Part 3 out of 3
marks of the gratitude I felt, but the place I was in and the part I
was playing made the situation too serious a one for me to think of
This kindly woman, after looking at my knees and my thighs, told me
that I must make my mind to suffer a little pain, but I might be sure
of being cured by the morning. All I had to do was to bear the
application of medicated linen to my wounds, and not to stir till the
next day. I promised to bear the pain patiently, and to do exactly
as she told me.
I was given an excellent supper, and I ate and drank with good
appetite. I then gave myself up to treatment, and fell asleep whilst
my nurse was attending to me. I suppose she undressed me as she
would a child, but I remembered nothing about it when I woke up--I
was, in fact, totally unconscious. Though I had made a good supper I
had only done so to satisfy my craving for food and to regain my
strength, and sleep came to me with an irresistible force, as my
physical exhaustion did not leave me the power of arguing myself out
of it. I took my supper at six o'clock in the evening, and I heard
six striking as I awoke. I seemed to have been enchanted. Rousing
myself up and gathering my wits together, I first took off the linen
bandages, and I was astonished to find my wounds healed and quite
free from pain. I did my hair, dressed myself in less than five
minutes, and finding the door of my room open I went downstairs,
crossed the court, and left the house behind me, without appearing to
notice two individuals who were standing outside, and must have been
sbirri. I made haste to lengthen the distance between me and the
place where I had found the kindliest hospitality, the utmost
politeness, the most tender care, and best of all, new health and
strength, and as I walked I could not help feeling terrified at the
danger I had been in. I shuddered involuntarily; and at the present
moment, after so many years, I still shudder when I think of the
peril to which I had so heedlessly exposed myself. I wondered how I
managed to go in, and still more how I came out; it seemed absurd
that I should not be followed. For five hours I tramped on, keeping
to the woods and mountains, not meeting a soul besides a few
countryfolk, and turning neither to the right nor left.
It was not yet noon, when, as I went along my way, I stopped short at
the sound of a bell. I was on high ground, and looking in the
direction from which the sound came I saw, a little church in the
valley, and many, people going towards it to hear mass. My heart
desired to express thankfulness for the protection of Providence,
and, though all nature was a temple worthy of its Creator, custom
drew me to the church. When men are in trouble, every passing
thought seems an inspiration. It was All Souls' Day. I went down
the hill, and came into the church, and saw, to my astonishment, M.
Marc Antoine Grimani, the nephew of the State Inquisitor, with Madame
Marie Visani, his wife. I made my bow; which was returned, and after
I had heard mass I left the church. M. Grimani followed me by
himself, and when he had got near me, called me by name, saying,
"What are you doing here, Casanova, and what has become of your
"I have given him what little money I had for him to escape by
another road, whilst I, without a penny in my pocket, am endeavouring
to reach a place of safety by this way. If your excellence would
kindly give me some help, it would speed my journey for me."
"I can't give you anything, but you will find recluses on your way
who won't let you die of hunger. But tell me how you contrived to
pierce the roof of The Leads."
"The story is an interesting one, but it would take up too much time,
and in the meanwhile the recluses might eat up the food which is to
keep me from dying of hunger."
With this sarcasm I made him a profound bow, and went upon my way.
In spite of my great want, his refusal pleased me, as it made me
think myself a better gentleman than the "excellence" who had
referred me to the charity of recluses. I heard at Paris afterwards
that when his wife heard of it she reproached him for his hard-
hearted behaviour. There can be no doubt that kindly and generous
feelings are more often to be found in the hearts of women than of
I continued my journey till sunset. Weary and faint with hunger I
stopped at a good-looking house, which stood by itself. I asked to
speak to the master, and the porter told me that he was not in as he
had gone to a wedding on the other side of the river, and would be
away for two days, but that he had bidden him to welcome all his
friends while he was away. Providence! luck! chance! whichever you
I went in and was treated to a good supper and a good bed. I found
by the addresses of some letters which were lying about that I was
being entertained in the house of M. Rombenchi--a consul, of what
nation I know not. I wrote a letter to him and sealed it to await
his return. After making an excellent supper and having had a good
sleep, I rose, and dressing myself carefully set out again without
being able to leave the porter any mark of my gratitude, and shortly
afterwards crossed the river, promising to pay when I came back.
After walking for five hours I dined in a monastery of Capuchins, who
are very useful to people in my position. I then set out again,
feeling fresh and strong, and walked along at a good pace till three
o'clock. I halted at a house which I found from a countryman
belonged to a friend of mine. I walked in, asked if the master was
at home, and was shewn into a room where he was writing by himself.
I stepped forward to greet him, but as soon as he saw me he seemed
horrified and bid me be gone forthwith, giving me idle and insulting
reasons for his behaviour. I explained to him how I was situated,
and asked him to let me have sixty sequins on my note of hand, drawn
on M. de Bragadin. He replied that he could not so much as give me a
glass of water, since he dreaded the wrath of the Tribunal for my
very presence in his house. He was a stockbroker, about sixty years
old, and was under great obligations to me. His inhuman refusal
produced quite a different effect on me than that of M. Grimani.
Whether from rage, indignation, or nature, I took him by the collar,
I shewed him my pike, and raising my voice threatened to kill him.
Trembling all over, he took a key from his pocket and shewing me a
bureau told me he kept money there, and I had only to open it and
take what I wanted; I told him to open it himself. He did so, and on
his opening a drawer containing gold, I told him to count me out six
"You asked me for sixty."
"Yes, that was when I was asking a loan of you as a friend; but since
I owe the money to force, I require six only, and I will give you no
note of hand. You shall be repaid at Venice, where I shall write of
the pass to which you forced me, you cowardly wretch!"
"I beg your pardon! take the sixty sequins, I entreat you."
"No, no more. I am going on my way, and I advise you not to hinder
me, lest in my despair I come back and burn your house about your
I went out and walked for two hours, until the approach of night and
weariness made me stop short at the house of a farmer, where I had a
bad supper and a bed of straw. In the morning, I bought an old
overcoat, and hired an ass to journey on, and near Feltre I bought a
pair of boots. In this guise I passed the hut called the Scala.
There was a guard there who, much to my delight, as the reader will
guess, did not even honour me by asking my name. I then took a two-
horse carriage and got to Borgo de Valsugano in good time, and found
Father Balbi at the inn I had told him of. If he had not greeted me
first I should not have known him. A great overcoat, a low hat over
a thick cotton cap, disguised him to admiration. He told me that a
farmer had given him these articles in exchange for my cloak, that he
had arrived without difficulty, and was faring well. He was kind
enough to tell me that he did not expect to see me, as he did not
believe my promise to rejoin him was made in good faith. Possibly I
should have been wise not to undeceive him on this account.
I passed the following day in the inn, where, without getting out of
my bed, I wrote more than twenty letters to Venice, in many of which
I explained what I had been obliged to do to get the six sequins.
The monk wrote impudent letters to his superior, Father Barbarigo,
and to his brother nobles, and love-letters to the servant girls who
had been his ruin. I took the lace off my dress, and sold my hat,
and thus got rid of a gay appearance unsuitable to my position, as it
made me too much an object of notice.
The next day I went to Pergina and lay there, and was visited by a
young Count d'Alberg, who had discovered, in some way or another,
that we had escaped from the state-prisons of Venice. From Pergina I
went to Trent and from there to Bolzan, where, needing money for my
dress, linen, and the continuation of my journey, I introduced myself
to an old banker named Mensch, who gave me a man to send to Venice
with a letter to M. de Bragadin. In the mean time the old banker put
me in a good inn where I spent the six days the messenger was away in
bed. He brought me the sum of a hundred sequins, and my first care
was to clothe my companion, and afterwards myself. Every day I found
the society of the wretched Balbi more intolerable. "Without me you
would never have escaped" was continually in his mouth, and he kept
reminding me that I had promised him half of whatever money I got.
He made love to all the servant girls, and as he had neither the
figure nor the manners to please them, his attentions were returned
with good hearty slaps, which he bore patiently, but was as
outrageous as ever in the course of twenty-four hours. I was amused,
but at the same time vexed to be coupled to a man of so low a nature.
We travelled post, and in three days we got to Munich, where I went
to lodge at the sign of the "Stag." There I found two young
Venetians of the Cantarini family, who had been there some time in
company with Count Pompei, a Veronese; but not knowing them, and
having no longer any need of depending on recluses for my daily
bread, I did not care to pay my respects to them. It was otherwise
with Countess Coronini, whom I knew at St. Justine's Convent at
Venice, and who stood very well with the Bavarian Court.
This illustrious lady, then seventy years old, gave me a good
reception and promised to speak on my behalf to the Elector, with a
view to his granting me an asylum in his country. The next day,
having fulfilled her promise, she told me that his highness had
nothing to say against me, but as for Balbi there was no safety for
him in Bavaria, for as a fugitive monk he might be claimed by the
monks at Munich, and his highness had no wish to meddle with the
monks. The countess advised me therefore to get him out of the town
as soon as possible, for him to fly to some other quarter, and thus
to avoid the bad turn which his beloved brethren the monks were
certain to do him.
Feeling in duty bound to look after the interests of the wretched
fellow, I went to the Elector's confessor to ask him to give Balbi
letters of introduction to some town in Swabia. The confessor, a
Jesuit, did not give the lie to the fine reputation of his brethren
of the order; his reception of me was as discourteous as it well
could be. He told me in a careless way that at Munich I was well
known. I asked him without flinching if I was to take this as a
piece of good or bad news; but he made no answer, and left me
standing. Another priest told me that he had gone out to verify the
truth of a miracle of which the whole town was talking.
"What miracle is that, reverend father?" I said.
"The empress, the widow of Charles VII, whose body is still exposed
to the public gaze, has warm feet, although she is dead."
"Perhaps something keeps them warm."
"You can assure yourself personally of the truth of this wonderful
To neglect such an opportunity would have been to lose the chance of
mirth or edification, and I was as desirous of the one as of the
other. Wishing to be able to boast that I had seen a miracle--and
one, moreover, of a peculiar interest for myself, who have always had
the misfortune to suffer from cold feet--I went to see the mighty
dead. It was quite true that her feet were warm, but the matter was
capable of a simple explanation, as the feet of her defunct majesty
were turned towards a burning lamp at a little distance off. A
dancer of my acquaintance, whom curiosity had brought there with the
rest, came up to me, complimented me upon my fortunate escape, and
told me everybody was talking about it. His news pleased me, as it
is always a good thing to interest the public. This son of
Terpsichore asked me to dinner, and I was glad to accept his
invitation. His name was Michel de l'Agata, and his wife was the
pretty Gandela, whom I had known sixteen years ago at the old
Malipiero's. The Gandela was enchanted to see me, and to hear from
my own lips the story of my wondrous escape. She interested herself
on behalf of the monk, and offered me to give him a letter of
introduction for Augsburg Canon Bassi, of Bologna, who was Dean of
St. Maurice's Chapter, and a friend of hers. I took advantage of the
offer, and she forthwith wrote me the letter, telling me that I need
not trouble myself any more about the monk, as she was sure that the
dean would take care of him, and even make it all right at Venice.
Delighted at getting rid of him in so honourable a manner, I ran to
the inn, told him what I had done, gave him the letter, and promised
not to abandon him in the case of the dean's not giving him a warm
welcome. I got him a good carriage, and started him off the next day
at daybreak. Four days after, Balbi wrote that the dean had received
him with great kindness, that he had given him a room in the deanery,
that he had dressed him as an abbe, that he had introduced him to
the Prince-Bishop of Armstadt, and that he had received assurances of
his safety from the civil magistrates. Furthermore, the dean had
promised to keep him till he obtained his secularization from Rome,
and with it freedom to return to Venice, for as soon as he ceased to
be a monk the Tribunal would have no lien upon him. Father Balbi
finished by asking me to send him a few sequins for pocket-money, as
he was too much of a gentleman to ask the dean who, quoth the
ungrateful fellow, "is not gentleman enough to offer to give me
anything." I gave him no answer.
As I was now alone in peace and quietness, I thought seriously of
regaining my health, for my sufferings had given me nervous spasms
which might become dangerous. I put myself on diet, and in three
weeks I was perfectly well. In the meanwhile Madame Riviere came
from Dresden with her son and two daughters. She was going to Paris
to marry the elder. The son had been diligent, and would have passed
for a young man of culture. The elder daughter, who was going to
marry an actor, was extremely beautiful, an accomplished dancer, and
played on the clavichord like a professional, and was altogether most
charming and graceful. This pleasant family was delighted to see me
again, and I thought myself fortunate when Madame Riviere,
anticipating my wishes, intimated to me that my company as far as
Paris would give them great pleasure. I had nothing to say
respecting the expenses of the journey. I had to accept their offer
in its entirety. My design was to settle in Paris, and I took this
stroke of fortune as an omen of success in the only town where the
blind goddess freely dispenses her favours to those who leave
themselves to be guided by her, and know how to take advantage of her
gifts. And, as the reader will see by and by, I was not mistaken;
but all the gifts of fortune were of no avail, since I abused them
all by my folly. Fifteen months under the Leads should have made me
aware of my weak points, but in point of fact I needed a little
longer stay to learn how to cure myself of my failings.
Madame Riviere wished to take me with her, but she could not put off
her departure, and I required a week's delay to get money and letters
from Venice. She promised to wait a week in Strassburg, and we
agreed that if possible I would join her there. She left Munich on
the 18th of December.
Two days afterwards I got from Venice the bill of exchange for which
I was waiting. I made haste to pay my debts, and immediately
afterwards I started for Augsburg, not so much for the sake of seeing
Father Balbi, as because I wanted to make the acquaintance of the
kindly dean who had rid me of him. I reached Augsburg in seven hours
after leaving Munich, and I went immediately to the house of the good
ecclesiastic. He was not in, but I found Balbi in an abbe's dress,
with his hair covered with white powder, which set off in a new but
not a pleasing manner the beauties of his complexion of about the
same colour as a horse chestnut. Balbi was under forty, but he was
decidedly ugly, having one of those faces in which baseness,
cowardice, impudence, and malice are plainly expressed, joining to
this advantage a tone of voice and manners admirably calculated to
repulse anyone inclined to do him a service. I found him comfortably
housed, well looked after, and well clad; he had books and all the
requisites for writing. I complimented him upon his situation,
calling him a fortunate fellow, and applying the same epithet to
myself for having gained him all the advantages he enjoyed, and the
hope of one day becoming a secular priest. But the ungrateful hound,
instead of thanking me, reproached me for having craftily rid myself
of him, and added that, as I was going to Paris, I might as well take
him with me, as the dullness of Augsburg was almost killing him.
"What do you want at Paris?"
"What do you want yourself?"
"To put my talents to account."
"So do I."
"Well, then, you don't require me, and can fly on your own wings.
The people who are taking me to Paris would probably not care for me
if I had you for a companion."
"You promised not to abandon me."
"Can a man who leaves another well provided for and an assured future
be said to abandon him?"
"Well provided! I have not got a penny."
"What do you want with money? You have a good table, a good lodging,
clothes, linen, attendance, and so forth. And if you want pocket-
money, why don't you ask your brethren the monks?"
"Ask monks for money? They take it, but they don't give it."
"Ask your friends, then."
"I have no friends."
"You are to be pitied, but the reason probably is that you have never
been a friend to anyone. You ought to say masses, that is a good way
of getting money."
"I am unknown."
"You must wait, then, till you are known, and then you can make up
for lost time."
"Your suggestions are idle; you will surely give me a few sequins."
"I can't spare any."
"Wait for the dean. He will be back to-morrow. You can talk to him
and persuade him to lend me some money. You can tell him that I will
pay it back."
"I cannot wait, for I am setting out on my journey directly, and were
he here this moment I should not have the face to tell him to lend
you money after all his generous treatment of you, and when he or
anyone can see that you have all you need."
After this sharp dialogue I left him, and travelling post I set out,
displeased with myself for having given such advantages to a man
wholly unworthy of them. In the March following I had a letter from
the good Dean Bassi, in which he told me how Balbi had run away,
taking with him one of his servant girls, a sum of money, a gold
watch, and a dozen silver spoons and forks. He did not know where he
Towards the end of the same year I learnt at Paris that the wretched
man had taken refuge at Coire, the capital of the Grisons, where he
asked to be made a member of the Calvinistic Church, and to be
recognized as lawful husband of the woman with him; but in a short
time the community discovered that the new convert was no good, and
expelled him from the bosom of the Church of Calvin. Our ne'er-do-
well having no more money, his wife left him, and he, not knowing
what to do next, took the desperate step of going to Bressa, a town
within the Venetian territory, where he sought the governor, telling
him his name, the story of his flight, and his repentance, begging
the governor to take him under his protection and to obtain his
The first effect of the podesta's protection was that the penitent
was imprisoned, and he then wrote to the Tribunal to know what to do
with him. The Tribunal told him to send Father Balbi in chains to
Venice, and on his arrival Messer-Grande gave him over to the
Tribunal, which put him once more under the Leads. He did not find
Count Asquin there, as the Tribunal, out of consideration for his
great age, had moved him to The Fours a couple of months after our
Five or six years later, I heard that the Tribunal, after keeping the
unlucky monk for two years under the Leads, had sent him to his
convent. There, his superior fearing lest his flock should take
contagion from this scabby sheep, sent him to their original
monastery near Feltre, a lonely building on a height. However, Balbi
did not stop there six months. Having got the key of the fields, he
went to Rome, and threw himself at the feet of Pope Rezzonico, who
absolved him of his sins, and released him from his monastic vows.
Balbi, now a secular priest, returned to Venice, where he lived a
dissolute and wretched life. In 1783 he died the death of Diogenes,
minus the wit of the cynic.
At Strassburg I rejoined Madame Riviere and her delightful family,
from whom I received a sincere and hearty welcome. We were staying
at the "Hotel de l'Esprit," and we passed a few days there most
pleasurably, afterwards setting out in an excellent travelling
carriage for Paris the Only, Paris the Universal. During the journey
I thought myself bound to the expense of making it a pleasant one, as
I had not to put my hand in my pocket for other expenses. The charms
of Mdlle. Riviere enchanted me, but I should have esteemed myself
wanting in gratitude and respect to this worthy family if I had
darted at her a single amorous glance, or if I had let her suspect my
feelings for her by a single word. In fact I thought myself obliged
to play the heavy father, though my age did not fit me for the part,
and I lavished on this agreeable family all the care which can be
given in return for pleasant society, a seat in a comfortable
travelling carriage, an excellent table, and a good bed.
We reached Paris on the 5th of January, 1757, and I went to the house
of my friend Baletti, who received me with open arms, and assured me
that though I had not written he had been expecting me, since he
judged that I would strive to put the greatest possible distance
between myself and Venice, and he could think of no other retreat for
me than Paris. The whole house kept holiday when my arrival became
known, and I have never met with more sincere regard than in that
delightful family. I greeted with enthusiasm the father and mother,
whom I found exactly the same as when I had seen them last in 1752,
but I was struck with astonishment at the daughter whom I had left a
child, for she was now a tall and well-shaped girl. Mdlle. Baletti
was fifteen years old, and her mother had brought her up with care,
had given her the best masters, virtue, grace, talents, a good
manner, tact, a knowledge of society-in short, all that a clever
mother can give to a dear daughter.
After finding a pleasant lodging near the Baletti's, I took a coach
and went to the "Hotel de Bourbon" with the intention of calling on
M. de Bernis, who was then chief secretary for foreign affairs. I
had good reasons for relying on his assistance. He was out; he had
gone to Versailles. At Paris one must go sharply to work, and, as it
is vulgarly but forcibly said, "strike while the iron's hot." As I
was impatient to see what kind of a reception I should get from the
liberal-minded lover of my fair M---- M----, I went to the Pont-
Royal, took a hackney coach, and went to Versailles. Again bad luck!
Our coaches crossed each other on the way, and my humble equipage had
not caught his excellency's eye. M. de Bernis had returned to Paris
with Count de Castillana, the ambassador from Naples, and I
determined to return also; but when I got to the gate I saw a mob of
people running here and there in the greatest confusion, and from all
sides I heard the cry, "The king is assassinated! The king is
My frightened coachman only thought of getting on his way, but the
coach was stopped. I was made to get out and taken to the guard-
room, where there were several people already, and in less than three
minutes there were twenty of us, all under arrest, all astonished at
the situation, and all as much guilty as I was. We sat glum and
silent, looking at each other without daring to speak. I knew not
what to think, and not believing in enchantment I began to think I
must be dreaming. Every face expressed surprise, as everyone, though
innocent, was more or less afraid.
We were not left in this disagreeable position for long, as in five
minutes an officer came in, and after some polite apologies told us
we were free.
"The king is wounded," he said, "and he has been taken to his room.
The assassin, whom nobody knows, is under arrest. M. de la
Martiniere is being looked for everywhere."
As soon as I had got back to my coach, and was thinking myself lucky
for being there, a gentlemanly-looking young man came up to me and
besought me to give him a seat in my coach, and he would gladly pay
half the fare; but in spite of the laws of politeness I refused his
request. I may possibly have been wrong. On any other occasion I
should have been most happy to give him a place, but there are times
when prudence does not allow one to be polite. I was about three
hours on the way, and in this short time I was overtaken every minute
by at least two hundred couriers riding at a breakneck pace. Every
minute brought a new courier, and every courier shouted his news to
the winds. The first told me what I already knew; then I heard that
the king had been bled, that the wound was not mortal, and finally,
that the wound was trifling, and that his majesty could go to the
Trianon if he liked.
Fortified with this good news, I went to Silvia's and found the
family at table. I told them I had just come from Versailles.
"The king has been assassinated."
"Not at all; he is able to go to the Trianon, or the Parc-aux-cerfs,
if he likes. M. de la Martiniere has bled him, and found him to be
in no danger. The assassin has been arrested, and the wretched man
will be burnt, drawn with red-hot pincers, and quartered."
This news was soon spread abroad by Silvia's servants, and a crowd of
the neighbours came to hear what I had to say, and I had to repeat
the same thing ten times over. At this period the Parisians fancied
that they loved the king. They certainly acted the part of loyal
subjects to admiration. At the present day they are more
enlightened, and would only love the sovereign whose sole desire is
the happiness of his people, and such a king--the first citizens of a
great nation--not Paris and its suburbs, but all France, will be
eager to love and obey. As for kings like Louis XV., they have
become totally impracticable; but if there are any such, however much
they may be supported by interested parties, in the eyes of public
opinion they will be dishonoured and disgraced before their bodies
are in a grave and their names are written in the book of history.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs M. de Boulogne, the Comptroller--
M. le Duc de Choiseul--M. Paris du Vernai--Establishment of the
Lottery--My Brother's Arrival at Paris; His Reception by the Academy
Once more, then, I was in Paris, which I ought to regard as my
fatherland, since I could return no more to that land which gave me
birth: an unworthy country, yet, in spite of all, ever dear to me,
possibly on account of early impressions and early prejudices, or
possibly because the beauties of Venice are really unmatched in the
world. But mighty Paris is a place of good luck or ill, as one takes
it, and it was my part to catch the favouring gale.
Paris was not wholly new to me, as my readers know I had spent two
years there, but I must confess that, having then no other aim than
to pass the time pleasantly, I had merely devoted myself to pleasure
and enjoyment. Fortune, to whom I had paid no court, had not opened
to me her golden doors; but I now felt that I must treat her more
reverently, and attach myself to the throng of her favoured sons whom
she loads with her gifts. I understood now that the nearer one draws
to the sun the more one feels the warmth of its rays. I saw that to
attain my end I should have to employ all my mental and physical
talents, that I must make friends of the great, and take cue from all
whom I found it to be my interest to please. To follow the plans
suggested by these thoughts, I saw that I must avoid what is called
bad company, that I must give up my old habits and pretensions, which
would be sure to make me enemies, who would have no scruple in
representing me as a trifler, and not fit to be trusted with affairs
of any importance.
I think I thought wisely, and the reader, I hope, will be of the same
opinion. "I will be reserved," said I, "in what I say and what I do,
and thus I shall get a reputation for discretion which will bring its
I was in no anxiety on the score of present needs, as I could reckon
on a monthly allowance of a hundred crowns, which my adopted father,
the good and generous M. de Bragadin, sent me, and I found this sum
sufficient in the meanwhile, for with a little self-restraint one can
live cheaply at Paris, and cut a good figure at the same time. I was
obliged to wear a good suit of clothes, and to have a decent lodging;
for in all large towns the most important thing is outward show, by
which at the beginning one is always judged. My anxiety was only for
the pressing needs of the moment, for to speak the truth I had
neither clothes nor linen--in a word, nothing.
If my relations with the French ambassador are recalled, it will be
found natural that my first idea was to address myself to him, as I
knew him sufficiently well to reckon on his serving me.
Being perfectly certain that the porter would tell me that my lord
was engaged, I took care to have a letter, and in the morning I went
to the Palais Bourbon. The porter took my letter, and I gave him my
address and returned home.
Wherever I went I had to tell the story of my escape from The Leads.
This became a service almost as tiring as the flight itself had been,
as it took me two hours to tell my tale, without the slightest bit of
fancy-work; but I had to be polite to the curious enquirers, and to
pretend that I believed them moved by the most affectionate interest
in my welfare. In general, the best way to please is to take the
benevolence of all with whom one has relation for granted.
I supped at Silvia's, and as the evening was quieter than the night
before, I had time to congratulate myself on all the friendship they
shewed me. The girl was, as I had said, fifteen years old, and I was
in every way charmed with her. I complimented the mother on the good
results of her education, and I did not even think of guarding myself
from falling a victim to her charms. I had taken so lately such
well-founded and philosophical resolutions, and I was not yet
sufficiently at my ease to value the pain of being tempted. I left
at an early hour, impatient to see what kind of an answer the
minister had sent me. I had not long to wait, and I received a short
letter appointing a meeting for two o'clock in the afternoon. It may
be guessed that I was punctual, and my reception by his excellence
was most flattering. M. de Bernis expressed his pleasure at seeing
me after my fortunate escape, and at being able to be of service to
me. He told me that M---- M---- had informed him of my escape, and
he had flattered himself that the first person I should go and see in
Paris would be himself. He shewed me the letters from M---- M----
relating to my arrest and escape, but all the details in the latter
were purely imaginary and had no foundation in fact. M---- M---- was
not to blame, as she could only write what she had heard, and it was
not easy for anyone besides myself to know the real circumstances of
my escape. The charming nun said that, no longer buoyed up by the
hope of seeing either of the men who alone had made her in love with
life, her existence had become a burden to her, and she was
unfortunate in not being able to take any comfort in religion. "C---
C---- often comes to see me," she said, "but I grieve to say she is
not happy with her husband."
I told M. de Bernis that the account of my flight from The Leads, as
told by our friend, was wholly inaccurate, and I would therefore take
the liberty of writing out the whole story with the minutest details.
He challenged me to keep my word, assuring me that he would send a
copy to M---- M----, and at the same time, with the utmost courtesy,
he put a packet of a hundred Louis in my hand, telling me that he
would think what he could do for me, and would advise me as soon as
he had any communication to make.
Thus furnished with ample funds, my first care was for my dress; and
this done I went to work, and in a week sent my generous protector
the result, giving him permission to have as many copies printed as
he liked, and to make any use he pleased of it to interest in my
behalf such persons as might be of service to me.
Three weeks after, the minister summoned me to say that he had spoken
of me to M. Erizzo, the Venetian ambassador, who had nothing to say
against me, but for fear of embroiling himself with the State
Inquisitors declined to receive me. Not wanting anything from him--
his refusal did me no harm. M. de Bernis then told me that he had
given a copy of my history to Madame la Marquise de Pompadour, and he
promised to take the first opportunity of presenting me to this all-
powerful lady. "You can present yourself, my dear Casanova," added
his excellence, "to the Duc de Choiseul, and M. de Boulogne, the
comptroller. You will be well received, and with a little wit you
ought to be able to make good use of the letter. He himself will
give you the cue, and you will see that he who listens obtains. Try
to invent some useful plan for the royal exchequer; don't let it be
complicated or chimerical, and if you don't write it out at too great
length I will give you my opinion on it."
I left the minister in a pleased and grateful mood, but extremely
puzzled to find a way of increasing the royal revenue. I knew
nothing of finance, and after racking my brains all that I could
think of was new methods of taxation; but all my plans were either
absurd or certain to be unpopular, and I rejected them all on
As soon as I found out that M. de Choiseul was in Paris I called on
him. He received me in his dressing-room, where he was writing while
his valet did his hair. He stretched his politeness so far as to
interrupt himself several times to ask me questions, but as soon as I
began to reply his grace began to write again, and I suspect did not
hear what I was saying; and though now and again he seemed to be
looking at me, it was plain that his eyes and his thoughts were
occupied on different objects. In spite of this way of receiving
visitors--or me, at all events, M. de Choiseul was a man of wit.
When he had finished writing he said in Italian that M. de Bernis had
told him of some circumstances of my escape, and he added,
"Tell me how you succeeded."
"My lord, it would be too long a story; it would take me at least two
hours, and your grace seems busy."
"Tell me briefly about it."
"However much I speak to the point, I shall take two hours."
"You can keep the details for another time."
"The story is devoid of interest without the details"
"Well, well, you can tell me the whole story in brief, without losing
much of the interest:"
"Very good; after that I can say no more. I must tell your lordship,
then, that, the State Inquisitors shut me up under the Leads; that
after fifteen months and five days of imprisonment I succeeded in
piercing the roof; that after many difficulties I reached the
chancery by a window, and broke open the door; afterwards I got to
St. Mark's Place, whence, taking a gondola which bore me to the
mainland, I arrived at Paris, and have had the honour to pay my duty
to your lordship."
"But.... what are The Leads?"
"My lord, I should take a quarter of an hour, at least, to explain."
"How did you pierce the roof?"
"I could not tell your lordship in less than half an hour:"
"Why were you shut up?"
"It would be a long tale, my lord."
"I think you are right. The interest of the story lies chiefly in
"I took the liberty of saying as much to your grace."
"Well, I must go to Versailles, but I shall be delighted if you will
come and see me sometimes. In the meanwhile, M. Casanova, think what
I can do for you."
I had been almost offended at the way in which M. de Choiseul had
received me, and I was inclined to resent it; but the end of our
conversation, and above all the kindly tone of his last words,
quieted me, and I left him, if not satisfied, at least without
bitterness in my heart.
From him I went to M. de Boulogne's, and found him a man of quite a
different stamp to the duke--in manners, dress, and appearance. He
received me with great politeness, and began by complimenting me on
the high place I enjoyed in the opinion of M. de Bernis, and on my
skill in matters of finance.
I felt that no compliment had been so ill deserved, and I could
hardly help bursting into laughter. My good angel, however, made me
keep my countenance.
M. de Boulogne had an old man with him, every feature bore the
imprint of genius, and who inspired me with respect.
"Give me your views;" said the comptroller, "either on paper or 'viva
voce'. You will find me willing to learn and ready to grasp your
ideas. Here is M. Paris du Vernai, who wants twenty millions for his
military school; and he wishes to get this sum without a charge on
the state or emptying the treasury."
"It is God alone, sir, who has the creative power."
"I am not a god," said M. du Vernai, "but for all that I have now and
then created but the times have changed."
"Everything," I said, "is more difficult than it used to be; but in
spite of difficulties I have a plan which would give the king the
interest of a hundred millions."
"What expense would there be to the Crown?"
"Merely the cost of receiving."
"The nation, then, would furnish the sum in question?"
"Undoubtedly, but voluntarily."
"I know what you are thinking of."
"You astonish me, sir, as I have told nobody of my plan."
"If you have no other engagement, do me the honour of dining with me
to-morrow, and I will tell you what your project is. It is a good
one, but surrounded, I believe, with insuperable difficulties.
Nevertheless, we will talk it over and see what can be done. Will
"I will do myself that honour."
"Very good, I will expect you at Plaisance."
After he had gone, M. de Boulogne praised his talents and honesty.
He was the brother of M. de Montmartel, whom secret history makes the
father of Madame de Pompadour, for he was the lover of Madame Poisson
at the same time as M. le Normand.
I left the comptroller's and went to walk in the Tuileries, thinking
over the strange stroke of luck which had happened to me. I had been
told that twenty millions were wanted, and I had boasted of being
able to get a hundred, without the slightest idea of how it was to be
done; and on that a well-known man experienced in the public business
had asked me to dinner to convince me that he knew what my scheme
was. There was something odd and comic about the whole affair; but
that corresponded very well with my modes of thought and action. "If
he thinks he is going to pump me," said I, "he will find himself
mistaken. When he tells me what the plan is, it will rest with me to
say he has guessed it or he is wrong as the inspiration of the moment
suggests. If the question lies within my comprehension I may,
perhaps, be able to suggest something new; and if I understand
nothing I will wrap myself up in a mysterious silence, which
sometimes produces a good effect. At all events, I will not repulse
Fortune when she appears to be favourable to me."
M. de Bernis had only told M. de Boulogne that I was a financier to
get me a hearing, as otherwise he might have declined to see me. I
was sorry not to be master, at least, of the jargon of the business,
as in that way men have got out of a similar difficulty, and by
knowing the technical terms, and nothing more, have made their mark.
No matter, I was bound to the engagement. I must put a good face on
a bad game, and if necessary pay with the currency of assurance. The
next morning I took a carriage, and in a pensive mood I told the
coachman to take me to M. du Vernai's, at Plaisance--a place a little
I was set down at the door of the famous man who, forty years ago,
had rescued France on the brink of the precipice down which Law had
almost precipitated her. I went in and saw a great fire burning on
the hearth, which was surrounded by seven or eight persons, to whom I
was introduced as a friend of the minister for foreign affairs and of
the comptroller; afterwards he introduced these gentlemen to me,
giving to each his proper title, and I noted that four of them were
treasury officials. After making my bow to each, I gave myself over
to the worship of Harpocrates, and without too great an air of
listening was all ears and eyes.
The conversation at first was of no special interest as they were
talking of the Seine being frozen over, the ice being a foot thick.
Then came the recent death of M. de Fontenelle, then the case of
Damien, who would confess nothing, and of the five millions his trial
would cost the Crown. Then coming to war they praised M. de Soubise,
who had been chosen by the king to command the army. Hence the
transition was easy to the expenses of the war, and how they were to
I listened and was weary, for all they said was so full of
technicalities that I could not follow the meaning; and if silence
can ever be imposing, my determined silence of an hour and a half's
duration ought to have made me seem a very important personage in the
eyes of these gentlemen. At last, just as I was beginning to yawn,
dinner was announced, and I was another hour and a half without
opening my mouth, except to do honour to an excellent repast.
Directly the dessert had been served, M. du Vernai asked me to follow
him into a neighbouring apartment, and to leave the other guests at
the table. I followed him, and we crossed a hall where we found a
man of good aspect, about fifty years old, who followed us into a
closet and was introduced to me by M. du Vernai under the name of
Calsabigi. Directly after, two superintendents of the treasury came
in, and M. du Vernai smilingly gave me a folio book, saying,
"That, I think, M. Casanova, is your plan."
I took the book and read, Lottery consisting of ninety tickets, to be
drawn every month, only one in eighteen to be a winning number. I
gave him back the book and said, with the utmost calmness,
"I confess, sir, that is exactly my idea."
"You have been anticipated, then; the project is by M. de Calsabigi
"I am delighted, not at being anticipated, but to find that we think
alike; but may I ask you why you have not carried out the plan?"
"Several very plausible reasons have been given against it, which
have had no decisive answers."
"I can only conceive one reason against it," said I, coolly; "perhaps
the king would not allow his subjects to gamble."
"Never mind that, the king will let his subjects gamble as much as
they like: the question is, will they gamble?"
"I wonder how anyone can have any doubt on that score, as the winners
are certain of being paid."
"Let us grant, then, that they will gamble: how is the money to be
"How is the money to be found? The simplest thing in the world. All
you want is a decree in council authorizing you to draw on the
treasury. All I want is for the nation to believe that the king can
afford to pay a hundred millions."
"A hundred millions!"
"Yes, a hundred millions, sir. We must dazzle people."
"But if France is to believe that the Crown can afford to pay a
hundred millions, it must believe that the Crown can afford to lose a
hundred millions, and who is going to believe that? Do you?"
"To be sure I do, for the Crown, before it could lose a hundred
millions, would have received at least a hundred and fifty millions,
and so there need be no anxiety on that score."
"I am not the only person who has doubts on the subject. You must
grant the possibility of the Crown losing an enormous sum at the
"Certainly, sir, but between possibility and reality is all the
region of the infinite. Indeed, I may say that it would be a great
piece of good fortune if the Crown were to lose largely on the first
"A piece of bad fortune, you mean, surely?"
"A bad fortune to be desired. You know that all the insurance
companies are rich. I will undertake to prove before all the
mathematicians in Europe that the king is bound to gain one in five
in this lottery. That is the secret. You will confess that the
reason ought to yield to a mathematical proof?"
"Yes, of course; but how is it that the Castelletto cannot guarantee
the Crown a certain gain?"
"Neither the Castelletto nor anybody in the world can guarantee
absolutely that the king shall always win. What guarantees us
against any suspicion of sharp practice is the drawing once a month,
as then the public is sure that the holder of the lottery may lose."
"Will you be good enough to express your sentiments on the subject
before the council?"
"I will do so with much pleasure."
"You will answer all objections?"
"I think I can promise as much."
"Will you give me your plan?"
"Not before it is accepted, and I am guaranteed a reasonable profit."
"But your plan may possibly be the same as the one before us."
"I think not. I see M. de Calsabigi for the first time, and as he
has not shewn me his scheme, and I have not communicated mine to him,
it is improbable, not to say impossible, that we should agree in all
respects. Besides, in my plan I clearly shew how much profit the
Crown ought to get per annum."
"It might, therefore, be formed by a company who would pay the Crown
a fixed sum?"
"I think not."
"For this reason. The only thing which would make the lottery pay,
would be an irresistible current of public opinion in its favour.
I should not care to have anything to do with it in the service of a
company, who, thinking to increase their profits, might extend their
operations--a course which would entail certain loss."
"I don't see how."
"In a thousand ways which I will explain to you another time, and
which I am sure you can guess for yourself. In short, if I am to
have any voice in the matter, it must be a Government lottery or
"M. de Calsabigi thinks so, too."
"I am delighted to hear it, but not at all surprised; for, thinking
on the same lines, we are bound to arrive at the same results."
"Have you anybody ready for the Castelletto?"
"I shall only want intelligent machines, of whom there are plenty in
I went out for a moment and found them in groups on my return,
discussing my project with great earnestness.
M. Calsabigi after asking me a few questions took my hand, which he
shook heartily, saying he should like to have some further
conversation with me; and returning the friendly pressure, I told him
that I should esteem it as an honour to be numbered amongst his
friends. Thereupon I left my address with M. du Vernai and took my
leave, satisfied, by my inspection of the faces before me, that they
all had a high opinion of my talents.
Three days after, M. de Calsabigi called on me; and after receiving
him in my best style I said that if I had not called on him it was
only because I did not wish to be troublesome. He told me that my
decisive way of speaking had made a great impression, and he was
certain that if I cared to make interest with the comptroller we
could set up the lottery and make a large profit.
"I think so, too," said I, "but the financiers will make a much
larger profit, and yet they do not seem anxious about it. They have
not communicated with me, but it is their look-out, as I shall not
make it my chief aim."
"You will undoubtedly hear something about it today, for I know for a
fact that M. de Boulogne has spoken of you to M. de Courteuil."
"Very good, but I assure you I did not ask him to do so."
After some further conversation he asked me, in the most friendly
manner possible, to come and dine with him, and I accepted his
invitation with a great pleasure; and just as we were starting I
received a note from M. de Bernis, in which he said that if I could
come to Versailles the next day he would present me to Madame de
Pompadour, and that I should have an opportunity of seeing M. de
In high glee at this happy chance, less from vanity than policy I
made M. de Calsabigi read the letter, and I was pleased to see him
opening his eyes as he read it.
"You can force Du Vernai himself to accept the lottery," he said,
"and your fortune is made if you are not too rich already to care
about such matters."
"Nobody is ever rich enough to despise good fortune, especially when
it is not due to favour."
"Very true. We have been doing our utmost for two years to get the
plan accepted, and have met with nothing beyond foolish objections
which you have crushed to pieces. Nevertheless, our plans must be
very similar. Believe me it will be best for us to work in concert,
for by yourself you would find insuperable difficulties in the
working, and you will find no 'intelligent machines' in Paris. My
brother will do all the work, and you will be able to reap the
advantages at your ease."
"Are you, then, not the inventor of the scheme which has been shewn
"No, it is the work of my brother."
"Shall I have the pleasure or seeing him?"
"Certainly. His body is feeble, but his mind is in all its vigour.
We shall see him directly."
The brother was not a man of a very pleasing appearance, as he was
covered with a kind of leprosy; but that did not prevent him having a
good appetite, writing, and enjoying all his bodily and intellectual
faculties; he talked well and amusingly. He never went into society,
as, besides his personal disfigurement, he was tormented with an
irresistible and frequent desire of scratching himself, now in one
place, and now in another; and as all scratching is accounted an
abominable thing in Paris, he preferred to be able to use his
fingernails to the pleasures of society. He was pleased to say that,
believing in God and His works, he was persuaded his nails had been
given him to procure the only solace he was capable of in the kind of
fury with which he was tormented.
"You are a believer, then, in final causes? I think you are right,
but still I believe you would have scratched yourself if God had
forgotten to give you any nails."
My remarks made him laugh, and he then began to speak of our common
business, and I soon found him to be a man of intellect. He was the
elder of the two brothers, and a bachelor. He was expert in all
kinds of calculations, an accomplished financier, with a universal
knowledge of commerce, a good historian, a wit, a poet, and a man of
gallantry. His birthplace was Leghorn, he had been in a Government
office at Naples, and had come to Paris with M. de l'Hopital. His
brother was also a man of learning and talent, but in every respect
He shewed me the pile of papers, on which he had worked out all the
problems referring to the lottery.
"If you think you can do without me," said he, "I must compliment you
on your abilities; but I think you will find yourself mistaken, for
if you have no practical knowledge of the matter and no business men
to help you, your theories will not carry you far. What will you do
after you have obtained the decree? When you speak before the
council, if you take my advice, you will fix a date after which you
are not to be held responsible--that is to say, after which you will
have nothing more to do with it. Unless you do so, you will be
certain to encounter trifling and procrastination which will defer
your plan to the Greek Kalends. On the other hand, I can assure you
that M. du Vernai would be very glad to see us join hands:"
Very much inclined to take these gentlemen into partnership, for the
good reason that I could not do without them, but taking care that
they should suspect nothing, I went down with the younger brother,
who introduced me to his wife before dinner. I found present an old
lady well known at Paris under the name of General La Mothe, famous
for her former beauty and her gout, another lady somewhat advanced in
years, who was called Baroness Blanche, and was still the mistress of
M. de Vaux, another styled the President's lady, and a fourth, fair
as the dawn, Madame Razzetti, from Piedmont, the wife of one of the
violin players at the opera, and said to be courted by M. de
Fondpertuis, the superintendent of the opera.
We sat down to dinner, but I was silent and absorbed, all my thoughts
being monopolized by the lottery. In the evening, at Silvia's, I was
pronounced absent and pensive, and so I was in spite of the sentiment
with which Mademoiselle Baletti inspired me--a sentiment which every
day grew in strength.
I set out for Versailles next morning two hours before day-break, and
was welcomed by M. de Bernis, who said he would bet that but for him
I should never have discovered my talent for finance.
"M. de Boulogne tells me you astonished M. du Vernai, who is
generally esteemed one of the acutest men in France. If you will
take my advice, Casanova, you will keep up that acquaintance and pay
him assiduous court. I may tell you that the lottery is certain to
be established, that it will be your doing, and that you ought to
make something considerable out of it. As soon as the king goes out
to hunt, be at hand in the private apartments, and I will seize a
favourable moment for introducing you to the famous marquise.
Afterwards go to the Office for Foreign Affairs, and introduce
yourself in my name to the Abbe de la Ville. He is the chief
official there, and will give you a good reception."
M. de Boulogne told me that, as soon as the council of the military
school had given their consent, he would have the decree for the
establishment of the lottery published, and he urged me to
communicate to him any ideas which I might have on the subject of
At noon Madame de Pompadour passed through the private apartments
with the Prince de Soubise, and my patron hastened to point me out to
the illustrious lady. She made me a graceful curtsy, and told me
that she had been much interested in the subject of my flight.
"Do you go," said she, "to see your ambassador?"
"I shew my respect to him, madam, by keeping away."
"I hope you mean to settle in France."
"It would be my dearest wish to do so, madam, but I stand in need of
patronage, and I know that in France patronage is only given to men
of talent, which is for me a discouraging circumstance."
"On the contrary, I think you have reason to be hopeful, as you have
some good friends. I myself shall be delighted if I can be of any
assistance to you."
As the fair marquise moved on, I could only stammer forth my
I next went to the Abbe de la Ville, who received me with the utmost
courtesy, and told me that he would remember me at the earliest
Versailles was a beautiful spot, but I had only compliments and not
invitations to expect there, so after leaving M. de la Ville I went
to an inn to get some dinner. As I was sitting down, an abbe of
excellent appearance, just like dozens of other French abbes,
accosted me politely, and asked me if I objected to our dining
together. I always thought the company of a pleasant man a thing to
be desired, so I granted his request; and as soon as he sat down he
complimented me on the distinguished manner in which I had been
treated by M. de la Ville. "I was there writing a letter," said he,
"and I could hear all the obliging things the abbe said to you. May
I ask, sir, how you obtained access to him?"
"If you really wish to know, I may be able to tell you."
"It is pure curiosity on my part."
"Well, then, I will say nothing, from pure prudence."
"I beg your pardon."
"Certainly, with pleasure."
Having thus shut the mouth of the curious impertinent, he confined
his conversation to ordinary and more agreeable topics. After
dinner, having no further business at Versailles, I made preparations
for leaving, on which the abbe begged to be of my company. Although
a man who frequents the society of abbes is not thought much more of
than one who frequents the society of girls. I told him that as I
was going to Paris in a public conveyance--far from its being a
question of permission--I should be only too happy to have the
pleasure of his company. On reaching Paris we parted, after
promising to call on each other, and I went to Silvia's and took
supper there. The agreeable mistress of the house complimented me on
my noble acquaintances, and made me promise to cultivate their
As soon as I got back to my own lodging, I found a note from M. du
Vernai, who requested me to come to the military school at eleven
o'clock on the next day, and later in the evening Calsabigi came to
me from his brother, with a large sheet of paper containing all the
calculations pertaining to the lottery.
Fortune seemed to be in my favour, for this tabular statement came to
me like a blessing from on high. Resolving, therefore, to follow the
instructions which I pretended to receive indifferently. I went to
the military school, and as soon as I arrived the conference began.
M. d'Alembert had been requested to be present as an expert in
arithmetical calculations. If M. du Vernai had been the only person
to be consulted, this step would not have been necessary; but the
council contained some obstinate heads who were unwilling to give in.
The conference lasted three hours.
After my speech, which only lasted half an hour, M. de Courteuil
summed up my arguments, and an hour was passed in stating objections
which I refuted with the greatest ease. I finally told them that no
man of honour and learning would volunteer to conduct the lottery on
the understanding that it was to win every time, and that if anyone
had the impudence to give such an undertaking they should turn him
out of the room forthwith, for it was impossible that such an
agreement could be maintained except by some roguery.
This had its effect, for nobody replied; and M. du Vernai remarked
that if the worst came to the worst the lottery could be suppressed.
At this I knew my business was done, and all present, after signing a
document which M. du Vernai gave them, took their leave, and I myself
left directly afterwards with a friendly leave-taking from M. du
M. Calsabigi came to see me the next day, bringing the agreeable news
that the affair was settled, and that all that was wanting was the
publication of the decree.
"I am delighted to hear it," I said, "and I will go to M. de
Boulogne's every day, and get you appointed chief administrator as
soon as I know what I have got for myself."
I took care not to leave a stone unturned in this direction, as I
knew that, with the great, promising and keeping a promise are two
different things. The decree appeared a week after. Calsabigi was
made superintendent, with an allowance of three thousand francs for
every drawing, a yearly pension of four thousand francs for us both,
and the chief of the lottery. His share was a much larger one than
mine, but I was not jealous as I knew he had a greater claim than I.
I sold five of the six offices that had been allotted to me for two
thousand francs each, and opened the sixth with great style in the
Rue St. Denis, putting my valet there as a clerk. He was a bright
young Italian, who had been valet to the Prince de la Catolica, the
ambassador from Naples.
The day for the first drawing was fixed, and notice was given that
the winning numbers would be paid in a week from the time of drawing
at the chief office.
With the idea of drawing custom to my office, I gave notice that all
winning tickets bearing my signature would be paid at my office in
twenty-four hours after the drawing. This drew crowds to my office
and considerably increased my profits, as I had six per cent. on the
receipts. A number of the clerks in the other offices were foolish
enough to complain to Calsabigi that I had spoilt their gains, but he
sent them about their business telling them that to get the better of
me they had only to do as I did--if they had the money.
My first taking amounted to forty thousand francs. An hour after the
drawing my clerk brought me the numbers, and shewed me that we had
from seventeen to eighteen thousand francs to pay, for which I gave
him the necessary funds.
Without my thinking of it I thus made the fortune of my clerk, for
every winner gave him something, and all this I let him keep for
The total receipts amounted to two millions, and the administration
made a profit of six hundred thousand francs, of which Paris alone
had contributed a hundred thousand francs. This was well enough for
a first attempt.
On the day after the drawing I dined with Calsabigi at M. du
Vernai's, and I had the pleasure of hearing him complain that he had
made too much money. Paris had eighteen or twenty ternes, and
although they were small they increased the reputation of the
lottery, and it was easy to see that the receipts at the next drawing
would be doubled. The mock assaults that were made upon me put me in
a good humour, and Calsabigi said that my idea had insured me an
income of a hundred thousand francs a year, though it would ruin the
"I have played similar strokes myself," said M. du Vernai, "and have
mostly succeeded; and as for the other receivers they are at perfect
liberty to follow M. Casanova's example, and it all tends to increase
the repute of an institution which we owe to him and to you."
At the second drawing a terne of forty thousand francs obliged me to
borrow money. My receipts amounted to sixty thousand, but being
obliged to deliver over my chest on the evening before the drawing, I
had to pay out of my own funds, and was not repaid for a week.
In all the great houses I went to, and at the theatres, as soon as I
was seen, everybody gave me money, asking me to lay it out as I liked
and to send them the tickets, as, so far, the lottery was strange to
most people. I thus got into the way of carrying about me tickets of
all sorts, or rather of all prices, which I gave to people to choose
from, going home in the evening with my pockets full of gold. This
was an immense advantage to me, as kind of privilege which I enjoyed
to the exclusion of the other receivers who were not in society, and
did not drive a carriage like myself--no small point in one's favour,
in a large town where men are judged by the state they keep. I found
I was thus able to go into any society, and to get credit everywhere.
I had hardly been a month in Paris when my brother Francis, with whom
I had parted in 1752, arrived from Dresden with Madame Sylvestre.
He had been at Dresden for four years, taken up with the pursuit of
his art, having copied all the battle pieces in the Elector's Galley.
We were both of us glad to meet once more, but on my offering to see
what my great friends could do for him with the Academicians, he
replied with all an artist's pride that he was much obliged to me,
but would rather not have any other patrons than his talents. "The
French," said he, "have rejected me once, and I am far from bearing
them ill-will on that account, for I would reject myself now if I
were what I was then; but with their love of genius I reckon on a
better reception this time."
His confidence pleased me, and I complimented him upon it, for I have
always been of the opinion that true merit begins by doing justice to
Francis painted a fine picture, which on being exhibited at the
Louvre, was received with applause. The Academy bought the picture
for twelve thousand francs, my brother became famous, and in twenty-
six years he made almost a million of money; but in spite of that,
foolish expenditure, his luxurious style of living, and two bad
marriages, were the ruin of him.