which might easily be settled;
they would give me a written statement of their grievances as soon as I
could assure them that the Marquis Serpos was no longer in possession of
I embodied my negotiations in writing, and sent the document to the
Inquisitors by the consul. In six weeks I received an answer to the
effect that the abbot saw his way to arranging the money difficulty, but
that he must see a statement of the reforms demanded before doing so.
This decided me to have nothing to do with the affair, but a few words
from Count Wagensberg made me throw it up without further delay. He gave
me to understand that he knew of my attempts to reconcile the four monks
with their abbot, and he told me that he had been sorry to hear the
report, as my success would do harm to a country where I lived and where
I was treated as a friend.
I immediately told him the whole story, assuring him that I would never
have begun the negotiation if I had not been certain of failure, for I
heard on undoubted authority that Serpos could not possibly restore the
four hundred thousand ducats.
This explanation thoroughly dissipated any cloud that might have arisen
The Armenians bought Councillor Rizzi's house for thirty thousand
florins. Here they established themselves, and I visited them from time
to time without saying anything more about Venice.
Count Wagensberg gave me another proof of his friendship. Unhappily for
me he died during the autumn of the same year, at the age of fifty.
One morning he summoned me, and I found him perusing a document he had
just received from Vienna. He told me he was sorry I did not read
German, but that he would tell me the contents of the paper.
"Here," he continued, "you will be able to serve your country without in
any way injuring Austria.
"I am going to confide in you a State secret (it being understood of
course that my name is never to be mentioned) which ought to be greatly
to your advantage, whether you succeed or fail; at all hazards your
patriotism, your prompt action, and your cleverness in obtaining such
information will be made manifest. Remember you must never divulge your
sources of information; only tell your Government that you are perfectly
sure of the authenticity of the statement you make.
"You must know," he continued, "that all the commodities we export to
Lombardy pass through Venice where they have to pay duty. Such has long
been the custom, and it may still be so if the Venetian Government will
consent to reduce the duty of four per cent to two per cent.
"A plan has been brought before the notice of the Austrian Court, and it
has been eagerly accepted. I have received certain orders on the matter,
which I shall put into execution without giving any warning to the
"In future all goods for Lombardy will be embarked here and disembarked
at Mezzola without troubling the Republic. Mezzola is in the territories
of the Duke of Modem; a ship can cross the gulf in the night, and our
goods will be placed in storehouses, which will be erected.
"In this way we shall shorten the journey and decrease the freights, and
the Modenese Government will be satisfied with a trifling sum, barely
equivalent to a fourth of what we pay to Venice.
"In spite of all this, I feel sure that if the Venetian Government wrote
to the Austrian Council of Commerce expressing their willingness to take
two per cent henceforth, the proposal would be accepted, for we Austrians
"I shall not lay the matter before the Town Council for four or five
days, as there is no hurry for us; but you had better make haste, that
you may be the first to inform your Government of the matter.
"If everything goes as I should wish I hope to receive an order from
Vienna suspending the decree just as I am about to make it public."
Next morning the governor was delighted to hear that everything had been
finished before midnight. He assured me that the consul should not have
official information before Saturday. In the meanwhile the consul's
uneasy state of mind was quite a trouble to me, for I could not do
anything to set his mind at ease.
Saturday came and Councillor Rizzi told me the news at the club. He
seemed in high spirits over it, and said that the loss of Venice was the
gain of Trieste. The consul came in just then, and said that the loss
would be a mere trifle for Venice, while the first-shipwreck would cost
more to Trieste than ten years' duty. The consul seemed to enjoy the
whole thing, but that was the part he had to play. In all small trading
towns like Trieste, people make a great account of trifles.
I went to dine with the consul, who privately confessed his doubts and
fears on the matter.
I asked him how the Venetians would parry the blow, and he replied,--
"They will have a number of very learned consultations, and then they
will do nothing at all, and the Austrians will send their goods wherever
"But the Government is such a wise one."
"Or rather has the reputation of wisdom."
"Then you think it lives on its reputation?"
"Yes; like all your mouldy institutions, they continue to be simply
because they have been. Old Governments are like those ancient dykes
which are rotten at the base, and only stay in position by their weight
The consul was in the right. He wrote to his chief the same day, and in
the course of the next week he heard that their excellencies had received
information of the matter some time ago by extraordinary channels.
For the present his duties would be confined to sending in any additional
information on the same subject.
"I told you so," said the consul; "now, what do you think of the wisdom
of our sages?"
"I think Bedlam of Charenton were their best lodging."
In three weeks the consul received orders to give me another grant of a
hundred ducats, and to allow me ten sequins a month, to encourage me to
deserve well of the State.
From that time I felt sure I should be allowed to return in the course of
the year, but I was mistaken, for I had to wait till the year following.
This new present, and the monthly payment of ten sequins put me at my
ease, for I had expensive tastes of which I could not cure myself. I
felt pleased at the thought that I was now in the pay of the Tribunal
which had punished me, and which I had defied. It seemed to me a
triumph, and I determined to do all in my power for the Republic.
Here I must relate an amusing incident, which delighted everyone in
It was in the beginning of summer. I had been eating sardines by the
sea-shore, and when I came home at ten o'clock at night I was astonished
to be greeted by a girl whom I recognized as Count Strasoldo's maid.
The count was a handsome young man, but poor like most of that name; he
was fond of expensive pleasures, and was consequently heavily in debt.
He had a small appointment which brought him in an income of six hundred
florins, and he had not the slightest difficulty in spending a year's pay
in three months. He had agreeable manners and a generous disposition,
and I had supped with him in company with Baron Pittoni several times.
He had a girl in his service who was exquisitely pretty, but none of the
count's friends attempted her as he was very jealous. Like the rest, I
had seen and admired her, I had congratulated the count on the possession
of such a treasure in her presence, but I had never addressed a word to
Strasoldo had just been summoned to Vienna by Count Auersperg who liked
him, and had promised to do what he could for him. He had got an
employment in Poland, his furniture had been sold, he had taken leave of
everyone, and nobody doubted that he would take his pretty maid with him.
I thought so too, for I had been to wish him a pleasant journey that
morning, and my astonishment at finding the girl in my room may be
"What do you want, my dear?" I asked.
"Forgive me, sir, but I don't want to go with Strasoldo, and I thought
you would protect me. Nobody will be able to guess where I am, and
Strasoldo will be obliged to go by himself. You will not be so cruel as
to drive me away?"
"I promise you I will go away to-morrow, for Strasoldo is going to leave
"My lovely Leuzica (this was her name), no one would refuse you an
asylum, I least of all. You are safe here, and nobody shall come in
without your leave. I am only too happy that you came to me, but if it
is true that the count is your lover you may be sure he will not go so
easily. He will stay the whole of to-morrow at least, in the hope of
finding you again."
"No doubt he will look for me everywhere but here. Will you promise not
to make me go with him even if be guesses that I am with you?"
"I swear I will not."
"Then I am satisfied."
"But you will have to share my bed."
"If I shall not inconvenience you, I agree with all my heart."
"You shall see whether you inconvenience me or not. Undress, quick! But
where are your things?"
"All that I have is in a small trunk behind the count's carriage, but I
don't trouble myself about it."
"The poor count must be raging at this very moment."
"No, for he will not come home till midnight. He is supping with Madame
Bissolotti, who is in love with him."
In the meantime Leuzica had undressed and got into bed. In a moment I
was beside her, and after the severe regimen of the last eight months I
spent a delicious night in her arms, for of late my pleasures had been
Leuzica was a perfect beauty, and worthy to be a king's mistress; and if
I had been rich I would have set up a household that I might retain her
in my service.
We did not awake till seven o'clock. She got up, and on looking out of
the window saw Strasoldo's carriage waiting at the door.
I confronted her by saying that as long as she liked to stay with me no
one could force her away.
I was vexed that I had no closet in my room, as I could not hide her from
the waiter who would bring us coffee. We accordingly dispensed with
breakfast, but I had to find out some way of feeding her. I thought I
had plenty of time before me, but I was wrong.
At ten o'clock I saw Strasoldo and his friend Pittoni coming into the
inn. They spoke to the landlord, and seemed to be searching the whole
place, passing from one room to another.
I laughed, and told Leuzica that they were looking for her, and that our
turn would doubtless come before long.
"Remember your promise," said she.
"You may be sure of that."
The tone in which this remark was delivered comforted her, and she
"Well; well, let them come; they will get nothing by it."
I heard footsteps approaching, and went out, closing the door behind me,
and begging them to excuse my not asking them in, as there was a
contraband commodity in my room.
"Only tell me that it is not my maid," said Strasoldo, in a pitiable
voice. "We are sure she is here, as the sentinel at the gate saw her
come in at ten o'clock."
"You are right, the fair Leuzica is at this moment in my room. I have
given her my word of honour that no violence shall be used, and you may
be sure I shall keep my word."
"I shall certainly not attempt any violence, but I am sure she would come
of her own free will if I could speak to her."
"I will ask her if she wishes to see you. Wait a moment."
Leuzica had been listening to our conversation, and when I opened the
door she told me that I could let them in.
As soon as Strasoldo appeared she asked him proudly if she was under any
obligations to him, if she had stolen anything from him, and if she was
not perfectly free to leave him when she liked.
The poor count replied mildly that on the contrary it was he who owed her
a year's wages and had her box in his possession, but that she should not
have left him without giving any reason.
"The only reason is that I don't want to go to Vienna," she replied.
"I told you so a week ago. If you are an honest man you will leave me my
trunk, and as to my wages you can send them to me at my aunt's at Laibach
if you haven't got any money now."
I pitied Strasoldo from the bottom of my heart; he prayed and entreated,
and finally wept like a child. However, Pittoni roused my choler by
saying that I ought to drive the slut out of my room.
"You are not the man to tell me what I ought and what I ought not to do,"
I replied, "and after I have received her in my apartments you ought to
moderate your expressions."
Seeing that I stood on my dignity he laughed, and asked me if I had
fallen in love with her in so short a time.
Strasoldo here broke in by saying he was sure she had not slept with me.
"That's where you are mistaken," said she, "for there's only one bed, and
I did not sleep on the floor."
They found prayers and reproaches alike useless and left us at noon.
Leuzica was profuse in her expressions of gratitude to me.
There was no longer any mystery, so I boldly ordered dinner for two, and
promised that she should remain with me till the count had left Trieste.
At three o'clock the Venetian consul came, saying that Count Strasoldo
had begged him to use his good offices with me to persuade me to deliver
up the fair Leuzica.
"You must speak to the girl herself," I replied; "she came here and stays
here of her own free will."
When the worthy man had heard the girl's story he went away, saying that
we had the right on our side.
In the evening a porter brought her trunk, and at this she seemed touched
but not repentant.
Leuzica supped with me and again shared my couch. The count left Trieste
As soon as I was sure that he was gone, I took a carriage and escorted
the fair Leuzica two stages on her way to Laibach. We dined together,
and I left her in the care of a friend of hers.
Everybody said I had acted properly, and even Pittoni confessed that in
my place he would have done the same.
Poor Strasoldo came to a bad end. He got into debt, committed
peculation, and had to escape into Turkey and embrace Islam to avoid the
penalty of death.
About this time the Venetian general, Palmanova, accompanied by the
procurator Erizzo, came to Trieste to visit the governor, Count
Wagensberg. In the afternoon the count presented me to the patricians
who seemed astonished to see me at Trieste.
The procurator asked me if I amused myself as well as I had done at Paris
sixteen years ago, and I told him that sixteen years more, and a hundred
thousand francs less, forced me to live in a different fashion.
While we were talking, the consul came in to announce that the felucca
was ready. Madame de Lantieri as well as her father pressed me to join
I gave a bow, which might mean either no or yes, and asked the consul
what the party was. He told me that they were going to see a Venetian
man-of-war at anchor in the harbor; his excellence there being the
captain I immediately turned to the countess and smilingly professed my
regret that I was unable to set foot on Venetian soil.
Everybody exclaimed at me,--
"You have nothing to fear. You are with honest people. Your suspicion
is quite offensive."
"That is all very fine, ladies and gentlemen, and I will come with all my
heart, if your excellences will assure me that my joining this little
party will not be known to the State Inquisitors possibly by to-morrow."
This was enough. Everybody looked at me in silence, and no objections
could be found to my argument.
The captain of the vessel, who did not know me, spoke a few whispered
words to the others, and then they left.
The next day the consul told me that the captain had praised my prudence
in declining to go on board, as if anyone had chanced to tell him my name
and my case whilst I was on his ship, it would have been his duty to
When I told the governor of this remark he replied gravely that he should
not have allowed the ship to leave the harbour.
I saw the procurator Erizzo the same evening, and he congratulated me on
my discretion, telling me he would take care to let the Tribunal know how
I respected its decisions.
About this time I had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful Venetian, who
visited Trieste with several of her admirers. She was of the noble
family of Bon, and had married Count Romili de Bergamo, who left her free
to do whatever she liked. She drew behind her triumphal chariot an old
general, Count Bourghausen, a famous rake who had deserted Mars for the
past ten years in order to devote his remaining days to the service of
Venus. He was a delightful man, and we became friends. Ten years later
he was of service to me, as my readers will find in the next volume,
which may perhaps be the last.
Some Adventures at Trieste--I Am of Service to the Venetian Government--
My Expedition to Gorice and My Return to Trieste--I Find Irene as an
Actress and Expert Gamester
Some of the ladies of Trieste thought they would like to act a French
play, and I was made stage manager. I had not only to choose the pieces,
but to distribute the parts, the latter being a duty of infinite
All the actresses were new to the boards, and I had immense trouble in
hearing them repeat their parts, which they seemed unable to learn by
heart. It is a well-known fact that the revolution which is really
wanted in Italy is in female education. The very best families with few
exceptions are satisfied with shutting up their daughters in a convent
for several years till the time comes for them to marry some man whom
they never see till the eve or the day of their marriage. As a
consequence we have the 'cicisbeo', and in Italy as in France the idea
that our nobles are the sons of their nominal fathers is a purely
What do girls learn in convents, especially in Italian convents? A few
mechanical acts of devotion and outward forms, very little real religion,
a good deal of deceit, often profligate habits, a little reading and
writing, many useless accomplishments, small music and less drawing, no
history, no geography or mythology, hardly any mathematics, and nothing
to make a girl a good wife and a good mother.
As for foreign languages, they are unheard of; our own Italian is so soft
that any other tongue is hard to acquire, and the 'dolce far niente'
habit is an obstacle to all assiduous study.
I write down these truths in spite of my patriotism. I know that if any
of my fellow-countrywomen come to read me they will be very angry; but I
shall be beyond the reach of all anger.
To return to our theatricals. As I could not make my actresses get their
parts letter perfect, I became their prompter, and found out by
experience all the ungratefulness of the position.
The actors never acknowledged their debt to the prompter, and put down
to his account all the mistakes they make.
A Spanish doctor is almost as badly off; if his patient recovers, the
cure is set down to the credit of one saint or another; but if he dies,
the physician is blamed for his unskilful treatment.
A handsome negress, who served the prettiest of my actresses to whom I
shewed great attentions, said to me one day,--
"I can't make out how you can be so much in love with my mistress, who
is as white as the devil."
"Have you never loved a white man?" I asked.
"Yes," said she, "but only because I had no negro, to whom I should
certainly have given the preference."
Soon after the negress became mine, and I found out the falsity of the
axiom, 'Sublata lucerna nullum discrimen inter feminas', for even in the
darkness a man would know a black woman from a white one.
I feel quite sure myself that the negroes are a distinct species from
ourselves. There is one essential difference, leaving the colour out of
account--namely, that an African woman can either conceive or not, and
can conceive a boy or a girl. No doubt my readers will disbelieve this
assertion, but their incredulity would cease if I instructed them in the
mysterious science of the negresses.
Count Rosenberg, grand chamberlain of the emperor, came on a visit to
Trieste in company with an Abbe Casti, whose acquaintance I wished to
make on account of some extremely blasphemous poems he had written.
However, I was disappointed; and instead of a man of parts, I found the
abbe to be an impudent worthless fellow, whose only merit was a knack of
Count Rosenberg took the abbe with him, because he was useful in the
capacities of a fool and a pimp-occupations well suited to his morals,
though by no means agreeable to his ecclesiastical status. In those
days syphilis had not completely destroyed his uvula.
I heard that this shameless profligate, this paltry poetaster, had been
named poet to the emperor. What a dishonour to the memory of the great
Metastasio, a man free from all vices, adorned with all virtues, and of
the most singular ability.
Casti had neither a fine style, nor a knowledge of dramatic
requirements, as appears from two or three comic operas composed by him,
in which the reader will find nothing but foolish buffooneries badly put
together. In one of these comic operas he makes use of slander against
King Theodore and the Venetian Republic, which he turns into ridicule by
means of pitiful lies.
In another piece called The Cave of Trophonius, Casti made himself the
laughing-stock of the literary world by making a display of useless
learning which contributes nothing towards the plot.
Among the persons of quality who came to Gorice, I met a certain Count
Torriano, who persuaded me to spend the autumn with him at a country
house of his six miles from Gorice.
If I had listened to the voice of my good genius I should certainly
never have gone.
The count was under thirty, and was not married. He could not exactly
be called ugly in spite of his hangdog countenance, in which I saw the
outward signs of cruelty, disloyalty, treason, pride, brutal sensuality,
hatred, and jealousy. The mixture of bad qualities was such an
appalling one that I thought his physiognomy was at fault, and the goods
better than the sign. He asked me to come and see him so graciously
that I concluded that the man gave the lie to his face.
I asked about him before accepting the invitation, and I heard nothing
but good. People certainly said he was fond of the fair sex, and was a
fierce avenger of any wrong done to him, but not thinking either of
these characteristics unworthy of a gentleman I accepted his invitation.
He told me that he would expect me to meet him at Gorice on the first
day of September, and that the next day we would leave for his estate.
In consequence of Torriano's invitation I took leave of everybody,
especially of Count Wagensberg, who had a serious attack of that malady
which yields so easily to mercury when it is administered by a skilled
hand, but which kills the unfortunate who falls amongst quacks. Such
was the fate of the poor count; he died a month after I had left
I left Trieste in the morning, dined at Proseco, and reached Gorice in
good time. I called at Count Louis Torriano's mansion, but was told he
was out. However, they allowed me to deposit what little luggage I had
when I informed them that the count had invited me. I then went to see
Count Torres, and stayed with him till supper-time.
When I got back to the count's I was told he was in the country, and
would not be back till the next day, and that in the meantime my trunks
had been taken to the inn where a room and supper had been ordered.
I was extremely astonished, and went to the inn, where I was served with
a bad supper in an uncomfortable room; however, I supposed that the
count had been unable to accommodate me in his house, and I excused him
though I wished he had forewarned me. I could not understand how a
gentleman who has a house and invites a friend can be without a room
wherein to lodge him.
Next morning Count Torriano came to see me, thanked me for my
punctuality, congratulated himself on the pleasure he expected to derive
from my society, and told me he was very sorry we could not start for
two days, as a suit was to be heard the next day between himself and a
rascally old farmer who was trying to cheat him.
"Well, well," said I, "I will go and hear the pleadings; it will be an
amusement for me."
Soon after he took his leave, without asking me where I intended dining,
or apologizing for not having accommodated me himself.
I could not make him out; I thought he might have taken offence at my
descending at his doors without having given him any warning.
"Come, come, Casanova," I said to myself, "you may be all abroad.
Knowledge of character is an unfathomable gulf. We thought we had
studied it deeply, but there is still more to learn; we shall see. He
may have said nothing out of delicacy. I should be sorry to be found
wanting in politeness, though indeed I am puzzled to know what I have
I dined by myself, made calls in the afternoon, and supped with Count
Tomes. I told him that I promised myself the pleasure of hearing the
eloquence of the bar of Gorice the next day.
"I shall be there, too," said he, "as I am curious to see what sort of a
face Torriano will put on it, if the countryman wins. I know something
about the case," he continued, "and Torriano is sure of victory, unless
the documents attesting the farmer's indebtedness happen to be
forgeries. On the other hand, the farmer ought to win unless it can be
shewn that the receipts signed by Torriano are forgeries. The farmer
has lost in the first court and in the second court, but he has paid the
costs and appealed from both, though he is a poor man. If he loses to-
morrow he will not only be a ruined man, but be sentenced to penal
servitude, while if he wins, Torriano should be sent to the galleys,
together with his counsel, who has deserved this fate many times
I knew Count Tomes passed for somewhat of a scandal-monger, so his
remarks made little impression on me beyond whetting my curiosity. The
next day I was one of the first to appear in the court, where I found
the bench, plaintiff and defendant, and the barristers, already
assembled. The farmer's counsel was an old man who looked honest, while
the count's had all the impudence of a practised knave. The count sat
beside him, smiling disdainfully, as if he was lowering himself to
strive with a miserable peasant whom he had already twice vanquished.
The farmer sat by his wife, his son, and two daughters, and had that air
of modest assurance which indicates resignation and a good conscience.
I wondered how such honest people could have lost in two courts; I was
sure their cause must be a just one.
They were all poorly clad, and from their downcast eyes and their humble
looks I guessed them to be the victims of oppression.
Each barrister could speak for two hours.
The farmer's advocate spoke for thirty minutes, which he occupied by
putting in the various receipts bearing the count's signature up to the
time when he had dismissed the farmer, because he would not prostitute
his daughters to him. He then continued, speaking with calm precision,
to point out the anachronisms and contradictions in the count's books
(which made his client a debtor), and stated that his client was in a
position to prosecute the two forgers who had been employed to compass
the ruin of an honest family, whose only crime was poverty. He ended
his speech by an appeal for costs in all the suits, and for compensation
for loss of time and defamation of character.
The harangue of the count's advocate would have lasted more than two
hours if the court had not silenced him. He indulged in a torrent of
abuse against the other barrister, the experts in hand-writing, and the
peasant, whom he threatened with a speedy consignment to the galleys.
The pleadings would have wearied me if I had been a blind man, but as it
was I amused myself by a scrutiny of the various physiognomies before
me. My host's face remained smiling and impudent through it all.
The pleadings over, the court was cleared, and we awaited the sentence
in the adjoining room.
The peasant and his family sat in a corner apart, sad, sorry, and
comfortless, with no friend to speak a consoling word, while the count
was surrounded by a courtly throng, who assured him that with such a
case he could not possibly lose; but that if the judges did deliver
judgment against him he should pay the peasant, and force him to prove
the alleged forgery.
I listened in profound silence, sympathising with the countryman rather
than my host, whom I believed to be a thorough-paced scoundrel, though I
took care not to say so.
Count Torres, who was a deadly foe to all prudence and discretion, asked
me my opinion of the case, and I whispered that I thought the count
should lose, even if he were in the right, on account of the infamous
apostrophes of his counsel, who deserved to have his ears cut off or to
stand in the pillory for six months.
"And the client too," said Tomes aloud; but nobody had heard what I had
After we had waited for an hour the clerk of the court came in with two
papers, one of which he gave to the peasant's counsel and the other to
Torriano's. Torriano read it to himself, burst into a loud laugh, and
then read it aloud.
The court condemned the count to recognize the peasant as his creditor,
to pay all costs, and to give him a year's wages as damages; the
peasant's right to appeal ad minimum on account of any other complaints
he might have being reserved.
The advocate looked downcast, but Torriano consoled him by a fee of six
sequins, and everybody went away.
I remained with the defendant, and asked him if he meant to appeal to
"I shall appeal in another sort," said he; but I did not ask him what he
We left Gorice the next morning.
My landlord gave me the bill, and told me he had received instructions
not to insist on my paying it if I made any difficulty, as in that case
the count would pay himself.
This struck me as somewhat eccentric, but I only laughed. However, the
specimens I had seen of his character made me imagine that I was going
to spend six weeks with a dangerous original.
In two hours we were at Spessa, and alighted at a large house, with
nothing distinguished about it from an architectural point of view. We
went up to the count's room, which was tolerably furnished, and after
shewing me over the house he took me to my own room. It was on the
ground floor, stuffy, dark, and ill furnished.
"Ah!" said he, "this is the room my poor old father used to love to sit
in; like you, he was very fond of study. You may be sure of enjoying
perfect liberty here, for you will see no one."
We dined late, and consequently no supper was served. The eating and
the wine were tolerable, and so was the company of a priest, who held
the position of the count's steward; but I was disgusted at hearing the
count, who ate ravenously, reproach me with eating too slowly.
When we rose from table he told me he had a lot to do, and that we
should see each other the next day.
I went to my room to put things in order, and to get out my papers. I
was then working at the second volume of the Polish troubles.
In the evening I asked for a light as it was growing dark, and presently
a servant came with one candle. I was indignant; they ought to have
given me wax lights or a lamp at least. However, I made no complaint,
merely asking one of the servants if I was to rely on the services of
any amongst them.
"Our master has given us no instructions on the subject, but of course
we will wait on you whenever you call us."
This would have been a troublesome task, as there was no bell, and I
should have been obliged to wander all over the house, to search the
courtyard, and perhaps the road, whenever I wanted a servant.
"And who will do my room?" I asked.
"Then she has a key of her own?"
"There is no need for a key, as your door has no lock, but you can bolt
yourself in at night."
I could only laugh, whether from ill humour or amusement I really cannot
say. However, I made no remark to the man.
I began my task, but in half an hour I was so unfortunate as to put out
the candle whilst snuffing it. I could not roam about the house in the
dark searching for a light, as I did not know my way, so I went to bed
in the dark more inclined to swear than to laugh.
Fortunately the bed was a good one, and as I had expected it to be
uncomfortable I went to sleep in a more tranquil humour.
In the morning nobody came to attend on me, so I got up, and after
putting away my papers I went to say good morning to my host in
dressing-gown and nightcap. I found him under the hand of one of his
men who served him as a valet. I told him I had slept well, and had
come to breakfast with him; but he said he never took breakfast, and
asked me, politely enough, not to trouble to come and see him in the
morning as he was always engaged with his tenants, who were a pack of
thieves. He then added that as I took breakfast he would give orders to
the cook to send me up coffee whenever I liked.
"You will also be kind enough to tell your man to give me a touch with
his comb after he has done with you."
"I wonder you did not bring a servant."
"If I had guessed that I should be troubling you, I should certainly
have brought one."
"It will not trouble me but you, for you will be kept waiting."
"Not at all. Another thing I want is a lock to my door, for I have
important papers for which I am responsible, and I cannot lock them up
in my trunk whenever I leave my room."
"Everything is safe in my house."
"Of course, but you see how absurd it would be for you to be answerable
in case any of my papers were missing. I might be in the greatest
distress, and yet I should never tell you of it."
He remained silent for some time, and then ordered his man to tell the
priest to put a lock on my door and give me the key.
While he was thinking, I noticed a taper and a book on the table beside
his bed. I went up to it, and asked politely if I might see what kind
of reading had beguiled him to sleep. He replied as politely,
requesting me not to touch it. I withdrew immediately, telling him with
a smile that I felt sure that it was a book of prayers, but that I would
never reveal his secret.
"You have guessed what it is," he said, laughing.
I left him with a courteous bow, begging him to send me his man and a
cup of coffee, chocolate, or broth, it mattered not which.
I went back to my room meditating seriously on his strange behaviour,
and especially on the wretched tallow candle which was given me, while
he had a wax taper. My first idea was to leave the house immediately,
for though I had only fifty ducats in my possession my spirit was as
high as when I was a rich man; but on second thoughts I determined not
to put myself in the wrong by affronting him in such a signal manner.
The tallow candle was the most grievous wrong, so I resolved to ask the
man whether he had not been told to give me wax lights. This was
important, as it might be only a piece of knavery or stupidity on the
part of the servant.
The man came in an hour with a cup of coffee, sugared according to his
taste or that of the cook. This disgusted me, so I let it stay on the
table, telling him, with a burst of laughter (if I had not laughed I
must have thrown the coffee in his face), that that was not the way to
serve breakfast. I then got ready to have my hair done.
I asked him why he had brought me a wretched tallow candle instead of
two wax lights.
"Sir," the worthy man replied, humbly, "I could only give you what the
priest gave me; I received a wax taper for my master and a candle for
I was sorry to have vexed the poor fellow, and said no more, thinking
the priest might have taken a fancy to economise for the count's profit
or his own. I determined to question him on the subject.
As soon as I was dressed I went out to walk off my bad humour. I met
the priest-steward, who had been to the locksmith. He told me that the
man had no ready-made locks, but he was going to fit my door with a
padlock, of which I should have the key.
"Provided I can lock my door," I said, "I care not how it's done."
I returned to the house to see the padlock fitted, and while the
locksmith was hammering away I asked the priest why he had given a
tallow candle instead of one or two wax tapers.
"I should never dare to give you tapers, sir, without express orders
from the count."
"I should have thought such a thing would go without saying."
"Yes, in other houses, but here nothing goes without saying. I have to
buy the tapers and he pays me, and every time he has one it is noted
"Then you can give me a pound of wax lights if I pay you for them?"
"Of course, but I think I must tell the count, for you know . . . ."
"Yes, I know all about it, but I don't care:"
I gave him the price of a pound of wax lights, and went for a walk, as
he told me dinner was at one. I was somewhat astonished on coming back
to the house at half-past twelve to be told that the count had been half
an hour at table.
I did not know what to make of all these acts of rudeness; however, I
moderated my passion once more, and came in remarking that the abbe had
told me dinner was at one.
"It is usually," replied the count, "but to-day I wanted to pay some
calls and take you with me, so I decided on dining at noon. You will
have plenty of time."
He then gave orders for all the dishes that had been taken away to be
I made no answer, and sat down to table, and feigning good humour ate
what was on the table, refusing to touch those dishes which had been
taken away. He vainly asked me to try the soup, the beef, the entrees;
I told him that I always punished myself thus when I came in late for a
Still dissembling my ill humour, I got into his carriage to accompany
him on his round of visits. He took me to Baron del Mestre, who spent
the whole of the year in the country with his family, keeping up a good
The count spent the whole of the day with the baron, putting off the
other visits to a future time. In the evening we returned to Spessa.
Soon after we arrived the priest returned the money I had given him for
the candles, telling me that the count had forgotten to inform him that
I was to be treated as himself.
I took this acknowledgement for what it was worth.
Supper was served, and I ate with the appetite of four, while the count
hardly ate at all.
The servant who escorted me to my room asked me at what time I should
like breakfast. I told him, and he was punctual; and this time the
coffee was brought in the coffee-pot and the sugar in the sugar basin.
The valet did my hair, and the maid did my room, everything was changed,
and I imagined that I had given the count a little lesson, and that I
should have no more trouble with him. Here, however, I was mistaken, as
the reader will discover.
Three or four days later the priest came to me one morning, to ask when
I would like dinner, as I was to dine in my room.
"Why so?" I asked.
"Because the count left yesterday for Gorice, telling me he did not know
when he should come back. He ordered me to give you your meals in your
"Very good. I will dine at one."
No one could be more in favour of liberty and independence than myself,
but I could not help feeling that my rough host should have told me he
was going to Gorice. He stayed a week, and I should have died of
weariness if it had not been for my daily visits to the Baron del
Mestre. Otherwise there was no company, the priest was an uneducated
man, and there were no pretty country girls. I felt as if I could not
bear another four weeks of such a doleful exile.
When the count came back, I spoke to him plainly.
"I came to Spessa," I said, "to keep you company and to amuse myself;
but I see that I am in the way, so I hope you will take me back to
Gorice and leave me there. You must know that I like society as much as
you do, and I do not feel inclined to die of solitary weariness in your
He assured me that it should not happen again, that he had gone to
Gorice to meet an actress, who had come there purposely to see him, and
that he had also profited by the opportunity to sign a contract of
marriage with a Venetian lady.
These excuses and the apparently polite tone in which they were uttered
induced me to prolong my stay with the extraordinary count.
He drew the whole of his income from vineyards, which produced an
excellent white wine and a revenue of a thousand sequins a year.
However, as the count did his best to spend double that amount, he was
rapidly ruining himself. He had a fixed impression that all the tenants
robbed him, so whenever he found a bunch of grapes in a cottage he
proceeded to beat the occupants unless they could prove that the grapes
did not come from his vineyards. The peasants might kneel down and beg
pardon, but they were thrashed all the same.
I had been an unwilling witness of several of these arbitrary and cruel
actions, when one day I had the pleasure of seeing the count soundly
beaten by two peasants. He had struck the first blow himself, but when
he found that he was getting the worst of it he prudently took to his
He was much offended with me for remaining a mere spectator of the fray;
but I told him very coolly that, being the aggressor, he was in the
wrong, and in the second place I was not going to expose myself to be
beaten to a jelly by two lusty peasants in another man's quarrel.
These arguments did not satisfy him, and in his rage he dared to tell me
that I was a scurvy coward not to know that it was my duty to defend a
friend to the death.
In spite of these offensive remarks I merely replied with a glance of
contempt, which he doubtless understood.
Before long the whole village had heard what had happened, and the joy
was universal, for the count had the singular privilege of being feared
by all and loved by none. The two rebellious peasants had taken to
their heels. But when it became known that his lordship had announced
his resolution to carry pistols with him in all future visits, everybody
was alarmed, and two spokesmen were sent to the count informing him that
all his tenants would quit the estate in a week's time unless he gave
them a promise to leave them in peace in their humble abodes.
The rude eloquence of the two peasants struck me as sublime, but the
count pronounced them to be impertinent and ridiculous.
"We have as good a right to taste the vines which we have watered with
the sweat of our brow," said they, "as your cook has to taste the dishes
before they are served on your table."
The threat of deserting just at the vintage season frightened the count,
and he had to give in, and the embassy went its way in high glee at its
Next Sunday we went to the chapel to hear mass, and when we came in the
priest was at the altar finishing the Credo. The count looked furious,
and after mass he took me with him to the sacristy, and begun to abuse
and beat the poor priest, in spite of the surplice which he was still
wearing. It was really a shocking sight.
The priest spat in his face and cried help, that being the only revenge
in his power.
Several persons ran in, so we left the sacristy. I was scandalised, and
I told the count that the priest would be certain to go to Udine, and
that it might turn out a very awkward business.
"Try to prevent his doing so," I added, "even by violence, but in the
first place endeavour to pacify him."
No doubt the count was afraid, for he called out to his servants and
ordered them to fetch the priest, whether he could come or no. His
order was executed, and the priest was led in, foaming with rage,
cursing the count, calling him excommunicated wretch, whose very breath
was poisonous; swearing that never another mass should be sung in the
chapel that had been polluted with sacrilege, and finally promising that
the archbishop should avenge him.
The count let him say on, and then forced him into a chair, and the
unworthy ecclesiastic not only ate but got drunk. Thus peace was
concluded, and the abbe forgot all his wrongs.
A few days later two Capuchins came to visit him at noon. They did not
go, and as he did not care to dismiss them, dinner was served without
any place being laid for the friars. Thereupon the bolder of the two
informed the count that he had had no dinner. Without replying, the
count had him acommodated with a plateful of rice. The Capuchin refused
it, saying that he was worthy to sit, not only at his table, but at a
monarch's. The count, who happened to be in a good humour, replied that
they called themselves "unworthy brethren," and that they were
consequently not worthy of any of this world's good things.
The Capuchin made but a poor answer, and as I thought the count to be in
the right I procceded to back him up, telling the friar he ought to be
ashamed at having committed the sin of pride, so strictly condemned by
the rules of his order.
The Capuchin answered me with a torrent of abuse, so the count ordered a
pair of scissors to be brought, that the beards of the filthy rogues
might be cut off. At this awful threat the two friars made their
escape, and we laughed heartily over the incident.
If all the count's eccentricities had been of this comparatively
harmless and amusing nature, I should not have minded, but such was far
from being the case.
Instead of chyle his organs must have distilled some virulent poison; he
was always at his worst in his after dinner hours. His appetite was
furious; he ate more like a tiger than a man. One day we happened to be
eating woodcock, and I could not help praising the dish in the style of
the true gourmand. He immediately took up his bird, tore it limb from
limb, and gravely bade me not to praise the dishes I liked as it
irritated him. I felt an inclination to laugh and also an inclination
to throw the bottle at his head, which I should probably have indulged
in had I been twenty years younger. However, I did neither, feeling
that I should either leave him or accommodate myself to his humours.
Three months later Madame Costa, the actress whom he had gone to see at
Gorice, told me that she would never have believed in the possibility of
such a creature existing if she had not known Count Torriano.
"Though he is a vigorous lover," she continued, "it is a matter of great
difficulty with him to obtain the crisis; and the wretched woman in his
arms is in imminent danger of being strangled to death if she cannot
conceal her amorous ecstacy. He cannot bear to see another's pleasure.
I pity his wife most heartily."
I will now relate the incident which put an end to my relations with
this venomous creature.
Amidst the idleness and weariness of Spessa I happened to meet a very
pretty and very agreeable young widow. I made her some small presents,
and finally persuaded her to pass the night in my room. She came at
midnight to avoid observation, and left at day-break by a small door
which opened on to the road.
We had amused ourselves in this pleasant manner for about a week, when
one morning my sweetheart awoke me that I might close the door after her
as usual. I had scarcely done so when I heard cries for help. I
quickly opened it again, and I saw the scoundrelly Torriano holding the
widow with one hand while he beat her furiously with a stick he held in
the other. I rushed upon him, and we fell together, while the poor
woman made her escape.
I had only my dresing-gown on, and here I was at a disadvantage; for
civilized man is a poor creature without his clothes. However, I held
the stick with one hand, while I queezed his throat with the other. On
his side he clung to the stick with his right hand, and pulled my hair
with the left. At last his tongue started out and he had to let go.
I was on my feet again in an instant, and seizing the stick I aimed a
sturdy blow at his head, which, luckily for him, he partially parried.
I did not strike again, so he got up, ran a little way, and began to
pick up stones. However, I did not wait to be pelted, but shut myself
in my room and lay down on the bed, only sorry that I had not choked the
As soon as I had rested I looked to my pistols, dressed myself, and went
out with the intention of looking for some kind of conveyance to take me
back to Gorice. Without knowing it I took a road that led me to the
cottage of the poor widow, whom I found looking calm though sad. She
told me she had received most of the blows on her shoulders, and was not
much hurt. What vexed her was that the affair would become public, as
two peasants had seen the count beating her, and our subsequent combat.
I gave her two sequins, begging her to come and see me at Gorice, and to
tell me where I could find a conveyance.
Her sister offered to shew me the way to a farm, where I could get what
I wanted. On the way she told me that Torriano had been her sister's
enemy before the death of her husband because she rejected all his
I found a good conveyance at the farm, and the man promised to drive me
in to Gorice by dinner-time.
I gave him half-a-crown as an earnest, and went away, telling him to
come for me.
I returned to the count's and had scarcely finished getting ready when
the conveyance drove up.
I was about to put my luggage in it, when a servant came from the count
asking me to give him a moment's conversation.
I wrote a note in French, saying that after what had passed we ought not
to meet again under his roof.
A minute later he came into my room, and shut the door, saying,--
"As you won't speak to me, I have come to speak to you."
"What have you got to say?"
"If you leave my house in this fashion you will dishonour me, and I will
not allow it."
"Excuse me, but I should very much like to see how you are going to
prevent me from leaving your house."
"I will not allow you to go by yourself; we must go together."
"Certainly; I understand you perfectly. Get your sword or your pistols,
and we will start directly. There is room for two in the carriage."
"That won't do. You must dine with me, and then we can go in my
You make a mistake. I should be a fool if I dined with you when our
miserable dispute is all over the village; to-morrow it will have
"If you won't dine with me, I will dine with you, and people may say
what they like. We will go after dinner, so send away that conveyance."
I had to give in to him. The wretched count stayed with me till noon,
endeavouring to persuade me that he had a perfect right to beat a
country-woman in the road, and that I was altogether in the wrong.
I laughed, and said I wondered how he derived his right to beat a free
woman anywhere, and that his pretence that I being her lover had no
right to protect her was a monstrous one.
"She had just left my arms," I continued, "was I not therefore her
natural protector? Only a coward or a monster like yourself would have
remained indifferent, though, indeed, I believe that even you would have
done the same."
A few minutes before we sat down to dinner he said that neither of us
would profit by the adventure, as he meant the duel to be to the death.
"I don't agree with you as far as I am concerned," I replied; "and as to
the duel, you can fight or not fight, as you please; for my part I have
had satisfaction. If we come to a duel I hope to leave you in the land
of the living, though I shall do my best to lay you up for a
considerable time, so that you may have leisure to reflect on your
folly. On the other hand, if fortune favours you, you may act as you
"We will go into the wood by ourselves, and my coachman shall have
orders to drive you wherever you like if you come out of the wood by
"Very good indeed; and which would you prefer--swords or pistols?"
"Swords, I think."
"Then I promise to unload my pistols as soon as we get into the
I was astonished to find the usually brutal count become quite polite at
the prospect of a duel. I felt perfectly confident myself, as I was
sure of flooring him at the first stroke by a peculiar lunge. Then I
could escape through Venetian territory where I was not known.
But I had good reasons for supposing that the duel would end in smoke as
so many other duels when one of the parties is a coward, and a coward I
believed the count to be.
We started after an excellent dinner; the count having no luggage, and
mine being strapped behind the carriage.
I took care to draw the charges of my pistols before the count.
I had heard him tell the coachman to drive towards Gorice, but every
moment I expected to hear him order the man to drive up this or that
turning that we might settle our differences.
I asked no questions, feeling that the initiative lay with him; but we
drove on till we were at the gates of Gorice, and I burst out laughing
when I heard the count order the coachman to drive to the posting inn.
As soon as we got there he said,--
"You were in the right; we must remain friends. Promise me not to tell
anyone of what has happened."
I gave him the promise; we shook hands, and everything was over.
The next day I took up my abode in one of the quietest streets to finish
my second volume on the Polish troubles, but I still managed to enjoy
myself during my stay at Gorice. At last I resolved on returning to
Trieste, where I had more chances of serving and pleasing the State
I stayed at Gorice till the end of the year 1773, and passed an
extremely pleasant six weeks.
My adventure at Spessa had become public property. At first everybody
addressed me on the subject, but as I laughed and treated the whole
thing as a joke it would soon be forgotten. Torriano took care to be
most polite whenever we met; but I had stamped him as a dangerous
character, and whenever he asked me to dinner or supper I had other
During the carnival he married the young lady of whom he had spoken to
me, and as long as he lived her life was misery. Fortunately he died a
madman thirteen or fourteen years after.
Whilst I was at Gorice Count Charles Coronini contributed greatly to my
enjoyment. He died four years later, and a month before his death he
sent me his will in ostosyllabic Italian verses--a specimen of
philosophic mirth which I still preserve. It is full of jest and wit,
though I believe if he had guessed the near approach of death he would
not have been so cheerful, for the prospect of imminent destruction can
only enliven the heart of a maniac.
During my stay at Gorice a certain M. Richard Lorrain came there. He
was a bachelor of forty, who had done good financial service under the
Viennese Government, and had now retired with a comfortable pension. He
was a fine man, and his agreeable manners and excellent education
procured him admission into the best company in the town.
I met him at the house of Count Torres, and soon after he was married to
the young countess.
In October the new Council of Ten and the new Inquisitors took office,
and my protectors wrote to me that if they could not obtain my pardon in
the course of the next twelve months they would be inclined to despair.
The first of the Inquisitors was Sagredo, and intimate friend of the
Procurator Morosini's; the second, Grimani, the friend of my good
Dandolo; and M. Zaguri wrote to me that he would answer for the third,
who, according to law, was one of the six councillors who assist the
Council of Ten.
It may not be generally known that the Council of Ten is really a
council of seventeen, as the Doge has always a right to be present.
I returned to Trieste determined to do my best for the Tribunal, for I
longed to return to Venice after nineteen years' wanderings.
I was then forty-nine, and I expected no more of Fortune's gifts, for
the deity despises those of ripe age. I thought, however, that I might
live comfortably and independently at Venice.
I had talents and experience, I hoped to make use of them, and I thought
the Inquisitors would feel bound to give me some sufficient employment.
I was writing the history of the Polish troubles, the first volume was
printed, the second was in preparation, and I thought of concluding the
work in seven volumes. Afterwards I had a translation of the "Iliad" in
view, and other literary projects would no doubt present themselves.
In fine, I thought myself sure of living in Venice, where many persons
who would be beggars elsewhere continue to live at their ease.
I left Gorice on the last day of December, 1773, and on January 1st I
took up my abode at Trieste.
I could not have received a warmer welcome. Baron Pittoni, the Venetian
consul, all the town councillors, and the members of the club, seemed
delighted to see me again. My carnival was a pleasant one, and in the
beginning of Lent I published the second volume of my work on Poland.
The chief object of interest to me at Trieste was an actress in a
company that was playing there. She was no other than the daughter of
the so-called Count Rinaldi, and my readers may remember her under the
name of Irene. I had loved her at Milan, and neglected her at Genoa on
account of her father's misdeeds, and at Avignon I had rescued her at
Marcoline's request. Eleven years had passed by since I had heard of
I was astonished to see her, and I think more sorry than glad, for she
was still beautiful, and I might fall in love again; and being no longer
in a position to give her assistance, the issue might be unfortunate for
me. However, I called on her the next day, and was greeted with a
shriek of delight. She told me she had seen me at the theatre, and felt
sure I would come and see her.
She introduced me to her husband, who played parts like Scapin, and to
her nine-year-old daughter, who had a talent for dancing.
She gave me an abridged account of her life since we had met. In the
year I had seen her at Avignon she had gone to Turin with her father.
At Turin she fell in love with her present husband, and left her parents
to join her lot to his.
"Since that," she said, "I have heard of my father's death, but I do not
know what has become of my mother."
After some further conversation she told me she was a faithful wife,
though she did not push fidelity so far as to drive a rich lover to
"I have no lovers here," she added, "but I give little suppers to a few
friends. I don't mind the expense, as I win some money at faro."
She was the banker, and she begged me to join the party now and then.
"I will come after the play to-night," I replied, "but you must not
expect any high play of me."
I kept the appointment and supped with a number of silly young
tradesmen, who were all in love with her.
After supper she held a bank, and I was greatly astonished when I saw
her cheating with great dexterity. It made me want to laugh; however, I
lost my florins with a good grace and left. However, I did not mean to
let Irene think she was duping me, and I went to see her next morning at
rehearsal, and complimented her on her dealing. She pretended not to
understand what I meant, and on my explaining myself she had the
impudence to tell me that I was mistaken.
In my anger I turned my back on her saying, "You will be sorry for this
At this she began to laugh, and said, "Well, well, I confess! and if you
tell me how much you lost you shall have it back, and if you like you
shall be a partner in the game."
"No, thank you, Irene, I will not be present at any more of your
suppers. But I warn you to be cautious; games of chance are strictly
"I know that, but all the young men have promised strict secrecy."
"Come and breakfast with me whenever you like."
A few days later she came, bringing her daughter with her. The girl was
pretty, and allowed me to caress her.
One day Baron Pittoni met them at my lodgings, and as he liked young
girls as well as I he begged Irene to make her daughter include him in
her list of favoured lovers.
I advised her not to reject the offer, and the baron fell in love with
her, which was a piece of luck for Irene, as she was accused of playing
unlawful games, and would have been severely treated if the baron had
not given her warning. When the police pounced on her, they found no
gaming and no gamesters, and nothing could be done.
Irene left Trieste at the beginning of Lent with the company to which
she belonged. Three years later I saw her again at Padua. Her daughter
had become a charming girl, and our acquaintance was renewed in the
[Thus abruptly end the Memoirs of Giacome Casanova,
Chevalier de Seingalt, Knight of the Golden Spur,
Prothonotary Apostolic, and Scoundrel Cosmopolitic.]
by Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6e--OLD AGE AND DEATH
THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA DE SEINGALT
THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN
TO WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.
OLD AGE AND DEATH OF CASANOVA
APPENDIX AND SUPPLEMENT
Whether the author died before the work was complete, whether the
concluding volumes were destroyed by himself or his literary executors,
or whether the MS. fell into bad hands, seems a matter of uncertainty,
and the materials available towards a continuation of the Memoirs are
extremely fragmentary. We know, however, that Casanova at last succeeded
in obtaining his pardon from the authorities of the Republic, and he
returned to Venice, where he exercised the honourable office of secret
agent of the State Inquisitors--in plain language, he became a spy. It
seems that the Knight of the Golden Spur made a rather indifferent
"agent;" not surely, as a French writer suggests, because the dirty work
was too dirty for his fingers, but probably because he was getting old
and stupid and out-of-date, and failed to keep in touch with new forms of
turpitude. He left Venice again and paid a visit to Vienna, saw beloved
Paris once more, and there met Count Wallenstein, or Waldstein. The
conversation turned on magic and the occult sciences, in, which Casanova
was an adept, as the reader of the Memoirs will remember, and the count
took a fancy to the charlatan. In short Casanova became librarian at the
count's Castle of Dux, near Teplitz, and there he spent the fourteen
remaining years of his life.
As the Prince de Ligne (from whose Memoirs we learn these particulars)
remarks, Casanova's life had been a stormy and adventurous one, and it
might have been expected that he would have found his patron's library a
pleasant refuge after so many toils and travels. But the man carried
rough weather and storm in his own heart, and found daily opportunities
of mortification and resentment. The coffee was ill made, the maccaroni
not cooked in the true Italian style, the dogs had bayed during the
night, he had been made to dine at a small table, the parish priest had
tried to convert him, the soup had been served too hot on purpose to
annoy him, he had not been introduced to a distinguished guest, the count
had lent a book without telling him, a groom had not taken off his hat;
such were his complaints. The fact is Casanova felt his dependent
position and his utter poverty, and was all the more determined to stand
to his dignity as a man who had talked with all the crowned heads of
Europe, and had fought a duel with the Polish general. And he had
another reason for finding life bitter--he had lived beyond his time.
Louis XV. was dead, and Louis XVI. had been guillotined; the Revolution
had come; and Casanova, his dress, and his manners, appeared as odd and
antique as some "blood of the Regency" would appear to us of these days.
Sixty years before, Marcel, the famous dancing-master, had taught young
Casanova how to enter a room with a lowly and ceremonious bow; and still,
though the eighteenth century is drawning to a close, old Casanova enters
the rooms of Dux with the same stately bow, but now everyone laughs. Old
Casanova treads the grave measures of the minuet; they applauded his
dancing once, but now everyone laughs. Young Casanova was always dressed
in the height of the fashion; but the age of powder, wigs, velvets, and
silks has departed, and old Casanova's attempts at elegance ("Strass"
diamonds have replaced the genuine stones with him) are likewise greeted
with laughter. No wonder the old adventurer denounces the whole house of
Jacobins and canaille; the world, he feels, is permanently out of joint
for him; everything is cross, and everyone is in a conspiracy to drive
the iron into his soul.
At last these persecutions, real or imaginary, drive him away from Dux;
he considers his genius bids him go, and, as before, he obeys. Casanova
has but little pleasure or profit out of this his last journey; he has to
dance attendance in ante-chambers; no one will give him any office,
whether as tutor, librarian, or chamberlain. In one quarter only is he
well received--namely, by the famous Duke of Weimar; but in a few days he
becomes madly jealous of the duke's more famous protegees, Goethe and
Wieland, and goes off declaiming against them and German literature
generally--with which literature he was wholly unacquainted. From Weimar
to Berlin; where there are Jews to whom he has introductions. Casanova
thinks them ignorant, superstitious, and knavish; but they lend him
money, and he gives bills on Count Wallenstein, which are paid. In six
weeks the wanderer returns to Dux, and is welcomed with open arms; his
journeys are over at last.
But not his troubles. A week after his return there are strawberries at
dessert; everyone is served before himself, and when the plate comes
round to him it is empty. Worse still: his portrait is missing from his
room, and is discovered 'salement placarde a la porte des lieux
Five more years of life remained to him. They were passed in such petty
mortifications as we have narrated, in grieving over his 'afreuse
vieillesse', and in laments over the conquest of his native land Venice,
once so splendid and powerful. His appetite began to fail, and with it
failed his last source of pleasure, so death came to him somewhat as a
release. He received the sacraments with devotion, exclaimed,--
"Grand Dieu, et vous tous temoins de ma mort, j'ai vecu en philosophe, et
je meurs en Chretien," and so died.
It was a quiet ending to a wonderfully brilliant and entirely useless
career. It has been suggested that if the age in which Casanova lived
had been less corrupt, he himself might have used his all but universal
talents to some advantage, but to our mind Casanova would always have
remained Casanova. He came of a family of adventurers, and the reader of
his Memoirs will remark how he continually ruined his prospects by his
ineradicable love for disreputable company. His "Bohemianism" was in his
blood, and in his old age he regrets--not his past follies, but his
inability to commit folly any longer. Now and again we are inclined to
pronounce Casanova to be an amiable man; and if to his generosity and
good nature he had added some elementary knowledge of the distinction
between right and wrong, he might certainly have laid some claim to the
character. The Prince de Ligne draws the following portrait of him under
the name of Aventuros:
"He would be a handsome man if he were not ugly; he is tall and strongly
built, but his dark complexion and his glittering eyes give him a fierce
expression. He is easier to annoy than amuse; he laughs little but makes
others laugh by the peculiar turn he gives to his conversation. He knows
everything except those matters on the knowledge of which he chiefly
prides himself, namely, dancing, the French language, good taste, and
knowledge of the world. Everything about him is comic, except his
comedies; and all his writings are philosophical, saving those which
treat of philosophy. He is a perfect well of knowledge, but he quotes
Homer and Horace ad nauseam."
THE MEMOIRS OF
Containing an Outline of Casanova's career from the
year 1774, when his own Memoirs abruptly
end, until his death in 1798
PART THE FIRST
CASANOVA'S RETURN TO VENICE
Thus Casanova ended his Memoirs, concluding his narrative with his
sojourn at Trieste, in January 1774, where he had remained, except for a
few excursions, since the 15th November 1772. He was forty-nine years of
age. Since his unfortunate experiences in England, the loss of his
fortune and the failure of his efforts to obtain congenial and
remunerative employment in Germany or Russia, he had come to concentrate
his efforts on a return to his native city.
Of his faithful friends, the nobles Bragadin, Barbaro and Dandolo, the
first had died in 1767, having gone into debt "that I might have enough,"
sending Casanova, from his death-bed, a last gift of a thousand crowns.
Barbaro who had died also, in 1771, left Casanova a life-income of six
sequins a month. The survivor, Dandolo, was poor, but until his death,
he also gave Casanova a monthly provision of six sequins.
However, Casanova was not without influential friends who might not only
obtain a pardon from the State Inquisitors but also assist him to
employment; and, in fact, it was through such influence as that wielded
by the Avogador Zaguri and the Procurator Morosini, that Casanova
received his pardon, and later, a position as "Confidant," or Secret
Agent, to the Inquisitors at Venice.
Casanova re-entered Venice the 14th September 1774 and, presenting
himself, on the 18th, to Marc-Antoine Businello, Secretary of the
Tribunal of the Inquisitors of State, was advised that mercy had been
accorded him by reason of his refutation of the History of the Venetian
Government by Amelot de la Houssaie which he had written during his
forty-two day imprisonment at Barcelona in 1768. The three Inquisitors,
Francesco Grimani, Francesco Sagredo and Paolo Bembo, invited him to
dinner to hear his story of his escape from The Leads.
In 1772, Bandiera, the Republic's resident at Ancona, drew this portrait
"One sees everywhere this unhappy rebel against the justice of the August
Council, presenting himself boldly, his head carried high, and well
equipped. He is received in many houses and announces his intention of
going to Trieste and, from there, of returning to Germany. He is a man
of forty years or more," [in reality, forty-seven] "of high stature and
excellent appearance, vigorous, of a very brown color, the eye bright,
the wig short and chestnut-brown. He is said to be haughty and
disdainful; he speaks at length, with spirit and erudition." [Letter of
information to the Very Illustrious Giovanni Zon, Secretary of the August
Council of Ten at Venice. 2 October 1772.]
Returning to Venice after an absence of eighteen years, Casanova renewed
his acquaintance with many old friends, among whom were:
The Christine of the Memoirs. Charles, who married Christine, the
marriage being arranged by Casanova while in Venice in 1747, was of
financial assistance to Casanova, who "found him a true friend." Charles
died "a few months before my last departure from Venice," in 1783.
Mlle. X---- C---- V----, really Giustina de Wynne, widow of the Count
Rosenberg, Austrian Ambassador at Venice. "Fifteen years afterwards, I
saw her again and she was a widow, happy enough, apparently, and enjoying
a great reputation on account of her rank, wit and social qualities, but
our connection was never renewed."
Callimena, who was kind to him "for love's sake alone" at Sorrento in
Marcoline, the girl he took away from his younger brother, the Abby
Casanova, at Geneva in 1763.
Father Balbi, the companion of his flight from The Leads.
Doctor Gozzi, his former teacher at Padua, now become Arch-Priest of St.
George of the Valley, and his sister Betting. "When I went to pay him a
visit . . . she breathed her last in my arms, in 1776, twenty-four
hours after my arrival. I will speak of her death in due time."
Angela Toselli, his first passion. In 1758 this girl married the
advocate Francesco Barnaba Rizzotti, and in the following year she gave
birth to a daughter, Maria Rizzotti (later married to a M. Kaiser) who
lived at Vienna and whose letters to Casanova were preserved at Dux.
C---- C----, the young girl whose love affair with Casanova became
involved with that of the nun M---- M---- Casanova found her in Venice "a
widow and poorly off."
The dancing girl Binetti, who assisted Casanova in his flight from
Stuttgart in 1760, whom he met again in London in 1763, and who was the
cause of his duel with Count Branicki at Warsaw in 1766. She danced
frequently at Venice between 1769 and 1780.
The good and indulgent Mme. Manzoni, "of whom I shall have to speak very
The patricians Andrea Memmo and his brother Bernardo who, with
P. Zaguri were personages of considerable standing in the Republic and
who remained his constant friends. Andrea Memmo was the cause of the
embarrassment in which Mlle. X---- C---- V---- found herself in Paris
and which Casanova vainly endeavored to remove by applications of his
astonishing specific, the 'aroph of Paracelsus'.
It was at the house of these friends that Casanova became acquainted with
the poet, Lorenzo Da Ponte. "I made his acquaintance," says the latter,
in his own Memoirs, "at the house of Zaguri and the house of Memmo, who
both sought after his always interesting conversation, accepting from
this man all he had of good, and closing their eyes, on account of his
genius, upon the perverse parts of his nature."
Lorenzo Da Ponte, known above all as Mozart's librettist, and whose youth
much resembled that of Casanova, was accused of having eaten ham on
Friday and was obliged to flee from Venice in 1777, to escape the
punishment of the Tribunal of Blasphemies. In his Memoirs, he speaks
unsparingly of his compatriot and yet, as M. Rava notes, in the numerous
letters he wrote Casanova, and which were preserved at Dux, he proclaims
his friendship and admiration.
Irene Rinaldi, whom he met again at Padua in 1777, with her daughter who
"had become a charming girl; and our acquaintance was renewed in the
The ballet-girl Adelaide, daughter of Mme. Soavi, who was also a dancer,
and of a M. de Marigny.
Barbara, who attracted Casanova's attention at Trieste, in 1773, while he
was frequenting a family named Leo, but toward whom he had maintained an
attitude of respect. This girl, on meeting him again in 1777, declared
that "she had guessed my real feelings and had been amused by my foolish
At Pesaro, the Jewess Leah, with whom he had the most singular
experiences at Ancona in 1772.
RELATIONS WITH THE INQUISITORS
Soon after reaching Venice, Casanova learned that the Landgrave of Hesse
Cassel, following the example of other German princes, wished a Venetian
correspondent for his private affairs. Through some influence he
believed he might obtain this small employment; but before applying for
the position he applied to the Secretary of the Tribunal for permission.
Apparently nothing came of this, and Casanova obtained no definite
employment until 1776.
Early in 1776, Casanova entered the service of the Tribunal of
Inquisitors as an "occasional Confidant," under the fictitious name of
Antonio Pratiloni, giving his address as "at the Casino of S. E. Marco
In October 1780, his appointment was more definitely established and he
was given a salary of fifteen ducats a month. This, with the six sequins
of life-income left by Barbaro and the six given by Dandolo, gave him a
monthly income of three hundred and eighty-four lires--about seventy-four
U. S. dollars--from 1780 until his break with the Tribunal at the end of
In the Archives of Venice are preserved forty-eight letters from
Casanova, including the Reports he wrote as a "Confidant," all in the
same handwriting as the manuscript of the Memoirs. The Reports may be
divided into two classes: those referring to commercial or industrial
matters, and those referring to the public morals.
Among those of the first class, we find:
A Report relating to Casanova's success in having a change made in the
route of the weekly diligence running from Trieste to Mestre, for which
service, rendered during Casanova's residence at Trieste in 1773, he
received encouragement and the sum of one hundred ducats from the
A Report, the 8th September 1776, with information concerning the rumored
project of the future Emperor of Austria to invade Dalmatia after the
death of Maria Theresa. Casanova stated he had received this information
from a Frenchman, M. Salz de Chalabre, whom he had known in Paris twenty
years before. This M. Chalabre [printed Calabre] was the pretended
nephew of Mme. Amelin. "This young man was as like her as two drops of
water, but she did not find that a sufficient reason for avowing herself
his mother." The boy was, in fact, the son of Mme. Amelin and of M. de
Chalabre, who had lived together for a long time.
A Report, the 12th of December 1776, of a secret mission to Trieste, in
regard to a project of the court of Vienna for making Fiume a French
port; the object being to facilitate communications between this port and
the interior of Hungary. For this inquiry, Casanova received sixteen
hundred lires, his expenditures amounting to seven hundred and sixty-six
A Report, May-July 1779, of an excursion in the market of Ancona for
information concerning the commercial relations of the Pontifical States
with the Republic of Venice. At Forli, in the course of this excursion,
Casanova visited the dancing-girl Binetti. For this mission Casanova
received forty-eight sequins.
A Report, January 1780, remarking a clandestine recruiting carried out by
a certain Marrazzani for the [Prussian] regiment of Zarembal.
A Report, the 11th October 1781, regarding a so-called Baldassare
Rossetti, a Venetian subject living at Trieste, whose activities and
projects were of a nature to prejudice the commerce and industry of the
Among the Reports relating to public morals may be noted:
December 1776. A Report on the seditious character of a ballet called
"Coriolanus." The back of this report is inscribed: "The impressario of
S. Benedetto, Mickel de l'Agata, shall be summoned immediately; it has
been ordered that he cease, under penalty of his life, from giving the
ballet Coriolanus at the theater. Further, he is to collect and deposit
all the printed programmes of this ballet."
December 1780. A Report calling to the attention of the Tribunal the
scandalous disorders produced in the theaters when the lights were
3rd May 1781. A Report remarking that the Abbe Carlo Grimani believed
himself exempt, in his position as a priest, from the interdiction laid
on patricians against frequenting foreign ministers and their suites. On
the back of this Report is written: "Ser Jean Carlo, Abbe Grimani, to be
gently reminded, by the Secretary, of the injunction to abstain from all
commerce with foreign ministers and their adherents"
Venetian nobles were forbidden under penalty of death from holding any
communication with foreign ambassadors or their households. This was
intended as a precaution to preserve the secrets of the Senate.
26th November 1781. A Report concerning a painting academy where nude
studies were made, from models of both sexes, while scholars only twelve
or thirteen years of age were admitted, and where dilettantes who were
neither painters nor designers, attended the sessions.
22nd December 1781. By order, Casanova reported to the Tribunal a list
of the principal licentious or antireligious books to be found in the
libraries and private collections at Venice: la Pucelle; la Philosophie
de l'Histoire; L'Esprit d'Helvetius; la Sainte Chandelle d'Arras; les
Bijoux indiscrets; le Portier des Chartreux; les Posies de Baffo; Ode
a Priape; de Piron; etc., etc.
In considering this Report, which has been the subject of violent
criticism, we should bear in mind three points:
first--the Inquisitors required this information; second--no one in their
employ could have been in a better position to give it than Casanova;
third--Casanova was morally and economically bound, as an employee of the
Tribunal, to furnish the information ordered, whatever his personal
distaste for the undertaking may have been. We may even assume that he
permitted himself to express his feelings in some indiscreet way, and his
break with the Tribunal followed, for, at the end of 1781, his commission
was withdrawn. Certainly, Casanova's almost absolute dependence on his
salary, influenced the letter he wrote the Inquisitors at this time.
"To the Illustrious and Most Excellent Lords, the Inquisitors of State:
"Filled with confusion, overwhelmed with sorrow and repentance,
recognizing myself absolutely unworthy of addressing my vile letter to
Your Excellencies confessing that I have failed in my duty in the
opportunities which presented themselves, I, Jacques Casanova, invoke, on
my knees, the mercy of the Prince; I beg that, in compassion and grace,
there may be accorded me that which, in all justice and on reflection,
may be refused me.
"I ask the Sovereign Munificence to come to my aid, so that, with the
means of subsistence, I may apply myself vigorously, in the future, to
the service to which I have been privileged.
"After this respectful supplication, the wisdom of Your Excellencies may
judge the disposition of my spirit and of my intentions."
The Inquisitors decided to award Casanova one month's pay, but specified
that thereafter he would receive salary only when he rendered important
In 1782 Casanova made a few more Reports to the Tribunal, for one of
which, regarding the failure of an insurance and commercial house at
Trieste, he received six sequins. But the part of a guardian of the
public morals, even through necessity, was undoubtedly unpleasant to him;
and, in spite of the financial loss, it may be that his release was a
Intimately connected with Casanova's life at this period was a girl named
Francesca Buschini. This name does not appear in any of the literary,
artistic or theatrical records of the period, and, of the girl, nothing
is known other than that which she herself tells us in her letters to
Casanova. From these very human letters, however, we may obtain, not
only certain facts, but also, a very excellent idea of her character.
Thirty-two of her letters, dated between July 1779 and October 1787,
written in the Venetian dialect, were preserved in the library at Dux.
She was a seamstress, although often without work, and had a brother, a
younger sister and also a mother living with her. The probabilities are
that she was a girl of the most usual sort, but greatly attached to
Casanova who, even in his poverty, must have dazzled her as a being from
another world. She was his last Venetian love, and remained a faithful
correspondent until 1787; and it is chiefly from her letters, in which
she comments on news contained in Casanova's letters to her, that light
is thrown on the Vienna-Paris period, particularly, of Casanova's life.
For this, Francesca has placed us greatly in her debt.
With this girl, at least between 1779 and 1782, Casanova rented a small
house at Barbaria delle Tole, near S. Giustina, from the noble Pesaro at
S. Stae. Casanova, always in demand for his wit and learning, often took
dinner in the city. He knew that a place always awaited him at the house
of Memmo and at that of Zaguri and that, at the table of these
patricians, who were distinguished by their intellectual superiority, he
would meet men notable in science and letters. Being so long and so
closely connected with theatrical circles, he was often seen at the
theater, with Francesca. Thus, the 9th August 1786, the poor girl, in an
excess of chagrin writes: "Where are all the pleasures which formerly you
procured me? Where are the theatres, the comedies which we once saw
On the 28th July 1779, Francesca wrote:
"Dearest and best beloved,