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Main Inde
THE MEMOIRS
OF
JACQUES CASANOVA SEINGALT
1725-1798
THE VENETIAN YEARS
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THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED B
ARTHUR MACHEN TO WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS
DISCOVERED B ARTHUR SMONS.
[Transcriber's Note: These memoires were not written for children, the
ma outrage readers also offended b Chaucer, La Fontaine, Rabelais
and The Old Testament. D.W.]
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Conen
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CASANOVA AT DU
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
AUTHOR'S PREFACE
THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES
CASANOVA
VENETIAN YEARS
EPISODE 1 CHILDHOOD
CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
EPISODE 2 CLERIC IN NAPLES
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER I
CHAPTER
CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
EPISODE 3 MILITARY CAREER
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
EPISODE 4 RETURN TO VENICE
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER I
EPISODE 5 MILAN AND MANTUA
CHAPTER
CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
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List of Illustrations
Bookcover
1
Titlepage
1
Chapter
4
Chapter
5
Chapter
8
Chapter
9
Chapter
14
Chapter
14b
Chapter
17
Chapter
18
CASANOVA AT DUX
An Unpublished Chapter of Histor, B Arthur Smons
I
The Memoirs oI Casanova, though they have enjoyed the popularity oI a bad reputation, have never had
justice done to them by serious students oI literature, oI liIe, and oI history. One English writer, indeed, Mr.
Havelock Ellis, has realised that 'there are Iew more delightIul books in the world,' and he has analysed them in
an essay on Casanova, published in AIIirmations, with extreme care and remarkable subtlety. But this essay
stands alone, at all events in English, as an attempt to take Casanova seriously, to show him in his relation to his
time, and in his relation to human problems. And yet these Memoirs are perhaps the most valuable document
which we possess on the society oI the eighteenth century; they are the history oI a unique liIe, a unique
personality, one oI the greatest oI autobiographies; as a record oI adventures, they are more entertaining than Gil
Blas, or Monte Cristo, or any oI the imaginary travels, and escapes, and masquerades in liIe, which have been
written in imitation oI them. They tell the story oI a man who loved liIe passionately Ior its own sake: one to
whom woman was, indeed, the most important thing in the world, but to whom nothing in the world was
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indiIIerent. The bust which gives us the most lively notion oI him shows us a great, vivid, intellectual Iace, Iull oI
Iiery energy and calm resource, the Iace oI a thinker and a Iighter in one. A scholar, an adventurer, perhaps a
Cabalist, a busy stirrer in politics, a gamester, one 'born Ior the Iairer sex,' as he tells us, and born also to be a
vagabond; this man, who is remembered now Ior his written account oI his own liIe, was that rarest kind oI
autobiographer, one who did not live to write, but wrote because he had lived, and when he could live no longer.
And his Memoirs take one all over Europe, giving sidelights, all the more valuable in being almost accidental,
upon many oI the aIIairs and people most interesting to us during two-thirds oI the eighteenth century. Giacomo
Casanova was born in Venice, oI Spanish and Italian parentage, on April 2, 1725; he died at the Chateau oI
Dux, in Bohemia, on June 4, 1798. In that liIetime oI seventy-three years he travelled, as his Memoirs show us, in
Italy, France, Germany, Austria, England, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Spain, Holland, Turkey; he met
Voltaire at Ferney, Rousseau at Montmorency, Fontenelle, d'Alembert and Crebillon at Paris, George III. in
London, Louis XV. at Fontainebleau, Catherine the Great at St. Petersburg, Benedict XII. at Rome, Joseph II.
at Vienna, Frederick the Great at Sans-Souci. Imprisoned by the Inquisitors oI State in the Piombi at Venice, he
made, in 1755, the most Iamous escape in history. His Memoirs, as we have them, break oII abruptly at the
moment when he is expecting a saIe conduct, and the permission to return to Venice aIter twenty years'
wanderings. He did return, as we know Irom documents in the Venetian archives; he returned as secret agent oI
the Inquisitors, and remained in their service Irom 1774 until 1782. At the end oI 1782 he leIt Venice; and next
year we Iind him in Paris, where, in 1784, he met Count Waldstein at the Venetian Ambassador's, and was
invited by him to become his librarian at Dux. He accepted, and Ior the Iourteen remaining years oI his liIe lived
at Dux, where he wrote his Memoirs.
Casanova died in 1798, but nothing was heard oI the Memoirs (which the Prince de Ligne, in his own
Memoirs, tells us that Casanova had read to him, and in which he Iound 'du dyamatique, de la rapidite, du
comique, de la philosophie, des choses neuves, sublimes, inimitables meme') until the year 1820, when a certain
Carlo Angiolini brought to the publishing house oI Brockhaus, in Leipzig, a manuscript entitled Histoire de ma vie
jusqu a l'an 1797, in the handwriting oI Casanova. This manuscript, which I have examined at Leipzig, is written
on Ioolscap paper, rather rough and yellow; it is written on both sides oI the page, and in sheets or quires; here
and there the paging shows that some pages have been omitted, and in their place are smaller sheets oI thinner
and whiter paper, all in Casanova's handsome, unmistakable handwriting. The manuscript is done up in twelve
bundles, corresponding with the twelve volumes oI the original edition; and only in one place is there a gap. The
Iourth and IiIth chapters oI the twelIth volume are missing, as the editor oI the original edition points out, adding:
'It is not probable that these two chapters have been withdrawn Irom the manuscript oI Casanova by a strange
hand; everything leads us to believe that the author himselI suppressed them, in the intention, no doubt, oI re-
writing them, but without having Iound time to do so.' The manuscript ends abruptly with the year 1774, and not
with the year 1797, as the title would lead us to suppose.
This manuscript, in its original state, has never been printed. Herr Brockhaus, on obtaining possession oI the
manuscript, had it translated into German by Wilhelm Schutz, but with many omissions and alterations, and
published this translation, volume by volume, Irom 1822 to 1828, under the title, 'Aus den Memoiren des
Venetianers Jacob Casanova de Seingalt.' While the German edition was in course oI publication, Herr
Brockhaus employed a certain Jean LaIorgue, a proIessor oI the French language at Dresden, to revise the
original manuscript, correcting Casanova's vigorous, but at times incorrect, and oIten somewhat Italian, French
according to his own notions oI elegant writing, suppressing passages which seemed too Iree-spoken Irom the
point oI view oI morals and oI politics, and altering the names oI some oI the persons reIerred to, or replacing
those names by initials. This revised text was published in twelve volumes, the Iirst two in 1826, the third and
Iourth in 1828, the IiIth to the eighth in 1832, and the ninth to the twelIth in 1837; the Iirst Iour bearing the imprint
oI Brockhaus at Leipzig and Ponthieu et Cie at Paris; the next Iour the imprint oI HeideloII et Campe at Paris;
and the last Iour nothing but 'A Bruxelles.' The volumes are all uniIorm, and were all really printed Ior the Iirm oI
Brockhaus. This, however Iar Irom representing the real text, is the only authoritative edition, and my reIerences
throughout this article will always be to this edition.
In turning over the manuscript at Leipzig, I read some oI the suppressed passages, and regretted their
suppression; but Herr Brockhaus, the present head oI the Iirm, assured me that they are not really very
considerable in number. The damage, however, to the vivacity oI the whole narrative, by the persistent alterations
oI M. LaIorgue, is incalculable. I compared many passages, and Iound scarcely three consecutive sentences
untouched. Herr Brockhaus (whose courtesy I cannot suIIiciently acknowledge) was kind enough to have a
passage copied out Ior me, which I aIterwards read over, and checked word by word. In this passage Casanova
says, Ior instance: 'Elle venoit presque tous les jours lui Iaire une belle visite.' This is altered into: 'Cependant
chaque jour Therese venait lui Iaire une visite.' Casanova says that some one 'avoit, comme de raison, Iorme le
projet d'allier Dieu avec le diable.' This is made to read: 'Qui, comme de raison, avait saintement Iorme le projet
d'allier les interets du ciel aux oeuvres de ce monde.' Casanova tells us that Therese would not commit a mortal
sin 'pour devenir reine du monde;' pour une couronne,' corrects the indeIatigable LaIorgue. 'Il ne savoit que lui
dire' becomes 'Dans cet etat de perplexite;' and so Iorth. It must, thereIore, be realized that the Memoirs, as we
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hae he, ae a id f ae acig f he iid c f he igia.
Whe Caaa' Mei ee fi bihed, db ee eeed a hei aheici, fi b Ug
Fc (i he Weie Reie, 1827), he b Qead, ed be a ahi i egad
a ad ed iig, fia b Pa Laci, 'e bibihie Jacb', h ggeed, ahe
eeed hi 'ceai,' ha he ea ah f he Mei a Sedha, he 'id, chaace, idea ad
e' he eeed ecgie ee age. Thi he, a fih ad a ed a he Bacia he
f Shaeeae, ha bee caee acceed, a a ee acceed a ibe, b a gd cha h
hae ee ae he be i he ae f heee. I a fia died b a eie f aice
f Aad Bache, eied 'Pee ciee de 'aheicie de Meie de Jace Caaa de
Seiga,' i 'Le Lie,' Jaa, Feba, Ai ad Ma, 1881; ad hee f ee fhe cbaed b
aice f Aead d'Aca, eied 'U Aeiee de Sec XVIII., i he 'N Agia,'
Feba 1 ad Ag 1, 1882. Bache had ee hief ee he aci f he Mei, b he had
ea a he fac ab i f Me. Bcha, ad he had hief eaied he e ae eaig
Caaa i he Veeia achie. A iia eaiai a ade a he Fai a ab he ae ie b he
Abbe Fi; ad I ef, i 1894, ig a he ie ha he dice had bee aead ade, ade i
e agai f ef. Thee he ae f Caaa, hi iie i he Pibi, he eac dae f hi ecae,
he ae f he h accaied hi, ae a aheicaed b dce caied i he 'ifee' f he
Iiii f Sae; hee ae he bi f he eai f he f ad a f he ce f hich he ecaed;
hee ae he e f he ie he ifai he a aeed, f hi dage fee-ee i
ae f eigi ad ai. The ae achie cai f-eigh ee f Caaa he Iii f
Sae, daig f 1763 1782, ag he Rifee dei Cfidei, e f ece age; he eaie aig
eii e Veice, he e giig ifai i egad he iaiie f he ci, afe hi e
hee; a i he ae hadiig a he Mei. Fhe f cd cace be eeded, b Bache ha de
e ha e he aheici, he ha ed he eadia eaci, f he Mei. F. W. Bahd, i
'Die Gechichiche Peicheie i J. Caaa' Meie,' 2 ., 1846, had aead eaied ab a
hded f Caaa' ai e ee, hig he efec eacide f a b i ee, ad
f hee i ee ieacide acibig a ige e he ah' iei. Bache ad d'Aca
bh ca ha Bahd had beg; he ieiga, i Face, Ia ad Gea, hae fed he;
ad hig ae ceai, fi, ha Caaa hief e he Mei bihed de hi ae, hgh
ea i he ecie f i hich e hae he; ad, ecd, ha a hei eaci bece e ad
e eide a he ae cfed ih e ad e ideede iee, i i fai e ha
he ae ea hf hee he fac ae ch a cd hae bee Caaa hief.
II
F e ha -hid f a ce i ha bee ha Caaa e he a fee ea f hi ife
a D, ha he e hi Mei hee, ad ha he died hee. Dig a hi ie ee hae bee dicig
he aheici ad he hfe f he Mei, he hae bee eachig f ifai ab Caaa i
ai dieci, ad e had a e ha ee ae he be, baied he eii, ae a
caef eaiai i ecie he e ace hee ifai a ie be fd. The e eiece
f he aci a D a a fe, ad f hee heaa; ad h he iga
gd fe a eeed f e, ii C Wadei i Seebe 1899, be he fi dice
he ieeig hig caied i hee aci. M. Ocae Uae, hgh he had hief iied
D, had ideed ced cie f e f he aci, a fe f hich ee bihed b hi i Le Lie,
i 1887 ad 1889. B ih he deah f Le Lie i 1889 he 'Caaa iedi' cae a ed, ad ha ee,
fa a I , bee cied eehee. Bed he bicai f hee fage, hig ha bee de
ih he aci a D, ha a acc f he ee bee gie b a e h ha bee aed
eaie he.
F fie ea, ee ice I had diceed he dce i he Veeia achie, I had aed g
D; ad i 1899, he I a aig ih C L a Zaach, i Bheia, I fd he a id
eed f e. C Wadei, he ee head f he fai, ih eee ce, a hi aci a
dia, ad iied e a ih hi. Uci, he a caed aa he ig f he da ha I
eached D. He had ef eehig ead f e, ad I a h e he cae b a fied f hi, D. Kie,
he ce I hd ie a acedge. Afe a hied ii he cae e aed he g die
Obeeedf, a ae Sch ea Ka, hee he Wadei fai a he aig. The ai a
ha ad bacig; he Ria he fe ie he id; I a hied ag i a faiia dae,
hgh a age c, bac ih ca ie, hgh da ie d, hee a id eaa de i ie
iig . Hee ad hee, a fe e ad e aed he ad, i hei Sda fie; he a g
ace f iece, ad e ee i he e c, gaig beee bad fied; ad aa i a hae f e
hi, hich I a e diic a e de bac e ig.
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The return to Dux was like a triumphal entry, as we dashed through the market-place Iilled with people come
Ior the Monday market, pots and pans and vegetables strewn in heaps all over the ground, on the rough paving
stones, up to the great gateway oI the castle, leaving but just room Ior us to drive through their midst. I had the
sensation oI an enormous building: all Bohemian castles are big, but this one was like a royal palace. Set there in
the midst oI the town, aIter the Bohemian Iashion, it opens at the back upon great gardens, as iI it were in the
midst oI the country. I walked through room aIter room, along corridor aIter corridor; everywhere there were
pictures, everywhere portraits oI Wallenstein, and battle-scenes in which he led on his troops. The library, which
was Iormed, or at least arranged, by Casanova, and which remains as he leIt it, contains some 25,000 volumes,
some oI them oI considerable value; one oI the most Iamous books in Bohemian literature, Skala's History oI the
Church, exists in manuscript at Dux, and it is Irom this manuscript that the two published volumes oI it were
printed. The library Iorms part oI the Museum, which occupies a ground-Iloor wing oI the castle. The Iirst room
is an armoury, in which all kinds oI arms are arranged, in a decorative way, covering the ceiling and the walls with
strange patterns. The second room contains pottery, collected by Casanova's Waldstein on his Eastern travels.
The third room is Iull oI curious mechanical toys, and cabinets, and carvings in ivory. Finally, we come to the
library, contained in the two innermost rooms. The book-shelves are painted white, and reach to the low-vaulted
ceilings, which are whitewashed. At the end oI a bookcase, in the corner oI one oI the windows, hangs a Iine
engraved portrait oI Casanova.
AIter I had been all over the castle, so long Casanova's home, I was taken to Count Waldstein's study, and
leIt there with the manuscripts. I Iound six huge cardboard cases, large enough to contain Ioolscap paper,
lettered on the back: 'GraIl. Waldstein-Wartenberg'sches Real Fideicommiss. Dux-OberleutensdorI:
HandschriItlicher Nachlass Casanova.' The cases were arranged so as to stand like books; they opened at the
side; and on opening them, one aIter another, I Iound series aIter series oI manuscripts roughly thrown together,
aIter some pretence at arrangement, and lettered with a very generalised description oI contents. The greater part
oI the manuscripts were in Casanova's handwriting, which I could see gradually beginning to get shaky with
years. Most were written in French, a certain number in Italian. The beginning oI a catalogue in the library, though
said to be by him, was not in his handwriting. Perhaps it was taken down at his dictation. There were also some
copies oI Italian and Latin poems not written by him. Then there were many big bundles oI letters addressed to
him, dating over more than thirty years. Almost all the rest was in his own handwriting.
I came Iirst upon the smaller manuscripts, among which I, Iound, jumbled together on the same and on
separate scraps oI paper, washing-bills, accounts, hotel bills, lists oI letters written, Iirst draIts oI letters with
many erasures, notes on books, theological and mathematical notes, sums, Latin quotations, French and Italian
verses, with variants, a long list oI classical names which have and have not been 'Irancises,' with reasons Ior and
against; 'what I must wear at Dresden'; headings without anything to Iollow, such as: 'ReIlexions on respiration,
on the true cause oI youth-the crows'; a new method oI winning the lottery at Rome; recipes, among which is a
long printed list oI perIumes sold at Spa; a newspaper cutting, dated Prague, 25th October 1790, on the thirty-
seventh balloon ascent oI Blanchard; thanks to some 'noble donor' Ior the giIt oI a dog called 'Finette'; a passport
Ior 'Monsieur de Casanova, Venitien, allant d'ici en Hollande, October 13, 1758 (Ce Passeport bon pour quinze
jours)', together with an order Ior post-horses, gratis, Irom Paris to Bordeaux and Bayonne.'
Occasionally, one gets a glimpse into his daily liIe at Dux, as in this note, scribbled on a Iragment oI paper
(here and always I translate the French literally): 'I beg you to tell my servant what the biscuits are that I like to
eat; dipped in wine, to IortiIy my stomach. I believe that they can all be Iound at Roman's.' Usually, however,
these notes, though oIten suggested by something closely personal, branch oII into more general considerations;
or else begin with general considerations, and end with a case in point. Thus, Ior instance, a Iragment oI three
pages begins: 'A compliment which is only made to gild the pill is a positive impertinence, and Monsieur Bailli is
nothing but a charlatan; the monarch ought to have spit in his Iace, but the monarch trembled with Iear.' A
manuscript entitled 'Essai d'Egoisme,' dated, 'Dux, this 27th June, 1769,' contains, in the midst oI various
reIlections, an oIIer to let his 'appartement' in return Ior enough money to 'tranquillise Ior six months two Jew
creditors at Prague.' Another manuscript is headed 'Pride and Folly,' and begins with a long series oI antitheses,
such as: 'All Iools are not proud, and all proud men are Iools. Many Iools are happy, all proud men are unhappy.'
On the same sheet Iollows this instance or application:
Whether it is possible to compose a Latin distich oI the greatest beauty without knowing either the Latin
language or prosody. We must examine the possibility and the impossibility, and aIterwards see who is the man
who says he is the author oI the distich, Ior there are extraordinary people in the world. My brother, in short,
ought to have composed the distich, because he says so, and because he conIided it to me tete-'a-tete. I had, it is
true, diIIiculty in believing him; but what is one to do! Either one must believe, or suppose him capable oI telling a
lie which could only be told by a Iool; and that is impossible, Ior all Europe knows that my brother is not a Iool.
Here, as so oIten in these manuscripts, we seem to see Casanova thinking on paper. He uses scraps oI paper
(sometimes the blank page oI a letter, on the other side oI which we see the address) as a kind oI inIormal diary;
and it is characteristic oI him, oI the man oI inIinitely curious mind, which this adventurer really was, that there are
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so Iew merely personal notes among these casual jottings. OIten, they are purely abstract; at times, metaphysical
'jeux d'esprit,' like the sheet oI Iourteen 'DiIIerent Wagers,' which begins:
I wager that it is not true that a man who weighs a hundred pounds will weigh more iI you kill him. I wager that
iI there is any diIIerence, he will weigh less. I wager that diamond powder has not suIIicient Iorce to kill a man.
Side by side with these IanciIul excursions into science, come more serious ones, as in the note on Algebra,
which traces its progress since the year 1494, beIore which 'it had only arrived at the solution oI problems oI the
second degree, inclusive.' A scrap oI paper tells us that Casanova 'did not like regular towns.' 'I like,' he says,
'Venice, Rome, Florence, Milan, Constantinople, Genoa.' Then he becomes abstract and inquisitive again, and
writes two pages, Iull oI curious, out-oI-the-way learning, on the name oI Paradise:
The name oI Paradise is a name in Genesis which indicates a place oI pleasure (lieu voluptueux): this term is
Persian. This place oI pleasure was made by God beIore he had created man.
It may be remembered that Casanova quarrelled with Voltaire, because Voltaire had told him Irankly that his
translation oI L'Ecossaise was a bad translation. It is piquant to read another note written in this style oI righteous
indignation:
Voltaire, the hardy Voltaire, whose pen is without bit or bridle; Voltaire, who devoured the Bible, and
ridiculed our dogmas, doubts, and aIter having made proselytes to impiety, is not ashamed, being reduced to the
extremity oI liIe, to ask Ior the sacraments, and to cover his body with more relics than St. Louis had at
Amboise.
Here is an argument more in keeping with the tone oI the Memoirs:
A girl who is pretty and good, and as virtuous as you please, ought not to take it ill that a man, carried away
by her charms, should set himselI to the task oI making their conquest. II this man cannot please her by any
means, even iI his passion be criminal, she ought never to take oIIence at it, nor treat him unkindly; she ought to
be gentle, and pity him, iI she does not love him, and think it enough to keep invincibly hold upon her own duty.
Occasionally he touches upon aesthetical matters, as in a Iragment which begins with this liberal deIinition oI
beauty:
Harmony makes beauty, says M. de S. P. (Bernardin de St. Pierre), but the deIinition is too short, iI he thinks
he has said everything. Here is mine. Remember that the subject is metaphysical. An object really beautiIul ought
to seem beautiIul to all whose eyes Iall upon it. That is all; there is nothing more to be said.
At times we have an anecdote and its commentary, perhaps jotted down Ior use in that latter part oI the
Memoirs which was never written, or which has been lost. Here is a single sheet, dated 'this 2nd September,
1791,' and headed Souvenir:
The Prince de Rosenberg said to me, as we went down stairs, that Madame de Rosenberg was dead, and
asked me iI the Comte de Waldstein had in the library the illustration oI the Villa d'Altichiero, which the Emperor
had asked Ior in vain at the city library oI Prague, and when I answered 'yes,' he gave an equivocal laugh. A
moment aIterwards, he asked me iI he might tell the Emperor. 'Why not, monseigneur? It is not a secret, 'Is His
Majesty coming to Dux?' 'II he goes to OberlaitensdorI (sic) he will go to Dux, too; and he may ask you Ior it,
Ior there is a monument there which relates to him when he was Grand Duke.' 'In that case, His Majesty can also
see my critical remarks on the Egyptian prints.'
The Emperor asked me this morning, 6th October, how I employed my time at Dux, and I told him that I was
making an Italian anthology. 'You have all the Italians, then?' 'All, sire.' See what a lie leads to. II I had not lied in
saying that I was making an anthology, I should not have Iound myselI obliged to lie again in saying that we have
all the Italian poets. II the Emperor comes to Dux, I shall kill myselI.
'They say that this Dux is a delightIul spot,' says Casanova in one oI the most personal oI his notes, 'and I see
that it might be Ior many; but not Ior me, Ior what delights me in my old age is independent oI the place which I
inhabit. When I do not sleep I dream, and when I am tired oI dreaming I blacken paper, then I read, and most
oIten reject all that my pen has vomited.' Here we see him blackening paper, on every occasion, and Ior every
purpose. In one bundle I Iound an unIinished story about Roland, and some adventure with women in a cave;
then a 'Meditation on arising Irom sleep, 19th May 1789'; then a 'Short ReIlection oI a Philosopher who Iinds
himselI thinking oI procuring his own death. At Dux, on getting out oI bed on 13th October 1793, day dedicated
to St. Lucy, memorable in my too long liIe.' A big budget, containing cryptograms, is headed 'Grammatical
Lottery'; and there is the title-page oI a treatise on The Duplication oI the Hexahedron, demonstrated
geometrically to all the Universities and all the Academies oI Europe.' |See Charles Henry, Les Connaissances
Mathimatiques de Casanova. Rome, 1883.| There are innumerable verses, French and Italian, in all stages,
occasionally attaining the Iinality oI these lines, which appear in halI a dozen tentative Iorms:
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'Sans mstere point de plaisirs,
Sans silence point de mstere.
Charme divin de mes loisirs,
Solitude! que tu mes chere!
The hee ae a be f e e cee aci f e ee. Thee i he aci f he
aai f He' 'Iiad, i aa ia (bihed i Veice, 1775-8); f he 'Hiie de Veie,' f he
'Icae,' a ci b bihed i 1787, ig be 'aaed f Egih,' b ea a igia
f Caaa; 'Phicaie e Sie de Me,' a g aci ee bihed; he ech ad
begiig f 'Le Pae, a Caie deaee a a eece d'ei. Tagicedie e i ace,
ced a D da e i de Ji de 'Aee, 1791,' hich ec agai de he f f he
'Pece: La Lgee eee a Caie deage,' aced befe he Pice de Lige, a he
chaea a Tei, 1791. Thee i a eaie i Iaia, 'Dee Paii'; hee ae g diage, ch a 'Le
Phihe e e Thegie', ad 'Ree': 'Die-Mi'; hee i he 'Sge d' Qa d'Hee', diided i
ie; hee i he e egh ciici f 'Beadi de Sai-Piee'; hee i he 'Cfai d'e Cee
idicae ' i da a Gaee de Iea, 19 Ji 1789'; ih ahe age aci, fae iefec,
fi caed 'L'Ie', ad he 'Pace a Pbic', daed 'D, hi 2d Mach, 1790,' efeig he ae
ciici he 'Icae' ad he 'Fie de Pi. L'Hiie de a Fie de Pi de a Rebie de
Veie, ' aee e Pb', hich i he fi daf f he fa a f he Mei, a bihed
a Leiig i 1788; ad, haig ead i i he Macia Liba a Veice, I a ied ea f hi
idiga dce ha i a ied 'de he cae f a g Si, h had he ae ci a hded
fa f hgah.'
III.
We ce he dce diec eaig he Mei, ad ag hee ae eea ae a a
eface, i hich e ee he aca eface cig gada i f. Oe i eied 'Caaa a Lece',
ahe 'Hiie de Eiece', ad a hid Peface. Thee i a a bief ad chaaceiic 'Peci de a
ie', daed Nebe 17, 1797. Se f hee hae bee ied i Le Lie, 1887. B b fa he
ia aci ha I diceed, e hich, aae, I a he fi dice, i a aci eied
'Eai d Chaie 4 e 5. I i ie ae iia ha hich he Mei ae ie; he age ae
beed 104-148; ad hgh i i decibed a Eai, i ee cai, a a ee, he geae a f he
iig chae hich I hae aead efeed, Chae IV. ad V. f he a e f he Mei. I hi
aci e fid Aeie ad Scaica, he i ieed b he ab edig f Chae III.; e
fid Maiccia f V. VII, Chae IX., h aied a haidee; ad e fid a Jacie, h Caaa
ecgie a hi daghe, 'ch eie ha Shia, he daghe f Theee Peai, h I had ef a
Ld.' I i ci ha hi e ia aci, hich ie he e iig i i he Mei,
hd ee hae bee diceed b a f he fe ee h hae had he i f ig e he
D aci. I a icied eai i b he fac ha he cae i hich I fd hi aci cai
e ae eaig Caaa. Pbab, he h ed i hi cae ed fhe. I hae d
He Bcha f dice, ad I he ee Chae IV. ad V. i hei ace he he g-ed-
f edii f he cee e i a egh gie he d.
Ahe aci hich I fd e ih gea iac he he f he Abbe de Be' ie,
he cig f he Pice de Ci' ie, ad he bih f he Dc de Meie, hich i d e bief,
ad ih ch e i, i he Mei (. iii., . 327). Reade f he Mei i eebe he de a
Waa ih C Baici i 1766 (. X., . 274-320), a affai hich aaced a gd dea f aei
a he ie, ad f hich hee i a acc i a ee f he Abbe Taffi he daai, Facec
Abegai, daed Waa, Mach 19, 1766, ed i Ee Mai' Life f Abegai, Bga, 1878. A
aci a D i Caaa' hadiig gie a acc f hi de i he hid e; i i eied,
'Decii de 'affaie aiee a Vaie e 5 Ma, 1766'. D'Aca, i he Na Agia (. ii., .
412), efeig he Abbe Taffi' acc, ei ha he cide be a igh diceac: ha Taffi
efe he daee, ab h he de a fgh, a La Caacci, hie Caaa efe he a La
Caai. I hi aci Caaa aa efe he a La Caacci; La Caai i eide e f M.
Lafge' abia aeai f he e.
I ig e ahe aci, I a cagh b he ae Chai, hich ee eade f he Mei
i eebe a he ae f he ha b h Caaa ffeed ch i Ld, i 1763-4. Thi
aci begi b aig: 'I hae bee i Ld f i h ad hae bee ee he (ha i, he
he ad daghe) i hei he,' hee he fid hig b 'ide, h cae a h g hee
e hei e i gabig.' Thi aci add e deai he d i he ih ad eh e
f he Mei, ad efe he eeig ih he Chai f ad a haf ea befe, decibed i Ve
V., age 428-485. I i ie i a e f gea idigai. Eehee, I fd a ee ie b Caaa,
b iged, efeig a a ee hich he had eceied i efeece he Chai, ad
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edig: 'M hadiig i .' I a i he a ha I cae gea bde f ee addeed
Caaa, ad caef eeed ha ie ca f ae, hich ci ae ie, ae i i hei
ace. Oe i ee he ea he bac f a f he ee, ae hich ha igh eed ih age,
eaig he i, hee, a aa feh. The ce f Veice, Pai, Re, Page, Baeh, The
Hage, Gea, Fie, Tiee, ec., ad ae addeed a a ace, fe e eae. Ma ae ee
f e, e i beaif hadiig, hic ae; he ca f ae, i aif had, i-e.
A Ce ie iif, iig he; e e he e, i ie f he 'a chagi' he ha caed
he; ahe a 'h he ae ie gehe'; ahe ae ha a e ha ge ab ha he i ece
iig ih hi, hich a ha hi eai. Se ae i Fech, e i Iaia. 'M che Giace',
ie e a, i Fech; 'Caii a Aaii', ie ahe, i Iaia. Thee ee f e ae
i e cfi, ad ae i eed f a gd dea f ig e ad eaagig befe hei f ee ca be
eaied. Th I fd ee i he ae hadiig eaaed b ee i he hadiig; a ae
iged, iged b a ige iiia; a ae daed, daed ih he da f he ee h.
Thee ae a gea a ee, daig f 1779 1786, iged 'Faceca Bchii,' a ae hich I ca
ideif; he ae ie i Iaia, ad e f he begi: 'Uic Mi e Aic' (' e fied').
Ohe ae iged 'Vigiia B.'; e f hee i daed, 'Fi, Ocbe 15, 1773.' Thee i a a 'Theea B.,' h
ie f Gea. I a a fi abe ideif he ie f a he eie f ee i Fech, e
affeciae ad iiae ee, a iged, ccaia iged 'B.' She ca heef e eie aie;
he ed ih a haf-iig, haf-eachf 'gdigh, ad ee bee ha I' I e ee, e f Pai i
1759, he ie: 'Nee beiee e, b he I e ha I e , ad ha I ha e aa: I
ahe ee, i-e, a he ee fe ae, he ie: 'Be aed ha ei ge, a, ca,
hig ca chage hea, hich i eie, ad ha i chage i ae.' N, i ee e
ha hee ee be f Ma Baei, ad ha he ae he ee efeed i he ih e f he
Mei. We ead hee (age 60) h Chia Da, 1759, Caaa eceie a ee f Ma i
Pai, acig he aiage ih 'M. Bde, achiec he Kig, ad ebe f hi Acade'; he e
hi hi ee, ad beg hi e he, b he. Iead f dig he a Ehe ead he,
iedig b he afead. Ehe beg be aed ee he ee, iig 'eee he
eigi a he ife.' 'Thee ee,' he a, 'beed e ha hded, ad he he ee f f
age: Ceai hee ae hded f he a D, b i ee e high babe ha Caaa
ade a fia eeci f Ma' ee, ad ha i i hee hich I hae fd.
B, hee hi a be, I a fae egh fid he e f ee hich I a ai fid he
ee f Heiee, he ee ie Caaa ha aeed. Heiee, i i be eebeed,
ae he fi aeaace a Ceea, i he ea 1748; afe hei eeig a Geea, he eaea,
aica 'a ', e- ea ae, a Ai i Pece; ad he ie Caaa ig '
cece eiaie', aig hi ha he ha de ice hi ecae f i, ad iig d he be
e hi a ha ha haeed he dig he g iea. Afe ig he ee, he add: 'I eied he,
acceig he cedece ha he ffeed e, ad eig he bief a iciide. She eaed e i
, i e f ee, a he hi f he ife. If he die befe e, I ha add hee ee hee
Mei; b -da he i i aie, ad aa ha, hgh d.' I ha ee bee ha becae
f hee ee, ad h he ee added he Mei. I hae fd a gea ai f he, e
iged ih he aied ae i f, 'Heiee de Schea,' ad I a icied hi ha he ied
Caaa, f e f he ee i daed Baeh, 1798, he ea f Caaa' deah. The ae eaab
chaig, ie ih a ie f iac ad diici; ad I i e he chaaceiic begiig ad ed
f he a ee I a abe fid. I begi: 'N, i i iibe be ih !' ad ed: 'If I bece
ici, i i , Me, h ae e , ad I ca i . Ee if I ee daed I hd i
be deed fied, Heiee de Schea.' Caaa a e-hee he he e Heiee;
, heef a d a, he ie hi he he i ee-hee, a if he fif ea ha had aed ee
bed i he faihf affeci f he e. H a e dicee ad e chagig e hae had
he ai f cac i chage, hich hi ife-g cedece bea ie? De i gge a
ie f Caaa ie he ie f a he d? T e i h he ea a, h eha f a he
be ded ha Shee ea he he aid:
True love in this differs from gold or cla
That to divide is not to take awa.
B, hgh he ee f e aa ieeed e he , he ee a ceai i f he
gea a f cedece hich I ed e. Thee ee ee f Ca Agiii, h a afead
big he aci f he Mei Bcha; f Babi, he ih h Caaa ecaed f
he Pibi; f he Mai Abegai, aigh, ac, ad ecceic, f h hee i e acc i he
Mei; f he Mai Mca, 'a diigihed a f ee h I a ai ee,' Caaa e
i he ae e i hich he decibe hi ii he Mca a Pea; f Zia, bhe f he Dche
f Fia; f Richad Lai, 'be he, aa de 'ei, e e e g de a be ciee', h cae
ee a Giia i 1773, hie Caaa a hee; f he Pca Mii, h he ea f i he
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Memoirs as his 'protector,' and as one oI those through whom he obtained permission to return to Venice. His
other 'protector,' the 'avogador' Zaguri, had, says Casanova, 'since the aIIair oI the Marquis Albergati, carried on
a most interesting correspondence with me'; and in Iact I Iound a bundle oI no less than a hundred and thirty-
eight letters Irom him, dating Irom 1784 to 1798. Another bundle contains one hundred and seventy-two letters
Irom Count Lamberg. In the Memoirs Casanova says, reIerring to his visit to Augsburg at the end oI 1761:
I used to spend my evenings in a very agreeable manner at the house oI Count Max de Lamberg, who resided
at the court oI the Prince-Bishop with the title oI Grand Marshal. What particularly attached me to Count
Lamberg was his literary talent. A Iirst-rate scholar, learned to a degree, he has published several much esteemed
works. I carried on an exchange oI letters with him which ended only with his death Iour years ago in 1792.
Casanova tells us that, at his second visit to Augsburg in the early part oI 1767, he 'supped with Count
Lamberg two or three times a week,' during the Iour months he was there. It is with this year that the letters I
have Iound begin: they end with the year oI his death, 1792. In his 'Memorial d'un Mondain' Lamberg reIers to
Casanova as 'a man known in literature, a man oI proIound knowledge.' In the Iirst edition oI 1774, he laments
that 'a man such as M. de S. Galt' should not yet have been taken back into Iavour by the Venetian government,
and in the second edition, 1775, rejoices over Casanova's return to Venice. Then there are letters Irom Da
Ponte, who tells the story oI Casanova's curious relations with Mme. d'UrIe, in his 'Memorie scritte da esso',
1829; Irom Pittoni, Bono, and others mentioned in diIIerent parts oI the Memoirs, and Irom some dozen others
who are not mentioned in them. The only letters in the whole collection that have been published are those Irom
the Prince de Ligne and Irom Count Koenig.
IV.
Casanova tells us in his Memoirs that, during his later years at Dux, he had only been able to 'hinder black
melancholy Irom devouring his poor existence, or sending him out oI his mind,' by writing ten or twelve hours a
day. The copious manuscripts at Dux show us how persistently he was at work on a singular variety oI subjects,
in addition to the Memoirs, and to the various books which he published during those years. We see him jotting
down everything that comes into his head, Ior his own amusement, and certainly without any thought oI
publication; engaging in learned controversies, writing treatises on abstruse mathematical problems, composing
comedies to be acted beIore Count Waldstein's neighbours, practising verse-writing in two languages, indeed
with more patience than success, writing philosophical dialogues in which God and himselI are the speakers, and
keeping up an extensive correspondence, both with distinguished men and with delightIul women. His mental
activity, up to the age oI seventy-three, is as prodigious as the activity which he had expended in living a
multiIorm and incalculable liIe. As in liIe everything living had interested him so in his retirement Irom liIe every
idea makes its separate appeal to him; and he welcomes ideas with the same impartiality with which he had
welcomed adventures. Passion has intellectualised itselI, and remains not less passionate. He wishes to do
everything, to compete with every one; and it is only aIter having spent seven years in heaping up miscellaneous
learning, and exercising his Iaculties in many directions, that he turns to look back over his own past liIe, and to
live it over again in memory, as he writes down the narrative oI what had interested him most in it. 'I write in the
hope that my history will never see the broad day light oI publication,' he tells us, scarcely meaning it, we may be
sure, even in the moment oI hesitancy which may naturally come to him. But iI ever a book was written Ior the
pleasure oI writing it, it was this one; and an autobiography written Ior oneselI is not likely to be anything but
Irank.
'Truth is the only God I have ever adored,' he tells us: and we now know how truthIul he was in saying so. I
have only summarised in this article the most important conIirmations oI his exact accuracy in Iacts and dates; the
number could be extended indeIinitely. In the manuscripts we Iind innumerable Iurther conIirmations; and their
chieI value as testimony is that they tell us nothing which we should not have already known, iI we had merely
taken Casanova at his word. But it is not always easy to take people at their own word, when they are writing
about themselves; and the world has been very loth to believe in Casanova as he represents himselI. It has been
specially loth to believe that he is telling the truth when he tells us about his adventures with women. But the
letters contained among these manuscripts shows us the women oI Casanova writing to him with all the Iervour
and all the Iidelity which he attributes to them; and they show him to us in the character oI as Iervid and IaithIul a
lover. In every Iact, every detail, and in the whole mental impression which they convey, these manuscripts bring
beIore us the Casanova oI the Memoirs. As I seemed to come upon Casanova at home, it was as iI I came upon
old Iriend, already perIectly known to me, beIore I had made my pilgrimage to Dux.
1902
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ANLAO' PEFACE
A eie f adee ide ad e faaic ha he ide f ace, ie d ih he
eacide f a bie dia; a ie f e ad ciie f Nae Bei, f Madid ad Ld
Caie ad S. Peebg; he 'ie iie' f he eigheeh ce deiced b a a, h -da a
ih cadia ad aed ced head, ad ed i de f figac ad cie; a b f
cfei eed ih eicece ad ih eiece; a ecd f f ea f "cc" chaaai; a
ceci f ae f ccef ie, f 'be fe', f ae ecae, f acede adaci,
d ih he h f Se ad he deicae i f Vaie. Wh i hee ieeed i e ad ee, ad
i he ife f he a, h d c, "Whee ca ch a b a hi be fd?"
Ye he abe caage i b a bief ie, a bae ad eage a, f he b a "THE
MEMOIRS OF CASANOVA"; a abe ie i ieae. He h e hee def age i
a e h i i a heae ad ac he g, a age-a, b ahe ad a aihed
d. The cai da , ad dde a hded ad fif ea ae ed aa, ad i bigh igh ad
befe he he ife f he a; he ga dee, he ihed i, he caee a, ad a he ee
ad dacig f he e ea befe he igh dege f he Rei. The aace ad abe ai f
d Veice ae ge deae, b hged ih cae-bed ea, ie ih he d f he Te
hei head c he Bidge f Sigh, a dead f igh he i f he ce gae he da caa
hee a gda i aiig, e ai a he 'aie fie' f cadia, ad e ee he ba ade a fa. Veice
gie ace he aeb f M. Ce ad he fa ae f he Ld f 1760; e a f
Veaie he Wie Paace f S. Peebg i he da f Caheie, f he ic f he Gea Fedeic
he ed ih f ig-ae, ad he eece-chabe f he Vaica i cceeded b a iige i a
gae. I i ideed a e eeiece ead hi hi f a a h, efaiig f hig, ha cceaed
hig; f e h d i he c f Li he Magifice befe Madae de Pad ad he be
f he Acie Regie, ad had a affai ih a adee f Dea See, Sh; h a bd e
ee he eace b Fiedig, ad e Cagi. The fied f e ad ig ad bee, ad f a he
ae ad feae ffia ad agabd f Ee, abbe, die, chaaa, gaee, fiacie, diai,
ie, hihe, i, "chei, fidde, ad bff," each f hee, ad a f hee a Giac
Caaa, Cheaie de Seiga, Kigh f he Gde S.
Ad ae he Mei a iea cii; he ae a ea ci f a bibigahica i
f ie. The aci a ie i Fech ad cae i he ei f he bihe Bcha, f
Leiig, h had i aaed i Gea, ad ied. F hi Gea edii, M. Abe de Vi e-
aaed he i Fech, b ied ab a fh f he ae, ad hi iaed ad he ei
i fee chaed b a bibihie. I he ea 1826, hee, Bcha, i de eab
ec hi e, ied he eie e f he igia MS. i Fech, f he fi ie, ad i hi cee
f, caiig a age be f aecde ad icide be fd i he i ei, he a
acceabe he ahiie, ad a cee ig eed. O a fe cie e f
eeai f eie ae hae ecaed, ad f e f hee ae cie he ee aai
ha bee ade ad e f iae cicai.
I cci, bh aa ad 'edie' hae de hei ee he Egih Caaa i a de
h f he def ad i igia.
AHO' PEFACE
I i begi ih hi cfei: haee I hae de i he ce f ife, hehe i be gd ei, ha
bee de fee; I a a fee age.
The dcie f he Sic f a he ec a he fce f Dei i a bbbe egedeed b he
iagiai f a, ad i ea ai Ahei. I beiee i e Gd, b faih a a Chiia i a
gafed ha ee f hih hich ha ee ied ahig.
I beiee i he eiece f a iaeia Gd, he Ah ad Mae f a beig ad a hig, ad I fee
ha I ee had a db f Hi eiece, f he fac ha I hae aa eied Hi idece, aed
Hi i die, ad ha He ha aa gaed ae. Deai big deah, b ae de aa
ih deai; ad he a a ha aed he fee hief ed b e cfidece ad eded ih
e ac. A he ea eed b he Seeig Mae f ha beig ae iedig dage
f he h beeech Hi aiace, I cfe ha he edge f he i abe he ieigece f a,
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who can but wonder and adore. Our ignorance becomes our only resource, and happy, truly happy; are those
who cherish their ignorance! Therefore must we pray to God, and believe that He has granted the favour we
have been praying for, even when in appearance it seems the reverse. As to the position which our body ought to
assume when we address ourselves to the Creator, a line of Petrarch settles it:
'Con le ginocchia della mente inchine.'
Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it; and the greater power he ascribes to faith, the
more he deprives himself of that power which God has given to him when He endowed him with the gift of
reason. Reason is a particle of the Creator's divinity. When we use it with a spirit of humility and justice we are
certain to please the Giver of that precious gift. God ceases to be God only for those who can admit the
possibility of His non-existence, and that conception is in itself the most severe punishment they can suffer.
Man is free; yet we must not suppose that he is at liberty to do everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave
the moment he allows his actions to be ruled by passion. The man who has sufficient power over himself to wait
until his nature has recovered its even balance is the truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with.
The reader of these Memoirs will discover that I never had any fixed aim before my eyes, and that my system,
if it can be called a system, has been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the wind
wherever it led. How many changes arise from such an independent mode of life! My success and my
misfortunes, the bright and the dark days I have gone through, everything has proved to me that in this world,
either physical or moral, good comes out of evil just as well as evil comes out of good. My errors will point to
thinking men the various roads, and will teach them the great art of treading on the brink of the precipice without
falling into it. It is only necessary to have courage, for strength without self-confidence is useless. I have often met
with happiness after some imprudent step which ought to have brought ruin upon me, and although passing a vote
of censure upon myself I would thank God for his mercy. But, by way of compensation, dire misfortune has
befallen me in consequence of actions prompted by the most cautious wisdom. This would humble me; yet
conscious that I had acted rightly I would easily derive comfort from that conviction.
In spite of a good foundation of sound morals, the natural offspring of the Divine principles which had been
early rooted in my heart, I have been throughout my life the victim of my senses; I have found delight in losing the
right path, I have constantly lived in the midst of error, with no consolation but the consciousness of my being
mistaken. Therefore, dear reader, I trust that, far from attaching to my history the character of impudent boasting,
you will find in my Memoirs only the characteristic proper to a general confession, and that my narratory style will
be the manner neither of a repenting sinner, nor of a man ashamed to acknowledge his frolics. They are the follies
inherent to youth; I make sport of them, and, if you are kind, you will not yourself refuse them a good-natured
smile. You will be amused when you see that I have more than once deceived without the slightest qualm of
conscience, both knaves and fools. As to the deceit perpetrated upon women, let it pass, for, when love is in the
way, men and women as a general rule dupe each other. But on the score of fools it is a very different matter. I
always feel the greatest bliss when I recollect those I have caught in my snares, for they generally are insolent,
and so self-conceited that they challenge wit. We avenge intellect when we dupe a fool, and it is a victory not to
be despised for a fool is covered with steel and it is often very hard to find his vulnerable part. In fact, to gull a
fool seems to me an exploit worthy of a witty man. I have felt in my very blood, ever since I was born, a most
unconquerable hatred towards the whole tribe of fools, and it arises from the fact that I feel myself a blockhead
whenever I am in their company. I am very far from placing them in the same class with those men whom we call
stupid, for the latter are stupid only from deficient education, and I rather like them. I have met with some of them
very honest fellows, who, with all their stupidity, had a kind of intelligence and an upright good sense, which
cannot be the characteristics of fools. They are like eyes veiled with the cataract, which, if the disease could be
removed, would be very beautiful.
Dear reader, examine the spirit of this preface, and you will at once guess at my purpose. I have written a
preface because I wish you to know me thoroughly before you begin the reading of my Memoirs. It is only in a
coffee-room or at a table d'hote that we like to converse with strangers.
I have written the history of my life, and I have a perfect right to do so; but am I wise in throwing it before a
public of which I know nothing but evil? No, I am aware it is sheer folly, but I want to be busy, I want to laugh,
and why should I deny myself this gratification?
'Epulit elleboro morbum bilemque mero.'
An ancient author tells us somewhere, with the tone of a pedagogue, if you have not done anything worthy of
being recorded, at least write something worthy of being read. It is a precept as beautiful as a diamond of the first
water cut in England, but it cannot be applied to me, because I have not written either a novel, or the life of an
illustrious character. Worthy or not, my life is my subject, and my subject is my life. I have lived without dreaming
that I should ever take a fancy to write the history of my life, and, for that very reason, my Memoirs may claim
from the reader an interest and a sympathy which they would not have obtained, had I always entertained the
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design to write them in my old age, and, still more, to publish them.
I have reached, in 1797, the age oI three-score years and twelve; I can not say, Vixi, and I could not procure
a more agreeable pastime than to relate my own adventures, and to cause pleasant laughter amongst the good
company listening to me, Irom which I have received so many tokens oI Iriendship, and in the midst oI which I
have ever lived. To enable me to write well, I have only to think that my readers will belong to that polite society:
'Quoecunque dii, si placuerint, dictavit auditor.'
Should there be a Iew intruders whom I can not prevent Irom perusing my Memoirs, I must Iind comIort in the
idea that my history was not written Ior them.
By recollecting the pleasures I have had Iormerly, I renew them, I enjoy them a second time, while I laugh at
the remembrance oI troubles now past, and which I no longer Ieel. A member oI this great universe, I speak to
the air, and I Iancy myselI rendering an account oI my administration, as a steward is wont to do beIore leaving
his situation. For my Iuture I have no concern, and as a true philosopher, I never would have any, Ior I know not
what it may be: as a Christian, on the other hand, Iaith must believe without discussion, and the stronger it is, the
more it keeps silent. I know that I have lived because I have Ielt, and, Ieeling giving me the knowledge oI my
existence, I know likewise that I shall exist no more when I shall have ceased to Ieel.
Should I perchance still Ieel aIter my death, I would no longer have any doubt, but I would most certainly give
the lie to anyone asserting beIore me that I was dead.
The history oI my liIe must begin by the earliest circumstance which my memory can evoke; it will thereIore
commence when I had attained the age oI eight years and Iour months. BeIore that time, iI to think is to live be a
true axiom, I did not live, I could only lay claim to a state oI vegetation. The mind oI a human being is Iormed
only oI comparisons made in order to examine analogies, and thereIore cannot precede the existence oI memory.
The mnemonic organ was developed in my head only eight years and Iour months aIter my birth; it is then that my
soul began to be susceptible oI receiving impressions. How is it possible Ior an immaterial substance, which can
neither touch nor be touched to receive impressions? It is a mystery which man cannot unravel.
A certain philosophy, Iull oI consolation, and in perIect accord with religion, pretends that the state oI
dependence in which the soul stands in relation to the senses and to the organs, is only incidental and transient,
and that it will reach a condition oI Ireedom and happiness when the death oI the body shall have delivered it
Irom that state oI tyrannic subjection. This is very Iine, but, apart Irom religion, where is the prooI oI it all?
ThereIore, as I cannot, Irom my own inIormation, have a perIect certainty oI my being immortal until the
dissolution oI my body has actually taken place, people must kindly bear with me, iI I am in no hurry to obtain
that certain knowledge, Ior, in my estimation, a knowledge to be gained at the cost oI liIe is a rather expensive
piece oI inIormation. In the mean time I worship God, laying every wrong action under an interdict which I
endeavour to respect, and I loathe the wicked without doing them any injury. I only abstain Irom doing them any
good, in the Iull belieI that we ought not to cherish serpents.
As I must likewise say a Iew words respecting my nature and my temperament, I premise that the most
indulgent oI my readers is not likely to be the most dishonest or the least giIted with intelligence.
I have had in turn every temperament; phlegmatic in my inIancy; sanguine in my youth; later on, bilious; and
now I have a disposition which engenders melancholy, and most likely will never change. I always made my Iood
congenial to my constitution, and my health was always excellent. I learned very early that our health is always
impaired by some excess either oI Iood or abstinence, and I never had any physician except myselI. I am bound
to add that the excess in too little has ever proved in me more dangerous than the excess in too much; the last
may cause indigestion, but the Iirst causes death.
Now, old as I am, and although enjoying good digestive organs, I must have only one meal every day; but I
Iind a set-oII to that privation in my delightIul sleep, and in the ease which I experience in writing down my
thoughts without having recourse to paradox or sophism, which would be calculated to deceive myselI even more
than my readers, Ior I never could make up my mind to palm counterIeit coin upon them iI I knew it to be such.
The sanguine temperament rendered me very sensible to the attractions oI voluptuousness: I was always
cheerIul and ever ready to pass Irom one enjoyment to another, and I was at the same time very skillIul in
inventing new pleasures. Thence, I suppose, my natural disposition to make Iresh acquaintances, and to break
with them so readily, although always Ior a good reason, and never through mere Iickleness. The errors caused
by temperament are not to be corrected, because our temperament is perIectly independent oI our strength: it is
not the case with our character. Heart and head are the constituent parts oI character; temperament has almost
nothing to do with it, and, thereIore, character is dependent upon education, and is susceptible oI being corrected
and improved.
I leave to others the decision as to the good or evil tendencies oI my character, but such as it is it shines upon
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my countenance, and there it can easily be detected by any physiognomist. It is only on the fact that character
can be read; there it lies exposed to the view. It is worthy of remark that men who have no peculiar cast of
countenance, and there are a great many such men, are likewise totally deficient in peculiar characteristics, and
we may establish the rule that the varieties in physiognomy are equal to the differences in character. I am aware
that throughout my life my actions have received their impulse more from the force of feeling than from the
wisdom of reason, and this has led me to acknowledge that my conduct has been dependent upon my nature
more than upon my mind; both are generally at war, and in the midst of their continual collisions I have never
found in me sufficient mind to balance my nature, or enough strength in my nature to counteract the power of my
mind. But enough of this, for there is truth in the old saying: 'Si brevis esse volo, obscurus fio', and I believe that,
without offending against modesty, I can apply to myself the following words of my dear Virgil:
'Nec m adeo infomi: npe me in lioe idi
Cm placidm eni ae mae.'
The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses; I never knew anything of greater
importance. I felt myself born for the fair sex, I have ever loved it dearly, and I have been loved by it as often and
as much as I could. I have likewise always had a great weakness for good living, and I ever felt passionately fond
of every object which excited my curiosity.
I have had friends who have acted kindly towards me, and it has been my good fortune to have it in my power
to give them substantial proofs of my gratitude. I have had also bitter enemies who have persecuted me, and
whom I have not crushed simply because I could not do it. I never would have forgiven them, had I not lost the
memory of all the injuries they had heaped upon me. The man who forgets does not forgive, he only loses the
remembrance of the harm inflicted on him; forgiveness is the offspring of a feeling of heroism, of a noble heart, of
a generous mind, whilst forgetfulness is only the result of a weak memory, or of an easy carelessness, and still
oftener of a natural desire for calm and quietness. Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who
delights in nursing it in his bosom.
Should anyone bring against me an accusation of sensuality he would be wrong, for all the fierceness of my
senses never caused me to neglect any of my duties. For the same excellent reason, the accusation of
drunkenness ought not to have been brought against Homer:
'Ladib agi ini ino Home.'
I have always been fond of highly-seasoned, rich dishes, such as macaroni prepared by a skilful Neapolitan
cook, the olla-podrida of the Spaniards, the glutinous codfish from Newfoundland, game with a strong flavour,
and cheese the perfect state of which is attained when the tiny animaculae formed from its very essence begin to
shew signs of life. As for women, I have always found the odour of my beloved ones exceeding pleasant.
What depraved tastes! some people will exclaim. Are you not ashamed to confess such inclinations without
blushing! Dear critics, you make me laugh heartily. Thanks to my coarse tastes, I believe myself happier than
other men, because I am convinced that they enhance my enjoyment. Happy are those who know how to obtain
pleasures without injury to anyone; insane are those who fancy that the Almighty can enjoy the sufferings, the
pains, the fasts and abstinences which they offer to Him as a sacrifice, and that His love is granted only to those
who tax themselves so foolishly. God can only demand from His creatures the practice of virtues the seed of
which He has sown in their soul, and all He has given unto us has been intended for our happiness; self-love,
thirst for praise, emulation, strength, courage, and a power of which nothing can deprive usthe power of self-
destruction, if, after due calculation, whether false or just, we unfortunately reckon death to be advantageous.
This is the strongest proof of our moral freedom so much attacked by sophists. Yet this power of self-destruction
is repugnant to nature, and has been rightly opposed by every religion.
A so-called free-thinker told me at one time that I could not consider myself a philosopher if I placed any faith
in revelation. But when we accept it readily in physics, why should we reject it in religious matters? The form
alone is the point in question. The spirit speaks to the spirit, and not to the ears. The principles of everything we
are acquainted with must necessarily have been revealed to those from whom we have received them by the
great, supreme principle, which contains them all. The bee erecting its hive, the swallow building its nest, the ant
constructing its cave, and the spider warping its web, would never have done anything but for a previous and
everlasting revelation. We must either believe that it is so, or admit that matter is endowed with thought. But as
we dare not pay such a compliment to matter, let us stand by revelation.
The great philosopher, who having deeply studied nature, thought he had found the truth because he
acknowledged nature as God, died too soon. Had he lived a little while longer, he would have gone much farther,
and yet his journey would have been but a short one, for finding himself in his Author, he could not have denied
Him: In Him we move and have our being. He would have found Him inscrutable, and thus would have ended his
journey.
God, great principle of all minor principles, God, who is Himself without a principle, could not conceive
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HimselI, iI, in order to do it, He required to know His own principle.
Oh, blissIul ignorance! Spinosa, the virtuous Spinosa, died beIore he could possess it. He would have died a
learned man and with a right to the reward his virtue deserved, iI he had only supposed his soul to be immortal!
It is not true that a wish Ior reward is unworthy oI real virtue, and throws a blemish upon its purity. Such a
pretension, on the contrary, helps to sustain virtue, man being himselI too weak to consent to be virtuous only Ior
his own 'gratiIication. I hold as a myth that Amphiaraus who preIerred to be good than to seem good. In Iact, I
do not believe there is an honest man alive without some pretension, and here is mine.
I pretend to the Iriendship, to the esteem, to the gratitude oI my readers. I claim their gratitude, iI my Memoirs
can give them instruction and pleasure; I claim their esteem iI, rendering me justice, they Iind more good qualities
in me than Iaults, and I claim their Iriendship as soon as they deem me worthy oI it by the candour and the good
Iaith with which I abandon myselI to their judgment, without disguise and exactly as I am in reality. They will Iind
that I have always had such sincere love Ior truth, that I have oIten begun by telling stories Ior the purpose oI
getting truth to enter the heads oI those who could not appreciate its charms. They will not Iorm a wrong opinion
oI me when they see one emptying the purse oI my Iriends to satisIy my Iancies, Ior those Iriends entertained idle
schemes, and by giving them the hope oI success I trusted to disappointment to cure them. I would deceive them
to make them wiser, and I did not consider myselI guilty, Ior I applied to my own enjoyment sums oI money
which would have been lost in the vain pursuit oI possessions denied by nature; thereIore I was not actuated by
any avaricious rapacity. I might think myselI guilty iI I were rich now, but I have nothing. I have squandered
everything; it is my comIort and my justiIication. The money was intended Ior extravagant Iollies, and by applying
it to my own Irolics I did not turn it into a very diIIerent, channel.
II I were deceived in my hope to please, I candidly conIess I would regret it, but not suIIiciently so to repent
having written my Memoirs, Ior, aIter all, writing them has given me pleasure. Oh, cruel ennui! It must be by
mistake that those who have invented the torments oI hell have Iorgotten to ascribe thee the Iirst place among
them. Yet I am bound to own that I entertain a great Iear oI hisses; it is too natural a Iear Ior me to boast oI being
insensible to them, and I cannot Iind any solace in the idea that, when these Memoirs are published, I shall be no
more. I cannot think without a shudder oI contracting any obligation towards death: I hate death; Ior, happy or
miserable, liIe is the only blessing which man possesses, and those who do not love it are unworthy oI it. II we
preIer honour to liIe, it is because liIe is blighted by inIamy; and iI, in the alternative, man sometimes throws away
his liIe, philosophy must remain silent.
Oh, death, cruel death! Fatal law which nature necessarily rejects because thy very oIIice is to destroy nature!
Cicero says that death Irees us Irom all pains and sorrows, but this great philosopher books all the expense
without taking the receipts into account. I do not recollect iI, when he wrote his 'Tusculan Disputations', his own
Tullia was dead. Death is a monster which turns away Irom the great theatre an attentive hearer beIore the end oI
the play which deeply interests him, and this is reason enough to hate it.
All my adventures are not to be Iound in these Memoirs; I have leIt out those which might have oIIended the
persons who have played a sorry part therein. In spite oI this reserve, my readers will perhaps oIten think me
indiscreet, and I am sorry Ior it. Should I perchance become wiser beIore I give up the ghost, I might burn every
one oI these sheets, but now I have not courage enough to do it.
It may be that certain love scenes will be considered too explicit, but let no one blame me, unless it be Ior lack
oI skill, Ior I ought not to be scolded because, in my old age, I can Iind no other enjoyment but that which
recollections oI the past aIIord to me. AIter all, virtuous and prudish readers are at liberty to skip over any
oIIensive pictures, and I think it my duty to give them this piece oI advice; so much the worse Ior those who may
not read my preIace; it is no Iault oI mine iI they do not, Ior everyone ought to know that a preIace is to a book
what the play-bill is to a comedy; both must be read.
My Memoirs are not written Ior young persons who, in order to avoid Ialse steps and slippery roads, ought to
spend their youth in blissIul ignorance, but Ior those who, having thorough experience oI liIe, are no longer
exposed to temptation, and who, having but too oIten gone through the Iire, are like salamanders, and can be
scorched by it no more. True virtue is but a habit, and I have no hesitation in saying that the really virtuous are
those persons who can practice virtue without the slightest trouble; such persons are always Iull oI toleration, and
it is to them that my Memoirs are addressed.
I have written in French, and not in Italian, because the French language is more universal than mine, and the
purists, who may criticise in my style some Italian turns will be quite right, but only in case it should prevent them
Irom understanding me clearly. The Greeks admired Theophrastus in spite oI his Eresian style, and the Romans
delighted in their Livy in spite oI his Patavinity. Provided I amuse my readers, it seems to me that I can claim the
same indulgence. AIter all, every Italian reads Algarotti with pleasure, although his works are Iull oI French
idioms.
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There is one thing worthy oI notice: oI all the living languages belonging to the republic oI letters, the French
tongue is the only one which has been condemned by its masters never to borrow in order to become richer,
whilst all other languages, although richer in words than the French, plunder Irom it words and constructions oI
sentences, whenever they Iind that by such robbery they add something to their own beauty. Yet those who
borrow the most Irom the French, are the most Iorward in trumpeting the poverty oI that language, very likely
thinking that such an accusation justiIies their depredations. It is said that the French language has attained the
apogee oI its beauty, and that the smallest Ioreign loan would spoil it, but I make bold to assert that this is
prejudice, Ior, although it certainly is the most clear, the most logical oI all languages, it would be great temerity to
aIIirm that it can never go Iarther or higher than it has gone. We all recollect that, in the days oI Lulli, there was
but one opinion oI his music, yet Rameau came and everything was changed. The new impulse given to the
French nation may open new and unexpected horizons, and new beauties, Iresh perIections, may spring up Irom
new combinations and Irom new wants.
The motto I have adopted justiIies my digressions, and all the commentaries, perhaps too numerous, in which I
indulge upon my various exploits: 'Nequidquam sapit qui sibi non sapit'. For the same reason I have always Ielt a
great desire to receive praise and applause Irom polite society:
'Excitat auditor stadium, laudataque virtus
Crescit, et immensum gloria calcar habet.
I would willingly have displayed here the proud axiom: 'Nemo laeditur nisi a se ipso', had I not Ieared to
oIIend the immense number oI persons who, whenever anything goes wrong with them, are wont to exclaim, "It is
no Iault oI mine!" I cannot deprive them oI that small particle oI comIort, Ior, were it not Ior it, they would soon
Ieel hatred Ior themselves, and selI-hatred oIten leads to the Iatal idea oI selI-destruction.
As Ior myselI I always willingly acknowledge my own selI as the principal cause oI every good or oI every evil
which may beIall me; thereIore I have always Iound myselI capable oI being my own pupil, and ready to love my
teacher.
THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA
VENETIAN YEARS
EPISODE 1 CHILDHOOD
CHAPTER I
My Family PedigreeMy Childhood
Don Jacob Casanova, the illegitimate son oI Don Francisco Casanova, was a native oI Saragosa, the capital
oI Aragon, and in the year oI 1428 he carried oII Dona Anna PaloIax Irom her convent, on the day aIter she had
taken the veil. He was secretary to King AlIonso. He ran away with her to Rome, where, aIter one year oI
imprisonment, the pope, Martin III., released Anna Irom her vows, and gave them the nuptial blessing at the
instance oI Don Juan Casanova, majordomo oI the Vatican, and uncle oI Don Jacob. All the children born Irom
that marriage died in their inIancy, with the exception oI Don Juan, who, in 1475, married Donna Eleonora
Albini, by whom he had a son, Marco Antonio.
In 1481, Don Juan, having killed an oIIicer oI the king oI Naples, was compelled to leave Rome, and escaped
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to Como with his wife and his son; but having left that city to seek his fortune, he died while traveling with
Christopher Columbus in the year 1493.
Marco Antonio became a noted poet of the school of Martial, and was secretary to Cardinal Pompeo
Colonna.
The satire against Giulio de Medicis, which we find in his works, having made it necessary for him to leave
Rome, he returned to Como, where he married Abondia Rezzonica. The same Giulio de Medicis, having become
pope under the name of Clement VII, pardoned him and called him back to Rome with his wife. The city having
been taken and ransacked by the Imperialists in 1526, Marco Antonio died there from an attack of the plague;
otherwise he would have died of misery, the soldiers of Charles V. having taken all he possessed. Pierre Valerien
speaks of him in his work 'de infelicitate litteratorum'.
Three months after his death, his wife gave birth to Jacques Casanova, who died in France at a great age,
colonel in the army commanded by Farnese against Henri, king of Navarre, afterwards king of France. He had
left in the city of Parma a son who married Theresa Conti, from whom he had Jacques, who, in the year 1681,
married Anna Roli. Jacques had two sons, Jean-Baptiste and Gaetan-Joseph-Jacques. The eldest left Parma in
1712, and was never heard of; the other also went away in 1715, being only nineteen years old.
This is all I have found in my father's diary: from my mother's lips I have heard the following particulars:
Gaetan-Joseph-Jacques left his family, madly in love with an actress named Fragoletta, who performed the
chambermaids. In his poverty, he determined to earn a living by making the most of his own person. At first he
gave himself up to dancing, and five years afterwards became an actor, making himself conspicuous by his
conduct still more than by his talent.
Whether from fickleness or from jealousy, he abandoned the Fragoletta, and joined in Venice a troop of
comedians then giving performances at the Saint-Samuel Theatre. Opposite the house in which he had taken his
lodging resided a shoemaker, by name Jerome Farusi, with his wife Marzia, and Zanetta, their only daughtera
perfect beauty sixteen years of age. The young actor fell in love with this girl, succeeded in gaining her affection,
and in obtaining her consent to a runaway match. It was the only way to win her, for, being an actor, he never
could have had Marzia's consent, still less Jerome's, as in their eyes a player was a most awful individual. The
young lovers, provided with the necessary certificates and accompanied by two witnesses, presented themselves
before the Patriarch of Venice, who performed over them the marriage ceremony. Marzia, Zanetta's mother,
indulged in a good deal of exclamation, and the father died broken-hearted.
I was born nine months afterwards, on the 2nd of April, 1725.
The following April my mother left me under the care of her own mother, who had forgiven her as soon as she
had heard that my father had promised never to compel her to appear on the stage. This is a promise which all
actors make to the young girls they marry, and which they never fulfil, simply because their wives never care
much about claiming from them the performance of it. Moreover, it turned out a very fortunate thing for my
mother that she had studied for the stage, for nine years later, having been left a widow with six children, she
could not have brought them up if it had not been for the resources she found in that profession.
I was only one year old when my father left me to go to London, where he had an engagement. It was in that
great city that my mother made her first appearance on the stage, and in that city likewise that she gave birth to
my brother Francois, a celebrated painter of battles, now residing in Vienna, where he has followed his
profession since 1783.
Towards the end of the year 1728 my mother returned to Venice with her husband, and as she had become
an actress she continued her artistic life. In 1730 she was delivered of my brother Jean, who became Director of
the Academy of painting at Dresden, and died there in 1795; and during the three following years she became the
mother of two daughters, one of whom died at an early age, while the other married in Dresden, where she still
lived in 1798. I had also a posthumous brother, who became a priest; he died in Rome fifteen years ago.
Let us now come to the dawn of my existence in the character of a thinking being.
The organ of memory began to develop itself in me at the beginning of August, 1733. I had at that time
reached the age of eight years and four months. Of what may have happened to me before that period I have not
the faintest recollection. This is the circumstance.
I was standing in the corner of a room bending towards the wall, supporting my head, and my eyes fixed upon
a stream of blood flowing from my nose to the ground. My grandmother, Marzia, whose pet I was, came to me,
bathed my face with cold water, and, unknown to everyone in the house, took me with her in a gondola as far as
Muran, a thickly-populated island only half a league distant from Venice.
Alighting from the gondola, we enter a wretched hole, where we find an old woman sitting on a rickety bed,
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holding a black cat in her arms, with five or six more purring around her. The two old cronies held together a long
discourse of which, most likely, I was the subject. At the end of the dialogue, which was carried on in the patois
of Forli, the witch having received a silver ducat from my grandmother, opened a box, took me in her arms,
placed me in the box and locked me in it, telling me not to be frighteneda piece of advice which would
certainly have had the contrary effect, if I had had any wits about me, but I was stupefied. I kept myself quiet in a
corner of the box, holding a handkerchief to my nose because it was still bleeding, and otherwise very indifferent
to the uproar going on outside. I could hear in turn, laughter, weeping, singing, screams, shrieks, and knocking
against the box, but for all that I cared nought. At last I am taken out of the box; the blood stops flowing. The
wonderful old witch, after lavishing caresses upon me, takes off my clothes, lays me on the bed, burns some
drugs, gathers the smoke in a sheet which she wraps around me, pronounces incantations, takes the sheet off me,
and gives me five sugar-plums of a very agreeable taste. Then she immediately rubs my temples and the nape of
my neck with an ointment exhaling a delightful perfume, and puts my clothes on me again. She told me that my
haemorrhage would little by little leave me, provided I should never disclose to any one what she had done to
cure me, and she threatened me, on the other hand, with the loss of all my blood and with death, should I ever
breathe a word concerning those mysteries. After having thus taught me my lesson, she informed me that a
beautiful lady would pay me a visit during the following night, and that she would make me happy, on condition
that I should have sufficient control over myself never to mention to anyone my having received such a visit. Upon
this we left and returned home.
I fell asleep almost as soon as I was in bed, without giving a thought to the beautiful visitor I was to receive;
but, waking up a few hours afterwards, I saw, or fancied I saw, coming down the chimney, a dazzling woman,
with immense hoops, splendidly attired, and wearing on her head a crown set with precious stones, which
seemed to me sparkling with fire. With slow steps, but with a majestic and sweet countenance, she came forward
and sat on my bed; then taking several small boxes from her pocket, she emptied their contents over my head,
softly whispering a few words, and after giving utterance to a long speech, not a single word of which I
understood, she kissed me and disappeared the same way she had come. I soon went again to sleep.
The next morning, my grandmother came to dress me, and the moment she was near my bed, she cautioned
me to be silent, threatening me with death if I dared to say anything respecting my night's adventures. This
command, laid upon me by the only woman who had complete authority over me, and whose orders I was
accustomed to obey blindly, caused me to remember the vision, and to store it, with the seal of secrecy, in the
inmost corner of my dawning memory. I had not, however, the slightest inclination to mention the circumstances
to anyone; in the first place, because I did not suppose it would interest anybody, and in the second because I
would not have known whom to make a confidant of. My disease had rendered me dull and retired; everybody
pitied me and left me to myself; my life was considered likely to be but a short one, and as to my parents, they
never spoke to me.
After the journey to Muran, and the nocturnal visit of the fairy, I continued to have bleeding at the nose, but
less from day to day, and my memory slowly developed itself. I learned to read in less than a month.
It would be ridiculous, of course, to attribute this cure to such follies, but at the same time I think it would be
wrong to assert that they did not in any way contribute to it. As far as the apparition of the beautiful queen is
concerned, I have always deemed it to be a dream, unless it should have been some masquerade got up for the
occasion, but it is not always in the druggist's shop that are found the best remedies for severe diseases. Our
ignorance is every day proved by some wonderful phenomenon, and I believe this to be the reason why it is so
difficult to meet with a learned man entirely untainted with superstition. We know, as a matter of course, that
there never have been any sorcerers in this world, yet it is true that their power has always existed in the
estimation of those to whom crafty knaves have passed themselves off as such. 'Somnio nocturnos lemures
portentaque Thessalia vides'.
Many things become real which, at first, had no existence but in our imagination, and, as a natural
consequence, many facts which have been attributed to Faith may not always have been miraculous, although
they are true miracles for those who lend to Faith a boundless power.
The next circumstance of any importance to myself which I recollect happened three months after my trip to
Muran, and six weeks before my father's death. I give it to my readers only to convey some idea of the manner in
which my nature was expanding.
One day, about the middle of November, I was with my brother Francois, two years younger than I, in my
father's room, watching him attentively as he was working at optics. A large lump of crystal, round and cut into
facets, attracted my attention. I took it up, and having brought it near my eyes I was delighted to see that it
multiplied objects. The wish to possess myself of it at once got hold of me, and seeing myself unobserved I took
my opportunity and hid it in my pocket.
A few minutes after this my father looked about for his crystal, and unable to find it, he concluded that one of
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us must have taken it. My brother asserted that he had not touched it, and I, although guilty, said the same; but
my Iather, satisIied that he could not be mistaken, threatened to search us and to thrash the one who had told him
a story. I pretended to look Ior the crystal in every corner oI the room, and, watching my opportunity I slyly
slipped it in the pocket oI my brother's jacket. At Iirst I was sorry Ior what I had done, Ior I might as well have
Ieigned to Iind the crystal somewhere about the room; but the evil deed was past recall. My Iather, seeing that
we were looking in vain, lost patience, searched us, Iound the unlucky ball oI crystal in the pocket oI the innocent
boy, and inIlicted upon him the promised thrashing. Three or Iour years later I was Ioolish enough to boast beIore
my brother oI the trick I had then played on him; he never Iorgave me, and has never Iailed to take his revenge
whenever the opportunity oIIered.
However, having at a later period gone to conIession, and accused myselI to the priest oI the sin with every
circumstance surrounding it, I gained some knowledge which aIIorded me great satisIaction. My conIessor, who
was a Jesuit, told me that by that deed I had veriIied the meaning oI my Iirst name, Jacques, which, he said,
meant, in Hebrew, "supplanter," and that God had changed Ior that reason the name oI the ancient patriarch into
that oI Israel, which meant "knowing." He had deceived his brother Esau.
Six weeks aIter the above adventure my Iather was attacked with an abscess in the head which carried him oII
in a week. Dr. Zambelli Iirst gave him oppilative remedies, and, seeing his mistake, he tried to mend it by
administering castoreum, which sent his patient into convulsions and killed him. The abscess broke out through
the ear one minute aIter his death, taking its leave aIter killing him, as iI it had no longer any business with him.
My Iather departed this liIe in the very prime oI his manhood. He was only thirty-six years oI age, but he was
Iollowed to his grave by the regrets oI the public, and more particularly oI all the patricians amongst whom he
was held as above his proIession, not less on account oI his gentlemanly behaviour than on account oI his
extensive knowledge in mechanics.
Two days beIore his death, Ieeling that his end was at hand, my Iather expressed a wish to see us all around
his bed, in the presence oI his wiIe and oI the Messieurs Grimani, three Venetian noblemen whose protection he
wished to entreat in our Iavour. AIter giving us his blessing, he requested our mother, who was drowned in tears,
to give her sacred promise that she would not educate any oI us Ior the stage, on which he never would have
appeared himselI had he not been led to it by an unIortunate attachment. My mother gave her promise, and the
three noblemen said that they would see to its being IaithIully kept. Circumstances helped our mother to IulIill her
word.
At that time my mother had been pregnant Ior six months, and she was allowed to remain away Irom the stage
until aIter Easter. BeautiIul and young as she was, she declined all the oIIers oI marriage which were made to her,
and, placing her trust in Providence, she courageously devoted herselI to the task oI bringing up her young Iamily.
She considered it a duty to think oI me beIore the others, not so much Irom a Ieeling oI preIerence as in
consequence oI my disease, which had such an eIIect upon me that it was diIIicult to know what to do with me. I
was very weak, without any appetite, unable to apply myselI to anything, and I had all the appearance oI an idiot.
Physicians disagreed as to the cause oI the disease. He loses, they would say, two pounds oI blood every week;
yet there cannot be more than sixteen or eighteen pounds in his body. What, then, can cause so abundant a
bleeding? One asserted that in me all the chyle turned into blood; another was oI opinion that the air I was
breathing must, at each inhalation, increase the quantity oI blood in my lungs, and contended that this was the
reason Ior which I always kept my mouth open. I heard oI it all six years aIterward Irom M. BaIIo, a great Iriend
oI my late Iather.
This M. BaIIo consulted the celebrated Doctor Macop, oI Padua, who sent him his opinion by writing. This
consultation, which I have still in my possession, says that our blood is an elastic Iluid which is liable to diminish
or to increase in thickness, but never in quantity, and that my haemorrhage could only proceed Irom the thickness
oI the mass oI my blood, which relieved itselI in a natural way in order to Iacilitate circulation. The doctor added
that I would have died long beIore, had not nature, in its wish Ior liIe, assisted itselI, and he concluded by stating
that the cause oI the thickness oI my blood could only be ascribed to the air I was breathing and that
consequently I must have a change oI air, or every hope oI cure be abandoned. He thought likewise, that the
stupidity so apparent on my countenance was caused by nothing else but the thickness oI my blood.
M. BaIIo, a man oI sublime genius, a most lascivious, yet a great and original poet, was thereIore instrumental
in bringing about the decision which was then taken to send me to Padua, and to him I am indebted Ior my liIe.
He died twenty years aIter, the last oI his ancient patrician Iamily, but his poems, although obscene, will give
everlasting Iame to his name. The state-inquisitors oI Venice have contributed to his celebrity by their mistaken
strictness. Their persecutions caused his manuscript works to become precious. They ought to have been aware
that despised things are Iorgotten.
As soon as the verdict given by ProIessor Macop had been approved oI, the Abbe Grimani undertook to Iind
a good boarding-house in Padua Ior me, through a chemist oI his acquaintance who resided in that city. His name
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was Ottaviani, and he was also an antiquarian oI some repute. In a Iew days the boarding-house was Iound, and
on the 2nd day oI April, 1734, on the very day I had accomplished my ninth year, I was taken to Padua in a
'burchiello', along the Brenta Canal. We embarked at ten o'clock in the evening, immediately aIter supper.
The 'burchiello' may be considered a small Iloating house. There is a large saloon with a smaller cabin at each
end, and rooms Ior servants Iore and aIt. It is a long square with a rooI, and cut on each side by glazed windows
with shutters. The voyage takes eight hours. M. Grimani, M. BaIIo, and my mother accompanied me. I slept with
her in the saloon, and the two Iriends passed the night in one oI the cabins. My mother rose at day break,
opened one oI the windows Iacing the bed, and the rays oI the rising sun, Ialling on my eyes, caused me to open
them. The bed was too low Ior me to see the land; I could see through the window only the tops oI the trees
along the river. The boat was sailing with such an even movement that I could not realize the Iact oI our moving,
so that the trees, which, one aIter the other, were rapidly disappearing Irom my sight, caused me an extreme
surprise. "Ah, dear mother!" I exclaimed, "what is this? the trees are walking!" At that very moment the two
noblemen came in, and reading astonishment on my countenance, they asked me what my thoughts were so busy
about. "How is it," I answered, "that the trees are walking."
They all laughed, but my mother, heaving a great sigh, told me, in a tone oI deep pity, "The boat is moving, the
trees are not. Now dress yourselI."
I understood at once the reason oI the phenomenon. "Then it may be," said I, "that the sun does not move, and
that we, on the contrary, are revolving Irom west to east." At these words my good mother Iairly screamed. M.
Grimani pitied my Ioolishness, and I remained dismayed, grieved, and ready to cry. M. BaIIo brought me liIe
again. He rushed to me, embraced me tenderly, and said, "Thou are right, my child. The sun does not move; take
courage, give heed to your reasoning powers and let others laugh."
My mother, greatly surprised, asked him whether he had taken leave oI his senses to give me such lessons; but
the philosopher, not even condescending to answer her, went on sketching a theory in harmony with my young
and simple intelligence. This was the Iirst real pleasure I enjoyed in my liIe. Had it not been Ior M. BaIIo, this
circumstance might have been enough to degrade my understanding; the weakness oI credulity would have
become part oI my mind. The ignorance oI the two others would certainly have blunted in me the edge oI a
Iaculty which, perhaps, has not carried me very Iar in my aIter liIe, but to which alone I Ieel that I am indebted Ior
every particle oI happiness I enjoy when I look into myselI.
We reached Padua at an early hour and went to Ottaviani's house; his wiIe loaded me with caresses. I Iound
there Iive or six children, amongst them a girl oI eight years, named Marie, and another oI seven, Rose, beautiIul
as a seraph. Ten years later Marie became the wiIe oI the broker Colonda, and Rose, a Iew years aIterwards,
married a nobleman, Pierre Marcello, and had one son and two daughters, one oI whom was wedded to M.
Pierre Moncenigo, and the other to a nobleman oI the Carrero Iamily. This last marriage was aIterwards nulliIied.
I shall have, in the course oI events, to speak oI all these persons, and that is my reason Ior mentioning their
names here.
Ottaviani took us at once to the house where I was to board. It was only a Iew yards Irom his own residence,
at Sainte-Marie d'Advance, in the parish oI Saint-Michel, in the house oI an old Sclavonian woman, who let the
Iirst Iloor to Signora Mida, wiIe oI a Sclavonian colonel. My small trunk was laid open beIore the old woman, to
whom was handed an inventory oI all its contents, together with six sequins Ior six months paid in advance. For
this small sum she undertook to Ieed me, to keep me clean, and to send me to a day-school. Protesting that it
was not enough, she accepted these terms. I was kissed and strongly commanded to be always obedient and
docile, and I was leIt with her.
In this way did my Iamily get rid oI me.
CHAPER II
My Grandmother Comes to Padua, and Takes Me to Dr. Gozzi's
SchoolMy First Love Affair
As soon as I was leIt alone with the Sclavonian woman, she took me up to the garret, where she pointed out
my bed in a row with Iour others, three oI which belonged to three young boys oI my age, who at that moment
were at school, and the Iourth to a servant girl whose province it was to watch us and to prevent the many
peccadilloes in which school-boys are wont to indulge. AIter this visit we came downstairs, and I was taken to
the garden with permission to walk about until dinner-time.
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I Ielt neither happy nor unhappy; I had nothing to say. I had neither Iear nor hope, nor even a Ieeling oI
curiosity; I was neither cheerIul nor sad. The only thing which grated upon me was the Iace oI the mistress oI the
house. Although I had not the Iaintest idea either oI beauty or oI ugliness, her Iace, her countenance, her tone oI
voice, her language, everything in that woman was repulsive to me. Her masculine Ieatures repelled me every
time I liIted my eyes towards her Iace to listen to what she said to me. She was tall and coarse like a trooper; her
complexion was yellow, her hair black, her eyebrows long and thick, and her chin gloried in a respectable bristly
beard: to complete the picture, her hideous, halI-naked bosom was hanging halI-way down her long chest; she
may have been about IiIty. The servant was a stout country girl, who did all the work oI the house; the garden
was a square oI some thirty Ieet, which had no other beauty than its green appearance.
Towards noon my three companions came back Irom school, and they at once spoke to me as iI we had been
old acquaintances, naturally giving me credit Ior such intelligence as belonged to my age, but which I did not
possess. I did not answer them, but they were not baIIled, and they at last prevailed upon me to share their
innocent pleasures. I had to run, to carry and be carried, to turn head over heels, and I allowed myselI to be
initiated into those arts with a pretty good grace until we were summoned to dinner. I sat down to the table; but
seeing beIore me a wooden spoon, I pushed it back, asking Ior my silver spoon and Iork to which I was much
attached, because they were a giIt Irom my good old granny. The servant answered that the mistress wished to
maintain equality between the boys, and I had to submit, much to my disgust. Having thus learned that equality in
everything was the rule oI the house, I went to work like the others and began to eat the soup out oI the common
dish, and iI I did not complain oI the rapidity with which my companions made it disappear, I could not help
wondering at such inequality being allowed. To Iollow this very poor soup, we had a small portion oI dried cod
and one apple each, and dinner was over: it was in Lent. We had neither glasses nor cups, and we all helped
ourselves out oI the same earthen pitcher to a miserable drink called graspia, which is made by boiling in water
the stems oI grapes stripped oI their Iruit. From the Iollowing day I drank nothing but water. This way oI living
surprised me, Ior I did not know whether I had a right to complain oI it. AIter dinner the servant took me to the
school, kept by a young priest, Doctor Gozzi, with whom the Sclavonian woman had bargained Ior my schooling
at the rate oI Iorty sous a month, or the eleventh part oI a sequin.
The Iirst thing to do was to teach me writing, and I was placed amongst children oI Iive and six years, who did
not Iail to turn me into ridicule on account oI my age.
On my return to the boarding-house I had my supper, which, as a matter oI course, was worse than the
dinner, and I could not make out why the right oI complaint should be denied me. I was then put to bed, but
there three well-known species oI vermin kept me awake all night, besides the rats, which, running all over the
garret, jumped on my bed and Iairly made my blood run cold with Iright. This is the way in which I began to Ieel
misery, and to learn how to suIIer it patiently. The vermin, which Ieasted upon me, lessened my Iear oI the rats,
and by a very lucky system oI compensation, the dread oI the rats made me less sensitive to the bites oI the
vermin. My mind was reaping beneIit Irom the very struggle Iought between the evils which surrounded me. The
servant was perIectly deaI to my screaming.
As soon as it was daylight I ran out oI the wretched garret, and, aIter complaining to the girl oI all I had
endured during the night, I asked her to give me a Clean shirt, the one I had on being disgusting to look at, but
she answered that I could only change my linen on a Sunday, and laughed at me when I threatened to complain
to the mistress. For the Iirst time in my liIe I shed tears oI sorrow and oI anger, when I heard my companions
scoIIing at me. The poor wretches shared my unhappy condition, but they were used to it, and that makes all the
diIIerence.
Sorely depressed, I went to school, but only to sleep soundly through the morning. One oI my comrades, in
the hope oI turning the aIIair into ridicule at my expense, told the doctor the reason oI my being so sleepy. The
good priest, however, to whom without doubt Providence had guided me, called me into his private room,
listened to all I had to say, saw with his own eyes the prooIs oI my misery, and moved by the sight oI the blisters
which disIigured my innocent skin, he took up his cloak, went with me to my boarding-house, and shewed the
woman the state I was in. She put on a look oI great astonishment, and threw all the blame upon the servant. The
doctor being curious to see my bed, I was, as much as he was, surprised at the Iilthy state oI the sheets in which I
had passed the night. The accursed woman went on blaming the servant, and said that she would discharge her;
but the girl, happening to be close by, and not relishing the accusation, told her boldly that the Iault was her own,
and she then threw open the beds oI my companions to shew us that they did not experience any better
treatment. The mistress, raving, slapped her on the Iace, and the servant, to be even with her, returned the
compliment and ran away. The doctor leIt me there, saying that I could not enter his school unless I was sent to
him as clean as the other boys. The result Ior me was a very sharp rebuke, with the threat, as a Iinishing stroke,
that iI I ever caused such a broil again, I would be ignominiously turned out oI the house.
I could not make it out; I had just entered liIe, and I had no knowledge oI any other place but the house in
which I had been born, in which I had been brought up, and in which I had always seen cleanliness and honest
comIort. Here I Iound myselI ill-treated, scolded, although it did not seem possible that any blame could be
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attached to me. At last the old shrew tossed a shirt in my Iace, and an hour later I saw a new servant changing
the sheets, aIter which we had our dinner.
My schoolmaster took particular care in instructing me. He gave me a seat at his own desk, and in order to
shew my proper appreciation oI such a Iavour, I gave myselI up to my studies; at the end oI the Iirst month I
could write so well that I was promoted to the grammar class.
The new liIe I was leading, the halI-starvation system to which I was condemned, and most likely more than
everything else, the air oI Padua, brought me health such as I had never enjoyed beIore, but that very state oI
blooming health made it still more diIIicult Ior me to bear the hunger which I was compelled to endure; it became
unbearable. I was growing rapidly; I enjoyed nine hours oI deep sleep, unbroken by any dreams, save that I
always Iancied myselI sitting at a well-spread table, and gratiIying my cruel appetite, but every morning I could
realize in Iull the vanity and the unpleasant disappointment oI Ilattering dreams! This ravenous appetite would at
last have weakened me to death, had I not made up my mind to pounce upon, and to swallow, every kind oI
eatables I could Iind, whenever I was certain oI not being seen.
Necessity begets ingenuity. I had spied in a cupboard oI the kitchen some IiIty red herrings; I devoured them
all one aIter the other, as well as all the sausages which were hanging in the chimney to be smoked; and in order
to accomplish those Ieats without being detected, I was in the habit oI getting up at night and oI undertaking my
Ioraging expeditions under the Iriendly veil oI darkness. Every new-laid egg I could discover in the poultry-yard,
quite warm and scarcely dropped by the hen, was a most delicious treat. I would even go as Iar as the kitchen oI
the schoolmaster in the hope oI pilIering something to eat.
The Sclavonian woman, in despair at being unable to catch the thieves, turned away servant aIter servant. But,
in spite oI all my expeditions, as I could not always Iind something to steal, I was as thin as a walking skeleton.
My progress at school was so rapid during Iour or Iive months that the master promoted me to the rank oI
dux. My province was to examine the lessons oI my thirty school-Iellows, to correct their mistakes and report to
the master with whatever note oI blame or oI approval I thought they deserved; but my strictness did not last
long, Ior idle boys soon Iound out the way to enlist my sympathy. When their Latin lesson was Iull oI mistakes,
they would buy me oII with cutlets and roast chickens; they even gave me money. These proceedings excited my
covetousness, or, rather, my gluttony, and, not satisIied with levying a tax upon the ignorant, I became a tyrant,
and I reIused well-merited approbation to all those who declined paying the contribution I demanded. At last,
unable to bear my injustice any longer, the boys accused me, and the master, seeing me convicted oI extortion,
removed me Irom my exalted position. I would very likely have Iared badly aIter my dismissal, had not Fate
decided to put an end to my cruel apprenticeship.
Doctor Gozzi, who was attached to me, called me privately one day into his study, and asked me whether I
would Ieel disposed to carry out the advice he would give me in order to bring about my removal Irom the house
oI the Sclavonian woman, and my admission in his own Iamily. Finding me delighted at such an oIIer, he caused
me to copy three letters which I sent, one to the Abbe Grimani, another to my Iriend BaIIo, and the last to my
excellent grandam. The halI-year was nearly out, and my mother not being in Venice at that period there was no
time to lose.
In my letters I gave a description oI all my suIIerings, and I prognosticated my death were I not immediately
removed Irom my boarding-house and placed under the care oI my school-master, who was disposed to receive
me; but he wanted two sequins a month.
M. Grimani did not answer me, and commissioned his Iriend Ottaviani to scold me Ior allowing myselI to be
ensnared by the doctor; but M. BaIIo went to consult with my grandmother, who could not write, and in a letter
which he addressed to me he inIormed me that I would soon Iind myselI in a happier situation. And, truly, within
a week the excellent old woman, who loved me until her death, made her appearance as I was sitting down to
my dinner. She came in with the mistress oI the house, and the moment I saw her I threw my arms around her
neck, crying bitterly, in which luxury the old lady soon joined me. She sat down and took me on her knees; my
courage rose again. In the presence oI the Sclavonian woman I enumerated all my grievances, and aIter calling
her attention to the Iood, Iit only Ior beggars, which I was compelled to swallow, I took her upstairs to shew her
my bed. I begged her to take me out and give me a good dinner aIter six months oI such starvation. The
boarding-house keeper boldly asserted that she could not aIIord better Ior the amount she had received, and
there was truth in that, but she had no business to keep house and to become the tormentor oI poor children who
were thrown on her hands by stinginess, and who required to be properly Ied.
My grandmother very quietly intimated her intention to take me away Iorthwith, and asked her to put all my
things in my trunk. I cannot express my joy during these preparations. For the Iirst time I Ielt that kind oI
happiness which makes Iorgiveness compulsory upon the being who enjoys it, and causes him to Iorget all
previous unpleasantness. My grandmother took me to the inn, and dinner was served, but she could hardly eat
anything in her astonishment at the voracity with which I was swallowing my Iood. In the meantime Doctor Gozzi,
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to whom she had sent notice oI her arrival, came in, and his appearance soon prepossessed her in his Iavour. He
was then a Iine-looking priest, twenty-six years oI age, chubby, modest, and respectIul. In less than a quarter oI
an hour everything was satisIactorily arranged between them. The good old lady counted out twenty-Iour sequins
Ior one year oI my schooling, and took a receipt Ior the same, but she kept me with her Ior three days in order to
have me clothed like a priest, and to get me a wig, as the Iilthy state oI my hair made it necessary to have it all cut
oII.
At the end oI the three days she took me to the doctor's house, so as to see herselI to my installation and to
recommend me to the doctor's mother, who desired her to send or to buy in Padua a bedstead and bedding; but
the doctor having remarked that, his own bed being very wide, I might sleep with him, my grandmother
expressed her gratitude Ior all his kindness, and we accompanied her as Iar as the burchiello she had engaged to
return to Venice.
The Iamily oI Doctor Gozzi was composed oI his mother, who had great reverence Ior him, because, a
peasant by birth, she did not think herselI worthy oI having a son who was a priest, and still more a doctor in
divinity; she was plain, old, and cross; and oI his Iather, a shoemaker by trade, working all day long and never
addressing a word to anyone, not even during the meals. He only became a sociable being on holidays, on which
occasions he would spend his time with his Iriends in some tavern, coming home at midnight as drunk as a lord
and singing verses Irom Tasso. When in this blissIul state the good man could not make up his mind to go to bed,
and became violent iI anyone attempted to compel him to lie down. Wine alone gave him sense and spirit, Ior
when sober he was incapable oI attending to the simplest Iamily matter, and his wiIe oIten said that he never
would have married her had not his Iriends taken care to give him a good breakIast beIore he went to the church.
But Doctor Gozzi had also a sister, called Bettina, who at the age oI thirteen was pretty, lively, and a great
reader oI romances. Her Iather and mother scolded her constantly because she was too oIten looking out oI the
window, and the doctor did the same on account oI her love Ior reading. This girl took at once my Iancy without
my knowing why, and little by little she kindled in my heart the Iirst spark oI a passion which, aIterwards became
in me the ruling one.
Six months aIter I had been an inmate in the house, the doctor Iound himselI without scholars; they all went
away because I had become the sole object oI his aIIection. He then determined to establish a college, and to
receive young boys as boarders; but two years passed beIore he met with any success. During that period he
taught me everything he knew; true, it was not much; yet it was enough to open to me the high road to all
sciences. He likewise taught me the violin, an accomplishment which proved very useIul to me in a peculiar
circumstance, the particulars oI which I will give in good time. The excellent doctor, who was in no way a
philosopher, made me study the logic oI the Peripatetics, and the cosmography oI the ancient system oI Ptolemy,
at which I would laugh, teasing the poor doctor with theorems to which he could Iind no answer. His habits,
moreover, were irreproachable, and in all things connected with religion, although no bigot, he was oI the greatest
strictness, and, admitting everything as an article oI Iaith, nothing appeared diIIicult to his conception. He believed
the deluge to have been universal, and he thought that, beIore that great cataclysm, men lived a thousand years
and conversed with God, that Noah took one hundred years to build the ark, and that the earth, suspended in the
air, is Iirmly held in the very centre oI the universe which God had created Irom nothing. When I would say and
prove that it was absurd to believe in the existence oI nothingness, he would stop me short and call me a Iool.
He could enjoy a good bed, a glass oI wine, and cheerIulness at home. He did not admire Iine wits, good jests
or criticism, because it easily turns to slander, and he would laugh at the Iolly oI men reading newspapers which,
in his opinion, always lied and constantly repeated the same things. He asserted that nothing was more
troublesome than incertitude, and thereIore he condemned thought because it gives birth to doubt.
His ruling passion was preaching, Ior which his Iace and his voice qualiIied him; his congregation was almost
entirely composed oI women oI whom, however, he was the sworn enemy; so much so, that he would not look
them in the Iace even when he spoke to them. Weakness oI the Ilesh and Iornication appeared to him the most
monstrous oI sins, and he would be very angry iI I dared to assert that, in my estimation, they were the most
venial oI Iaults. His sermons were crammed with passages Irom the Greek authors, which he translated into
Latin. One day I ventured to remark that those passages ought to be translated into Italian because women did
not understand Latin any more than Greek, but he took oIIence, and I never had aIterwards the courage to allude
any more to the matter. Moreover he praised me to his Iriends as a wonder, because I had learned to read
Greek alone, without any assistance but a grammar.
During Lent, in the year 1736, my mother, wrote to the doctor; and, as she was on the point oI her departure
Ior St. Petersburg, she wished to see me, and requested him to accompany me to Venice Ior three or Iour days.
This invitation set him thinking, Ior he had never seen Venice, never Irequented good company, and yet he did
not wish to appear a novice in anything. We were soon ready to leave Padua, and all the Iamily escorted us to
the 'burchiello'.
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My mother received the doctor with a most Iriendly welcome; but she was strikingly beautiIul, and my poor
master Ielt very uncomIortable, not daring to look her in the Iace, and yet called upon to converse with her. She
saw the dilemma he was in, and thought she would have some amusing sport about it should opportunity present
itselI. I, in the meantime, drew the attention oI everyone in her circle; everybody had known me as a Iool, and
was amazed at my improvement in the short space oI two years. The doctor was overjoyed, because he saw that
the Iull credit oI my transIormation was given to him.
The Iirst thing which struck my mother unpleasantly was my light-coloured wig, which was not in harmony with
my dark complexion, and contrasted most woeIully with my black eyes and eyebrows. She inquired Irom the
doctor why I did not wear my own hair, and he answered that, with a wig, it was easier Ior his sister to keep me
clean. Everyone smiled at the simplicity oI the answer, but the merriment increased when, to the question made
by my mother whether his sister was married, I took the answer upon myselI, and said that Bettina was the
prettiest girl oI Padua, and was only Iourteen years oI age. My mother promised the doctor a splendid present
Ior his sister on condition that she would let me wear my own hair, and he promised that her wishes would be
complied with. The peruke-maker was then called, and I had a wig which matched my complexion.
Soon aIterwards all the guests began to play cards, with the exception oI my master, and I went to see my
brothers in my grandmother's room. Francois shewed me some architectural designs which I pretended to
admire; Jean had nothing to skew me, and I thought him a rather insigniIicant boy. The others were still very
young.
At the supper-table, the doctor, seated next to my mother, was very awkward. He would very likely not have
said one word, had not an Englishman, a writer oI talent, addressed him in Latin; but the doctor, being unable to
make him out, modestly answered that he did not understand English, which caused much hilarity. M. BaIIo,
however, explained the puzzle by telling us that Englishmen read and pronounced Latin in the same way that they
read and spoke their own language, and I remarked that Englishmen were wrong as much as we would be, iI we
pretended to read and to pronounce their language according to Latin rules. The Englishman, pleased with my
reasoning, wrote down the Iollowing old couplet, and gave it to me to read:
'Dicie, gammaici, c macla nomina cnn,
E c feminem menla nomen habe.'
AIter reading it aloud, I exclaimed, "This is Latin indeed."
"We know that," said my mother, "but can you explain it?"
"To explain it is not enough," I answered; "it is a question which is worthy oI an answer." And aIter considering
Ior a moment, I wrote the Iollowing pentameter:
'Dice od a domino nomina e habe.'
This was my Iirst literary exploit, and I may say that in that very instant the seed oI my love Ior literary Iame
was sown in my breast, Ior the applause lavished upon me exalted me to the very pinnacle oI happiness. The
Englishman, quite amazed at my answer, said that no boy oI eleven years had ever accomplished such a Ieat,
embraced me repeatedly, and presented me with his watch. My mother, inquisitive like a woman, asked M.
Grimani to tell her the meaning oI the lines, but as the abbe was not any wiser than she was M. BaIIo translated it
in a whisper. Surprised at my knowledge, she rose Irom her chair to get a valuable gold watch and presented to
my master, who, not knowing how to express his deep gratitude, treated us to the most comic scene. My
mother, in order to save him Irom the diIIiculty oI paying her a compliment, oIIered him her cheek. He had only
to give her a couple oI kisses, the easiest and the most innocent thing in good company; but the poor man was on
burning coals, and so completely out oI countenance that he would, I truly believe, rather have died than give the
kisses. He drew back with his head down, and he was allowed to remain in peace until we retired Ior the night.
When we Iound ourselves alone in our room, he poured out his heart, and exclaimed that it was a pity he
could not publish in Padua the distich and my answer.
"And why not?" I said.
"Because both are obscene."
"But they are sublime."
"Let us go to bed and speak no more on the subject. Your answer was wonderIul, because you cannot
possibly know anything oI the subject in question, or oI the manner in which verses ought to be written."
As Iar as the subject was concerned, I knew it by theory; Ior, unknown to the doctor, and because he had
Iorbidden it, I had read Meursius, but it was natural that he should be amazed at my being able to write verses,
when he, who had taught me prosody, never could compose a single line. 'Nemo dat quod non habet' is a Ialse
axiom when applied to mental acquirements.
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Four days aIterwards, as we were preparing Ior our departure, my mother gave me a parcel Ior Bettina, and
M. Grimani presented me with Iour sequins to buy books. A week later my mother leIt Ior St. Petersburg.
AIter our return to Padua, my good master Ior three or Iour months never ceased to speak oI my mother, and
Bettina, having Iound in the parcel Iive yards oI black silk and twelve pairs oI gloves, became singularly attached
to me, and took such good care oI my hair that in less than six months I was able to give up wearing the wig. She
used to comb my hair every morning, oIten beIore I was out oI bed, saying that she had not time to wait until I
was dressed. She washed my Iace, my neck, my chest; lavished on me childish caresses which I thought
innocent, but which caused me to, be angry with myselI, because I Ielt that they excited me. Three years younger
than she was, it seemed to me that she could not love me with any idea oI mischieI, and the consciousness oI my
own vicious excitement put me out oI temper with myselI. When, seated on my bed, she would say that I was
getting stouter, and would have the prooI oI it with her own hands, she caused me the most intense emotion; but I
said nothing, Ior Iear she would remark my sensitiveness, and when she would go on saying that my skin was
soIt, the tickling sensation made me draw back, angry with myselI that I did not dare to do the same to her, but
delighted at her not guessing how I longed to do it. When I was dressed, she oIten gave me the sweetest kisses,
calling me her darling child, but whatever wish I had to Iollow her example, I was not yet bold enough. AIter
some time, however, Bettina laughing at my timidity, I became more daring and returned her kisses with interest,
but I always gave way the moment I Ielt a wish to go Iurther; I then would turn my head, pretending to look Ior
something, and she would go away. She was scarcely out oI the room beIore I was in despair at not having
Iollowed the inclination oI my nature, and, astonished at the Iact that Bettina could do to me all she was in the
habit oI doing without Ieeling any excitement Irom it, while I could hardly reIrain Irom pushing my attacks Iurther,
I would every day determine to change my way oI acting.
In the early part oI autumn, the doctor received three new boarders; and one oI them, who was IiIteen years
old, appeared to me in less than a month on very Iriendly terms with Bettina.
This circumstance caused me a Ieeling oI which until then I had no idea, and which I only analyzed a Iew years
aIterwards. It was neither jealousy nor indignation, but a noble contempt which I thought ought not to be
repressed, because Cordiani, an ignorant, coarse boy, without talent or polite education, the son oI a simple
Iarmer, and incapable oI competing with me in anything, having over me but the advantage oI dawning manhood,
did not appear to me a Iit person to be preIerred to me; my young selI-esteem whispered that I was above him. I
began to nurse a Ieeling oI pride mixed with contempt which told against Bettina, whom I loved unknown to
myselI. She soon guessed it Irom the way I would receive her caresses, when she came to comb my hair while I
was in bed; I would repulse her hands, and no longer return her kisses. One day, vexed at my answering her
question as to the reason oI my change towards her by stating that I had no cause Ior it, she, told me in a tone oI
commiseration that I was jealous oI Cordiani. This reproach sounded to me like a debasing slander. I answered
that Cordiani was, in my estimation, as worthy oI her as she was worthy oI him. She went away smiling, but,
revolving in her mind the only way by which she could be revenged, she thought herselI bound to render me
jealous. However, as she could not attain such an end without making me Iall in love with her, this is the policy
she adopted.
One morning she came to me as I was in bed and brought me a pair oI white stockings oI her own knitting.
AIter dressing my hair, she asked my permission to try the stockings on herselI, in order to correct any deIiciency
in the other pairs she intended to knit Ior me. The doctor had gone out to say his mass. As she was putting on the
stocking, she remarked that my legs were not clean, and without any more ado she immediately began to wash
them. I would have been ashamed to let her see my bashIulness; I let her do as she liked, not Ioreseeing what
would happen. Bettina, seated on my bed, carried too Iar her love Ior cleanliness, and her curiosity caused me
such intense voluptuousness that the Ieeling did not stop until it could be carried no Iurther. Having recovered my
calm, I bethought myselI that I was guilty and begged her Iorgiveness. She did not expect this, and, aIter
considering Ior a Iew moments, she told me kindly that the Iault was entirely her own, but that she never would
again be guilty oI it. And she went out oI the room, leaving me to my own thoughts.
They were oI a cruel character. It seemed to me that I had brought dishonour upon Bettina, that I had
betrayed the conIidence oI her Iamily, oIIended against the sacred laws oI hospitality, that I was guilty oI a most
wicked crime, which I could only atone Ior by marrying her, in case Bettina could make up her mind to accept
Ior her husband a wretch unworthy oI her.
These thoughts led to a deep melancholy which went on increasing Irom day to day, Bettina having entirely
ceased her morning visits by my bedside. During the Iirst week, I could easily account Ior the girl's reserve, and
my sadness would soon have taken the character oI the warmest love, had not her manner towards Cordiani
inoculated in my veins the poison oI jealousy, although I never dreamed oI accusing her oI the same crime
towards him that she had committed upon me.
I Ielt convinced, aIter due consideration, that the act she had been guilty oI with me had been deliberately
done, and that her Ieelings oI repentance kept her away Irom me. This conviction was rather Ilattering to my
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vanity, as it gave me the hope oI being loved, and the end oI all my communings was that I made up my mind to
write to her, and thus to give her courage.
I composed a letter, short but calculated to restore peace to her mind, whether she thought herselI guilty, or
suspected me oI Ieelings contrary to those which her dignity might expect Irom me. My letter was, in my own
estimation, a perIect masterpiece, and just the kind oI epistle by which I was certain to conquer her very
adoration, and to sink Ior ever the sun oI Cordiani, whom I could not accept as the sort oI being likely to make
her hesitate Ior one instant in her choice between him and me. HalI-an-hour aIter the receipt oI my letter, she told
me herselI that the next morning she would pay me her usual visit, but I waited in vain. This conduct provoked
me almost to madness, but my surprise was indeed great when, at the breakIast table, she asked me whether I
would let her dress me up as a girl to accompany her Iive or six days later to a ball Ior which a neighbour oI ours,
Doctor Olivo, had sent letters oI invitation. Everybody having seconded the motion, I gave my consent. I thought
this arrangement would aIIord a Iavourable opportunity Ior an explanation, Ior mutual vindication, and would
open a door Ior the most complete reconciliation, without Iear oI any surprise arising Irom the proverbial
weakness oI the Ilesh. But a most unexpected circumstance prevented our attending the ball, and brought Iorth a
comedy with a truly tragic turn.
Doctor Gozzi's godIather, a man advanced in age, and in easy circumstances, residing in the country, thought
himselI, aIter a severe illness, very near his end, and sent to the doctor a carriage with a request to come to him
at once with his Iather, as he wished them to be present at his death, and to pray Ior his departing soul. The old
shoemaker drained a bottle, donned his Sunday clothes, and went oII with his son.
I thought this a Iavourable opportunity and determined to improve it, considering that the night oI the ball was
too remote to suit my impatience. I thereIore managed to tell Bettina that I would leave ajar the door oI my
room, and that I would wait Ior her as soon as everyone in the house had gone to bed. She promised to come.
She slept on the ground Iloor in a small closet divided only by a partition Irom her Iather's chamber; the doctor
being away, I was alone in the large room. The three boarders had their apartment in a diIIerent part oI the
house, and I had thereIore no mishap to Iear. I was delighted at the idea that I had at last reached the moment so
ardently desired.
The instant I was in my room I bolted my door and opened the one leading to the passage, so that Bettina
should have only to push it in order to come in; I then put my light out, but did not undress. When we read oI
such situations in a romance we think they are exaggerated; they are not so, and the passage in which Ariosto
represents Roger waiting Ior Alcine is a beautiIul picture painted Irom nature.
Until midnight I waited without Ieeling much anxiety; but I heard the clock strike two, three, Iour o'clock in the
morning without seeing Bettina; my blood began to boil, and I was soon in a state oI Iurious rage. It was snowing
hard, but I shook Irom passion more than Irom cold. One hour beIore day-break, unable to master any longer
my impatience, I made up my mind to go downstairs with bare Ieet, so as not to wake the dog, and to place
myselI at the bottom oI the stairs within a yard oI Bettina's door, which ought to have been opened iI she had
gone out oI her room. I reached the door; it was closed, and as it could be locked only Irom inside I imagined
that Bettina had Iallen asleep. I was on the point oI knocking at the door, but was prevented by Iear oI rousing
the dog, as Irom that door to that oI her closet there was a distance oI three or Iour yards. Overwhelmed with
grieI, and unable to take a decision, I sat down on the last step oI the stairs; but at day-break, chilled, benumbed,
shivering with cold, aIraid that the servant would see me and would think I was mad, I determined to go back to
my room. I arise, but at that very moment I hear some noise in Bettina's room. Certain that I am going to see her,
and hope lending me new strength, I draw nearer to the door. It opens; but instead oI Bettina coming out I see
Cordiani, who gives me such a Iurious kick in the stomach that I am thrown at a distance deep in the snow.
Without stopping a single instant Cordiani is oII, and locks himselI up in the room which he shared with the
brothers Feltrini.
I pick myselI up quickly with the intention oI taking my revenge upon Bettina, whom nothing could have saved
Irom the eIIects oI my rage at that moment. But I Iind her door locked; I kick vigorously against it, the dog starts
a loud barking, and I make a hurried retreat to my room, in which I lock myselI up, throwing myselI in bed to
compose and heal up my mind and body, Ior I was halI dead.
Deceived, humbled, ill-treated, an object oI contempt to the happy and triumphant Cordiani, I spent three
hours ruminating the darkest schemes oI revenge. To poison them both seemed to me but a triIle in that terrible
moment oI bitter misery. This project gave way to another as extravagant, as cowardly-namely, to go at once to
her brother and disclose everything to him. I was twelve years oI age, and my mind had not yet acquired
suIIicient coolness to mature schemes oI heroic revenge, which are produced by Ialse Ieelings oI honour; this was
only my apprenticeship in such adventures.
I was in that state oI mind when suddenly I heard outside oI my door the gruII voice oI Bettina's mother, who
begged me to come down, adding that her daughter was dying. As I would have been very sorry iI she had
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departed this liIe beIore she could Ieel the eIIects oI my revenge, I got up hurriedly and went downstairs. I Iound
Bettina lying in her Iather's bed writhing with IearIul convulsions, and surrounded by the whole Iamily. HalI
dressed, nearly bent in two, she was throwing her body now to the right, now to the leIt, striking at random with
her Ieet and with her Iists, and extricating herselI by violent shaking Irom the hands oI those who endeavoured to
keep her down.
With this sight beIore me, and the night's adventure still in my mind, I hardly knew what to think. I had no
knowledge oI human nature, no knowledge oI artiIice and tricks, and I could not understand how I Iound myselI
coolly witnessing such a scene, and composedly calm in the presence oI two beings, one oI whom I intended to
kill and the other to dishonour. At the end oI an hour Bettina Iell asleep.
A nurse and Doctor Olivo came soon aIter. The Iirst said that the convulsions were caused by hysterics, but
the doctor said no, and prescribed rest and cold baths. I said nothing, but I could not reIrain Irom laughing at
them, Ior I knew, or rather guessed, that Bettina's sickness was the result oI her nocturnal employment, or oI the
Iright which she must have Ielt at my meeting with Cordiani. At all events, I determined to postpone my revenge
until the return oI her brother, although I had not the slightest suspicion that her illness was all sham, Ior I did not
give her credit Ior so much cleverness.
To return to my room I had to pass through Bettina's closet, and seeing her dress handy on the bed I took it
into my head to search her pockets. I Iound a small note, and recognizing Cordiani's handwriting, I took
possession oI it to read it in my room. I marvelled at the girl's imprudence, Ior her mother might have discovered
it, and being unable to read would very likely have given it to the doctor, her son. I thought she must have taken
leave oI her senses, but my Ieelings may be appreciated when I read the Iollowing words: "As your Iather is away
it is not necessary to leave your door ajar as usual. When we leave the supper-table I will go to your closet; you
will Iind me there."
When I recovered Irom my stupor I gave way to an irresistible Iit oI laughter, and seeing how completely I had
been duped I thought I was cured oI my love. Cordiani appeared to me deserving oI Iorgiveness, and Bettina oI
contempt. I congratulated myselI upon having received a lesson oI such importance Ior the remainder oI my liIe. I
even went so Iar as to acknowledge to myselI that Bettina had been quite right in giving the preIerence to
Cordiani, who was IiIteen years old, while I was only a child. Yet, in spite oI my good disposition to Iorgiveness,
the kick administered by Cordiani was still heavy upon my memory, and I could not help keeping a grudge
against him.
At noon, as we were at dinner in the kitchen, where we took our meals on account oI the cold weather,
Bettina began again to raise piercing screams. Everybody rushed to her room, but I quietly kept my seat and
Iinished my dinner, aIter which I went to my studies. In the evening when I came down to supper I Iound that
Bettina's bed had been brought to the kitchen close by her mother's; but it was no concern oI mine, and I
remained likewise perIectly indiIIerent to the noise made during the night, and to the conIusion which took place
in the morning, when she had a Iresh Iit oI convulsions.
Doctor Gozzi and his Iather returned in the evening. Cordiani, who Ielt uneasy, came to inquire Irom me what
my intentions were, but I rushed towards him with an open penkniIe in my hand, and he beat a hasty retreat. I
had entirely abandoned the idea oI relating the night's scandalous adventure to the doctor, Ior such a project I
could only entertain in a moment oI excitement and rage. The next day the mother came in while we were at our
lesson, and told the doctor, aIter a lengthened preamble, that she had discovered the character oI her daughter's
illness; that it was caused by a spell thrown over her by a witch, and that she knew the witch well.
"It may be, my dear mother, but we must be careIul not to make a mistake. Who is the witch?"
"Our old servant, and I have just had a prooI oI it."
"How so?"
"I have barred the door oI my room with two broomsticks placed in the shape oI a cross, which she must have
undone to go in; but when she saw them she drew back, and she went round by the other door. It is evident that,
were she not a witch, she would not be aIraid oI touching them."
"It is not complete evidence, dear mother; send the woman to me."
The servant made her appearance.
"Why," said the doctor, "did you not enter my mother's room this morning through the usual door?"
"I do not know what you mean."
"Did you not see the St. Andrew's cross on the door?"
"What cross is that?"
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"It is useless to plead ignorance," said the mother; "where did you sleep last Thursday night?"
"At my niece's, who had just been conIined."
"Nothing oI the sort. You were at the witches' Sabbath; you are a witch, and have bewitched my daughter."
The poor woman, indignant at such an accusation, spits at her mistress's Iace; the mistress, enraged, gets hold
oI a stick to give the servant a drubbing; the doctor endeavours to keep his mother back, but he is compelled to
let her loose and to run aIter the servant, who was hurrying down the stairs, screaming and howling in order to
rouse the neighbours; he catches her, and Iinally succeeds in paciIying her with some money.
AIter this comical but rather scandalous exhibition, the doctor donned his vestments Ior the purpose oI
exorcising his sister and oI ascertaining whether she was truly possessed oI an unclean spirit. The novelty oI this
mystery attracted the whole oI my attention. All the inmates oI the house appeared to me either mad or stupid,
Ior I could not, Ior the liIe oI me, imagine that diabolical spirits were dwelling in Bettina's body. When we drew
near her bed, her breathing had, to all appearance, stopped, and the exorcisms oI her brother did not restore it.
Doctor Olivo happened to come in at that moment, and inquired whether he would be in the way; he was
answered in the negative, provided he had Iaith.
Upon which he leIt, saying that he had no Iaith in any miracles except in those oI the Gospel.
Soon aIter Doctor Gozzi went to his room, and Iinding myselI alone with Bettina I bent down over her bed
and whispered in her ear.
"Take courage, get well again, and rely upon my discretion."
She turned her head towards the wall and did not answer me, but the day passed oII without any more
convulsions. I thought I had cured her, but on the Iollowing day the Irenzy went up to the brain, and in her
delirium she pronounced at random Greek and Latin words without any meaning, and then no doubt whatever
was entertained oI her being possessed oI the evil spirit. Her mother went out and returned soon, accompanied
by the most renowned exorcist oI Padua, a very ill-Ieatured Capuchin, called Friar Prospero da Bovolenta.
The moment Bettina saw the exorcist, she burst into loud laughter, and addressed to him the most oIIensive
insults, which Iairly delighted everybody, as the devil alone could be bold enough to address a Capuchin in such a
manner; but the holy man, hearing himselI called an obtrusive ignoramus and a stinkard, went on striking Bettina
with a heavy cruciIix, saying that he was beating the devil. He stopped only when he saw her on the point oI
hurling at him the chamber utensil which she had just seized. "II it is the devil who has oIIended thee with his
words," she said, "resent the insult with words likewise, jackass that thou art, but iI I have oIIended thee myselI,
learn, stupid booby, that thou must respect me, and be oII at once."
I could see poor Doctor Gozzi blushing; the Iriar, however, held his ground, and, armed at all points, began to
read a terrible exorcism, at the end oI which he commanded the devil to state his name.
"My name is Bettina."
"It cannot be, Ior it is the name oI a baptized girl."
"Then thou art oI opinion that a devil must rejoice in a masculine name? Learn, ignorant Iriar, that a devil is a
spirit, and does not belong to either sex. But as thou believest that a devil is speaking to thee through my lips,
promise to answer me with truth, and I will engage to give way beIore thy incantations."
"Very well, I agree to this."
"Tell me, then, art thou thinking that thy knowledge is greater than mine?"
"No, but I believe myselI more powerIul in the name oI the holy Trinity, and by my sacred character."
"II thou art more powerIul than I, then prevent me Irom telling thee unpalatable truths. Thou art very vain oI thy
beard, thou art combing and dressing it ten times a day, and thou would'st not shave halI oI it to get me out oI this
body. Cut oII thy beard, and I promise to come out."
"Father oI lies, I will increase thy punishment a hundred Iold."
"I dare thee to do it."
AIter saying these words, Bettina broke into such a loud peal oI laughter, that I could not reIrain Irom joining
in it. The Capuchin, turning towards Doctor Gozzi, told him that I was wanting in Iaith, and that I ought to leave
the room; which I did, remarking that he had guessed rightly. I was not yet out oI the room when the Iriar oIIered
his hand to Bettina Ior her to kiss, and I had the pleasure oI seeing her spit upon it.
This strange girl, Iull oI extraordinary talent, made rare sport oI the Iriar, without causing any surprise to
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anyone, as all her answers were attributed to the devil. I could not conceive what her purpose was in playing
such a part.
The Capuchin dined with us, and during the meal he uttered a good deal oI nonsense. AIter dinner, he returned
to Bettina's chamber, with the intention oI blessing her, but as soon as she caught sight oI him, she took up a glass
Iull oI some black mixture sent Irom the apothecary, and threw it at his head. Cordiani, being close by the Iriar,
came in Ior a good share oI the liquid-an accident which aIIorded me the greatest delight. Bettina was quite right
to improve her opportunity, as everything she did was, oI course, put to the account oI the unIortunate devil. Not
overmuch pleased, Friar Prospero, as he leIt the house, told the doctor that there was no doubt oI the girl being
possessed, but that another exorcist must be sent Ior, since he had not, himselI, obtained God's grace to eject the
evil spirit.
AIter he had gone, Bettina kept very calm Ior six hours, and in the evening, to our great surprise, she joined us
at the supper table. She told her parents that she Ielt quite well, spoke to her brother, and then, addressing me,
she remarked that, the ball taking place on the morrow, she would come to my room in the morning to dress my
hair like a girl's. I thanked her, and said that, as she had been so ill, she ought to nurse herselI. She soon retired
to bed, and we remained at the table, talking oI her.
When I was undressing Ior the night, I took up my night-cap, and Iound in it a small note with these words:
"You must accompany me to the ball, disguised as a girl, or I will give you a sight which will cause you to weep."
I waited until the doctor was asleep, and I wrote the Iollowing answer: "I cannot go to the ball, because I have
Iully made up my mind to avoid every opportunity oI being alone with you. As Ior the painIul sight with which you
threaten to entertain me, I believe you capable oI keeping your word, but I entreat you to spare my heart, Ior I
love you as iI you were my sister. I have Iorgiven you, dear Bettina, and I wish to Iorget everything. I enclose a
note which you must be delighted to have again in your possession. You see what risk you were running when
you leIt it in your pocket. This restitution must convince you oI my Iriendship."
CHAPER III
Bettina Is Supposed to Go MadFather ManciaThe Small-pox
I Leave Padua
Bettina must have been in despair, not knowing into whose hands her letter had Iallen; to return it to her and
thus to allay her anxiety, was thereIore a great prooI oI Iriendship; but my generosity, at the same time that it
Ireed her Irom a keen sorrow, must have caused her another quite as dreadIul, Ior she knew that I was master oI
her secret. Cordiani's letter was perIectly explicit; it gave the strongest evidence that she was in the habit oI
receiving him every night, and thereIore the story she had prepared to deceive me was useless. I Ielt it was so,
and, being disposed to calm her anxiety as Iar as I could, I went to her bedside in the morning, and I placed in
her hands Cordiani's note and my answer to her letter.
The girl's spirit and talent had won my esteem; I could no longer despise her; I saw in her only a poor creature
seduced by her natural temperament. She loved man, and was to be pitied only on account oI the consequences.
Believing that the view I took oI the situation was a right one, I had resigned myselI like a reasonable being, and
not like a disappointed lover. The shame was Ior her and not Ior me. I had only one wish, namely, to Iind out
whether the two brothers Feltrini, Cordiani's companions, had likewise shared Bettina's Iavours.
Bettina put on throughout the day a cheerIul and happy look. In the evening she dressed herselI Ior the ball;
but suddenly an attack oI sickness, whether Ieigned or real I did not know, compelled her to go to bed, and
Irightened everybody in the house. As Ior myselI, knowing the whole aIIair, I was prepared Ior new scenes, and
indeed Ior sad ones, Ior I Ielt that I had obtained over her a power repugnant to her vanity and selI-love. I must,
however, conIess that, in spite oI the excellent school in which I Iound myselI beIore I had attained manhood,
and which ought to have given me experience as a shield Ior the Iuture, I have through the whole oI my liIe been
the dupe oI women. Twelve years ago, iI it had not been Ior my guardian angel, I would have Ioolishly married a
young, thoughtless girl, with whom I had Iallen in love: Now that I am seventy-two years old I believe myselI no
longer susceptible oI such Iollies; but, alas! that is the very thing which causes me to be miserable.
The next day the whole Iamily was deeply grieved because the devil oI whom Bettina was possessed had
made himselI master oI her reason. Doctor Gozzi told me that there could not be the shadow oI a doubt that his
unIortunate sister was possessed, as, iI she had only been mad, she never would have so cruelly ill-treated the
Capuchin, Prospero, and he determined to place her under the care oI Father Mancia.
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This Mancia was a celebrated Jacobin (or Dominican) exorcist, who enjoyed the reputation oI never having
Iailed to cure a girl possessed oI the demon.
Sunday had come; Bettina had made a good dinner, but she had been Irantic all through the day. Towards
midnight her Iather came home, singing Tasso as usual, and so drunk that he could not stand. He went up to
Bettina's bed, and aIter kissing her aIIectionately he said to her: "Thou art not mad, my girl."
Her answer was that he was not drunk.
"Thou art possessed oI the devil, my dear child."
"Yes, Iather, and you alone can cure me."
"Well, I am ready."
Upon this our shoemaker begins a theological discourse, expatiating upon the power oI Iaith and upon the
virtue oI the paternal blessing. He throws oII his cloak, takes a cruciIix with one hand, places the other over the
head oI his daughter, and addresses the devil in such an amusing way that even his wiIe, always a stupid, dull,
cross-grained old woman, had to laugh till the tears came down her cheeks. The two perIormers in the comedy
alone were not laughing, and their serious countenance added to the Iun oI the perIormance. I marvelled at
Bettina (who was always ready to enjoy a good laugh) having suIIicient control over herselI to remain calm and
grave. Doctor Gozzi had also given way to merriment; but begged that the Iarce should come to an end, Ior he
deemed that his Iather's eccentricities were as many proIanations against the sacredness oI exorcism. At last the
exorcist, doubtless tired out, went to bed saying that he was certain that the devil would not disturb his daughter
during the night.
On the morrow, just as we had Iinished our breakIast, Father Mancia made his appearance. Doctor Gozzi,
Iollowed by the whole Iamily, escorted him to his sister's bedside. As Ior me, I was entirely taken up by the Iace
oI the monk. Here is his portrait. His Iigure was tall and majestic, his age about thirty; he had light hair and blue
eyes; his Ieatures were those oI Apollo, but without his pride and assuming haughtiness; his complexion, dazzling
white, was pale, but that paleness seemed to have been given Ior the very purpose oI showing oII the red coral oI
his lips, through which could be seen, when they opened, two rows oI pearls. He was neither thin nor stout, and
the habitual sadness oI his countenance enhanced its sweetness. His gait was slow, his air timid, an indication oI
the great modesty oI his mind.
When we entered the room Bettina was asleep, or pretended to be so. Father Mancia took a sprinkler and
threw over her a Iew drops oI holy water; she opened her eyes, looked at the monk, and closed them
immediately; a little while aIter she opened them again, had a better look at him, laid herselI on her back, let her
arms droop down gently, and with her head prettily bent on one side she Iell into the sweetest oI slumbers.
The exorcist, standing by the bed, took out his pocket ritual and the stole which he put round his neck, then a
reliquary, which he placed on the bosom oI the sleeping girl, and with the air oI a saint he begged all oI us to Iall
on our knees and to pray, so that God should let him know whether the patient was possessed or only labouring
under a natural disease. He kept us kneeling Ior halI an hour, reading all the time in a low tone oI voice. Bettina
did not stir.
Tired, I suppose, oI the perIormance, he desired to speak privately with Doctor Gozzi. They passed into the
next room, out oI which they emerged aIter a quarter oI an hour, brought back by a loud peal oI laughter Irom
the mad girl, who, when she saw them, turned her back on them. Father Mancia smiled, dipped the sprinkler
over and over in the holy water, gave us all a generous shower, and took his leave.
Doctor Gozzi told us that the exorcist would come again on the morrow, and that he had promised to deliver
Bettina within three hours iI she were truly possessed oI the demon, but that he made no promise iI it should turn
out to be a case oI madness. The mother exclaimed that he would surely deliver her, and she poured out her
thanks to God Ior having allowed her the grace oI beholding a saint beIore her death.
The Iollowing day Bettina was in a Iine Irenzy. She began to utter the most extravagant speeches that a poet
could imagine, and did not stop when the charming exorcist came into her room; he seemed to enjoy her Ioolish
talk Ior a Iew minutes, aIter which, having armed himselI 'cap-a-pie', he begged us to withdraw. His order was
obeyed instantly; we leIt the chamber, and the door remained open. But what did it matter? Who would have
been bold enough to go in?
During three long hours we heard nothing; the stillness was unbroken. At noon the monk called us in. Bettina
was there sad and very quiet while the exorcist packed up his things. He took his departure, saying he had very
good hopes oI the case, and requesting that the doctor would send him news oI the patient. Bettina partook oI
dinner in her bed, got up Ior supper, and the next day behaved herselI rationally; but the Iollowing circumstance
strengthened my opinion that she had been neither insane nor possessed.
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It was two days beIore the PuriIication oI the Holy Virgin. Doctor Gozzi was in the habit oI giving us the
sacrament in his own church, but he always sent us Ior our conIession to the church oI Saint-Augustin, in which
the Jacobins oI Padua oIIiciated. At the supper table, he told us to prepare ourselves Ior the next day, and his
mother, addressing us, said: "You ought, all oI you, to conIess to Father Mancia, so as to obtain absolution Irom
that holy man. I intend to go to him myselI." Cordiani and the two Feltrini agreed to the proposal; I remained
silent, but as the idea was unpleasant to me, I concealed the Ieeling, with a Iull determination to prevent the
execution oI the project.
I had entire conIidence in the secrecy oI conIession, and I was incapable oI making a Ialse one, but knowing
that I had a right to choose my conIessor, I most certainly never would have been so simple as to conIess to
Father Mancia what had taken place between me and a girl, because he would have easily guessed that the girl
could be no other but Bettina. Besides, I was satisIied that Cordiani would conIess everything to the monk, and I
was deeply sorry.
Early the next morning, Bettina brought me a band Ior my neck, and gave me the Iollowing letter: "Spurn me,
but respect my honour and the shadow oI peace to which I aspire. No one Irom this house must conIess to
Father Mancia; you alone can prevent the execution oI that project, and I need not suggest the way to succeed.
It will prove whether you have some Iriendship Ior me."
I could not express the pity I Ielt Ior the poor girl, as I read that note. In spite oI that Ieeling, this is what I
answered: "I can well understand that, notwithstanding the inviolability oI conIession, your mother's proposal
should cause you great anxiety; but I cannot see why, in order to prevent its execution, you should depend upon
me rather than upon Cordiani who has expressed his acceptance oI it. All I can promise you is that I will not be
one oI those who may go to Father Mancia; but I have no inIluence over your lover; you alone can speak to
him."
She replied: "I have never addressed a word to Cordiani since the Iatal night which has sealed my misery, and
I never will speak to him again, even iI I could by so doing recover my lost happiness. To you alone I wish to be
indebted Ior my liIe and Ior my honour."
This girl appeared to me more wonderIul than all the heroines oI whom I had read in novels. It seemed to me
that she was making sport oI me with the most bareIaced eIIrontery. I thought she was trying to Ietter me again
with her chains; and although I had no inclination Ior them, I made up my mind to render her the service she
claimed at my hands, and which she believed I alone could compass. She Ielt certain oI her success, but in what
school had she obtained her experience oI the human heart? Was it in reading novels? Most likely the reading oI
a certain class oI novels causes the ruin oI a great many young girls, but I am oI opinion that Irom good romances
they acquire graceIul manners and a knowledge oI society.
Having made up my mind to shew her every kindness in my power, I took an opportunity, as we were
undressing Ior the night, oI telling Doctor Gozzi that, Ior conscientious motives, I could not conIess to Father
Mancia, and yet that I did not wish to be an exception in that matter. He kindly answered that he understood my
reasons, and that he would take us all to the church oI Saint-Antoine. I kissed his hand in token oI my gratitude.
On the Iollowing day, everything having gone according to her wishes, I saw Bettina sit down to the table with
a Iace beaming with satisIaction. In the aIternoon I had to go to bed in consequence oI a wound in my Ioot; the
doctor accompanied his pupils to church; and Bettina being alone, availed herselI oI the opportunity, came to my
room and sat down on my bed. I had expected her visit, and I received it with pleasure, as it heralded an
explanation Ior which I was positively longing.
She began by expressing a hope that I would not be angry with her Ior seizing the Iirst opportunity she had oI
some conversation with me.
"No," I answered, "Ior you thus aIIord me an occasion oI assuring you that, my Ieelings towards you being
those oI a Iriend only, you need not have any Iear oI my causing you any anxiety or displeasure. ThereIore
Bettina, you may do whatever suits you; my love is no more. You have at one blow given the death-stroke to the
intense passion which was blossoming in my heart. When I reached my room, aIter the ill-treatment I had
experienced at Cordiani's hands, I Ielt Ior you nothing but hatred; that Ieeling soon merged into utter contempt,
but that sensation itselI was in time, when my mind recovered its balance, changed Ior a Ieeling oI the deepest
indiIIerence, which again has given way when I saw what power there is in your mind. I have now become your
Iriend; I have conceived the greatest esteem Ior your cleverness. I have been the dupe oI it, but no matter; that
talent oI yours does exist, it is wonderIul, divine, I admire it, I love it, and the highest homage I can render to it is,
in my estimation, to Ioster Ior the possessor oI it the purest Ieelings oI Iriendship. Reciprocate that Iriendship, be
true, sincere, and plain dealing. Give up all nonsense, Ior you have already obtained Irom me all I can give you.
The very thought oI love is repugnant to me; I can bestow my love only where I Ieel certain oI being the only one
loved. You are at liberty to lay my Ioolish delicacy to the account oI my youthIul age, but I Ieel so, and I cannot
help it. You have written to me that you never speak to Cordiani; iI I am the cause oI that rupture between you, I
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regret it, and I think that, in the interest oI your honour, you would do well to make it up with him; Ior the Iuture I
must be careIul never to give him any grounds Ior umbrage or suspicion. Recollect also that, iI you have tempted
him by the same manoeuvres which you have employed towards me, you are doubly wrong, Ior it may be that, iI
he truly loves you, you have caused him to be miserable."
"All you have just said to me," answered Bettina, "is grounded upon Ialse impressions and deceptive
appearances. I do not love Cordiani, and I never had any love Ior him; on the contrary, I have Ielt, and I do Ieel,
Ior him a hatred which he has richly deserved, and I hope to convince you, in spite oI every appearance which
seems to convict me. As to the reproach oI seduction, I entreat you to spare me such an accusation. On our side,
consider that, iI you had not yourselI thrown temptation in my way, I never would have committed towards you
an action oI which I have deeply repented, Ior reasons which you do not know, but which you must learn Irom
me. The Iault I have been guilty oI is a serious one only because I did not Ioresee the injury it would do me in the
inexperienced mind oI the ingrate who dares to reproach me with it."
Bettina was shedding tears: all she had said was not unlikely and rather complimentary to my vanity, but I had
seen too much. Besides, I knew the extent oI her cleverness, and it was very natural to lend her a wish to deceive
me; how could I help thinking that her visit to me was prompted only by her selI-love being too deeply wounded
to let me enjoy a victory so humiliating to herselI? ThereIore, unshaken in my preconceived opinion, I told her
that I placed implicit conIidence in all she had just said respecting the state oI her heart previous to the playIul
nonsense which had been the origin oI my love Ior her, and that I promised never in the Iuture to allude again to
my accusation oI seduction. "But," I continued, "conIess that the Iire at that time burning in your bosom was only
oI short duration, and that the slightest breath oI wind had been enough to extinguish it. Your virtue, which went
astray Ior only one instant, and which has so suddenly recovered its mastery over your senses, deserves some
praise. You, with all your deep adoring love Ior me, became all at once blind to my sorrow, whatever care I took
to make it clear to your sight. It remains Ior me to learn how that virtue could be so very dear to you, at the very
time that Cordiani took care to wreck it every night."
Bettina eyed me with the air oI triumph which perIect conIidence in victory gives to a person, and said: "You
have just reached the point where I wished you to be. You shall now be made aware oI things which I could not
explain beIore, owing to your reIusing the appointment which I then gave you Ior no other purpose than to tell
you all the truth. Cordiani declared his love Ior me a week aIter he became an inmate in our house; he begged my
consent to a marriage, iI his Iather made the demand oI my hand as soon as he should have completed his
studies. My answer was that I did not know him suIIiciently, that I could Iorm no idea on the subject, and I
requested him not to allude to it any more. He appeared to have quietly given up the matter, but soon aIter, I
Iound out that it was not the case; he begged me one day to come to his room now and then to dress his hair; I
told him I had no time to spare, and he remarked that you were more Iortunate. I laughed at this reproach, as
everyone here knew that I had the care oI you. It was a Iortnight aIter my reIusal to Cordiani, that I unIortunately
spent an hour with you in that loving nonsense which has naturally given you ideas until then unknown to your
senses. That hour made me very happy: I loved you, and having given way to very natural desires, I revelled in
my enjoyment without the slightest remorse oI conscience. I was longing to be again with you the next morning,
but aIter supper, misIortune laid Ior the Iirst time its hand upon me. Cordiani slipped in my hands this note and
this letter which I have since hidden in a hole in the wall, with the intention oI shewing them to you at the Iirst
opportunity."
Saying this, Bettina handed me the note and the letter; the Iirst ran as Iollows: "Admit me this evening in your
closet, the door oI which, leading to the yard, can be leIt ajar, or prepare yourselI to make the best oI it with the
doctor, to whom I intend to deliver, iI you should reIuse my request, the letter oI which I enclose a copy."
The letter contained the statement oI a cowardly and enraged inIormer, and would certainly have caused the
most unpleasant results. In that letter Cordiani inIormed the doctor that his sister spent her mornings with me in
criminal connection while he was saying his mass, and he pledged himselI to enter into particulars which would
leave him no doubt.
"AIter giving to the case the consideration it required," continued Bettina, "I made up my mind to hear that
monster; but my determination being Iixed, I put in my pocket my Iather's stilletto, and holding my door ajar I
waited Ior him there, unwilling to let him come in, as my closet is divided only by a thin partition Irom the room oI
my Iather, whom the slightest noise might have roused up. My Iirst question to Cordiani was in reIerence to the
slander contained in the letter he threatened to deliver to my brother: he answered that it was no slander, Ior he
had been a witness to everything that had taken place in the morning through a hole he had bored in the garret
just above your bed, and to which he would apply his eye the moment he knew that I was in your room. He
wound up by threatening to discover everything to my brother and to my mother, unless I granted him the same
Iavours I had bestowed upon you. In my just indignation I loaded him with the most bitter insults, I called him a
cowardly spy and slanderer, Ior he could not have seen anything but childish playIulness, and I declared to him
that he need not Ilatter himselI that any threat would compel me to give the slightest compliance to his wishes. He
then begged and begged my pardon a thousand times, and went on assuring me that I must lay to my rigour the
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odium oI the step he had taken, the only excuse Ior it being in the Iervent love I had kindled in his heart, and
which made him miserable. He acknowledged that his letter might be a slander, that he had acted treacherously,
and he pledged his honour never to attempt obtaining Irom me by violence Iavours which he desired to merit only
by the constancy oI his love. I then thought myselI to some extent compelled to say that I might love him at some
Iuture time, and to promise that I would not again come near your bed during the absence oI my brother. In this
way I dismissed him satisIied, without his daring to beg Ior so much as a kiss, but with the promise that we might
now and then have some conversation in the same place. As soon as he leIt me I went to bed, deeply grieved
that I could no longer see you in the absence oI my brother, and that I was unable, Ior Iear oI consequences, to
let you know the reason oI my change. Three weeks passed oII in that position, and I cannot express what have
been my suIIerings, Ior you, oI course, urged me to come, and I was always under the painIul necessity oI
disappointing you. I even Ieared to Iind myselI alone with you, Ior I Ielt certain that I could not have reIrained
Irom telling you the cause oI the change in my conduct. To crown my misery, add that I Iound myselI compelled,
at least once a week, to receive the vile Cordiani outside oI my room, and to speak to him, in order to check his
impatience with a Iew words. At last, unable to bear up any longer under such misery, threatened likewise by
you, I determined to end my agony. I wished to disclose to you all this intrigue, leaving to you the care oI bringing
a change Ior the better, and Ior that purpose I proposed that you should accompany me to the ball disguised as a
girl, although I knew it would enrage Cordiani; but my mind was made up. You know how my scheme Iell to the
ground. The unexpected departure oI my brother with my Iather suggested to both oI you the same idea, and it
was beIore receiving Cordiani's letter that I promised to come to you. Cordiani did not ask Ior an appointment;
he only stated that he would be waiting Ior me in my closet, and I had no opportunity oI telling him that I could
not allow him to come, any more than I could Iind time to let you know that I would be with you only aIter
midnight, as I intended to do, Ior I reckoned that aIter an hour's talk I would dismiss the wretch to his room. But
my reckoning was wrong; Cordiani had conceived a scheme, and I could not help listening to all he had to say
about it. His whining and exaggerated complaints had no end. He upbraided me Ior reIusing to Iurther the plan he
had concocted, and which he thought I would accept with rapture iI I loved him. The scheme was Ior me to
elope with him during holy week, and to run away to Ferrara, where he had an uncle who would have given us a
kind welcome, and would soon have brought his Iather to Iorgive him and to insure our happiness Ior liIe. The
objections I made, his answers, the details to be entered into, the explanations and the ways and means to be
examined to obviate the diIIiculties oI the project, took up the whole night. My heart was bleeding as I thought oI
you; but my conscience is at rest, and I did nothing that could render me unworthy oI your esteem. You cannot
reIuse it to me, unless you believe that the conIession I have just made is untrue; but you would be both mistaken
and unjust. Had I made up my mind to sacriIice myselI and to grant Iavours which love alone ought to obtain, I
might have got rid oI the treacherous wretch within one hour, but death seemed preIerable to such a dreadIul
expedient. Could I in any way suppose that you were outside oI my door, exposed to the wind and to the snow?
Both oI us were deserving oI pity, but my misery was still greater than yours. All these IearIul circumstances were
written in the book oI Iate, to make me lose my reason, which now returns only at intervals, and I am in constant
dread oI a Iresh attack oI those awIul convulsions. They say I am bewitched, and possessed oI the demon; I do
not know anything about it, but iI it should be true I am the most miserable creature in existence." Bettina ceased
speaking, and burst into a violent storm oI tears, sobs, and groans. I was deeply moved, although I Ielt that all
she had said might be true, and yet was scarcely worthy oI belieI:
'Forse era er, ma non pero credibile
A chi del senso so fosse signor.'
But she was weeping, and her tears, which at all events were not deceptive, took away Irom me the Iaculty oI
doubt. Yet I put her tears to the account oI her wounded selI-love; to give way entirely I needed a thorough
conviction, and to obtain it evidence was necessary, probability was not enough. I could not admit either
Cordiani's moderation or Bettina's patience, or the Iact oI seven hours employed in innocent conversation. In
spite oI all these considerations, I Ielt a sort oI pleasure in accepting Ior ready cash all the counterIeit coins that
she had spread out beIore me.
AIter drying her tears, Bettina Iixed her beautiIul eyes upon mine, thinking that she could discern in them
evident signs oI her victory; but I surprised her much by alluding to one point which, with all her cunning, she had
neglected to mention in her deIence. Rhetoric makes use oI nature's secrets in the same way as painters who try
to imitate it: their most beautiIul work is Ialse. This young girl, whose mind had not been reIined by study, aimed
at being considered innocent and artless, and she did her best to succeed, but I had seen too good a specimen oI
her cleverness.
"Well, my dear Bettina," I said, "your story has aIIected me; but how do you think I am going to accept your
convulsions as natural, and to believe in the demoniac symptoms which came on so seasonably during the
exorcisms, although you very properly expressed your doubts on the matter?"
Hearing this, Bettina stared at me, remaining silent Ior a Iew minutes, then casting her eyes down she gave way
to Iresh tears, exclaiming now and then: "Poor me! oh, poor me!" This situation, however, becoming most painIul
to me, I asked what I could do Ior her. She answered in a sad tone that iI my heart did not suggest to me what to
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do, she did not herself see what she could demand of me.
"I thought," said she, "that I would reconquer my lost influence over your heart, but, I see it too plainly, you no
longer feel an interest in me. Go on treating me harshly; go on taking for mere fictions sufferings which are but too
real, which you have caused, and which you will now increase. Some day, but too late, you will be sorry, and
your repentance will be bitter indeed."
As she pronounced these words she rose to take her leave; but judging her capable of anything I felt afraid,
and I detained her to say that the only way to regain my affection was to remain one month without convulsions
and without handsome Father Mancia's presence being required.
"I cannot help being convulsed," she answered, "but what do you mean by applying to the Jacobin that epithet
of handsome? Could you suppose?"
"Not at all, not at allI suppose nothing; to do so would be necessary for me to be jealous. But I cannot help
saying that the preference given by your devils to the exorcism of that handsome monk over the incantations of
the ugly Capuchin is likely to give birth to remarks rather detrimental to your honour. Moreover, you are free to
do whatever pleases you."
Thereupon she left my room, and a few minutes later everybody came home.
After supper the servant, without any question on my part, informed me that Bettina had gone to bed with
violent feverish chills, having previously had her bed carried into the kitchen beside her mother's. This attack of
fever might be real, but I had my doubts. I felt certain that she would never make up her mind to be well, for her
good health would have supplied me with too strong an argument against her pretended innocence, even in the
case of Cordiani; I likewise considered her idea of having her bed placed near her mother's nothing but artful
contrivance.
The next day Doctor Olivo found her very feverish, and told her brother that she would most likely be excited
and delirious, but that it would be the effect of the fever and not the work of the devil. And truly, Bettina was
raving all day, but Dr. Gozzi, placing implicit confidence in the physician, would not listen to his mother, and did
not send for the Jacobin friar. The fever increased in violence, and on the fourth day the small-pox broke out.
Cordiani and the two brothers Feitrini, who had so far escaped that disease, were immediately sent away, but as
I had had it before I remained at home.
The poor girl was so fearfully covered with the loathsome eruption, that on the sixth day her skin could not be
seen on any part of her body. Her eyes closed, and her life was despaired of, when it was found that her mouth
and throat were obstructed to such a degree that she could swallow nothing but a few drops of honey. She was
perfectly motionless; she breathed and that was all. Her mother never left her bedside, and I was thought a saint
when I carried my table and my books into the patient's room. The unfortunate girl had become a fearful sight to
look upon; her head was dreadfully swollen, the nose could no longer be seen, and much fear was entertained for
her eyes, in case her life should be spared. The odour of her perspiration was most offensive, but I persisted in
keeping my watch by her.
On the ninth day, the vicar gave her absolution, and after administering extreme unction, he left her, as he said,
in the hands of God. In the midst of so much sadness, the conversation of the mother with her son, would, in
spite of myself, cause me some amount of merriment. The good woman wanted to know whether the demon
who was dwelling in her child could still influence her to perform extravagant follies, and what would become of
the demon in the case of her daughter's death, for, as she expressed it, she could not think of his being so stupid
as to remain in so loathsome a body. She particularly wanted to ascertain whether the demon had power to carry
off the soul of her child. Doctor Gozzi, who was an ubiquitarian, made to all those questions answers which had
not even the shadow of good sense, and which of course had no other effect than to increase a hundred-fold the
perplexity of his poor mother.
During the tenth and eleventh days, Bettina was so bad that we thought every moment likely to be her last. The
disease had reached its worst period; the smell was unbearable; I alone would not leave her, so sorely did I pity
her. The heart of man is indeed an unfathomable abyss, for, however incredible it may appear, it was while in that
fearful state that Bettina inspired me with the fondness which I showed her after her recovery.
On the thirteenth day the fever abated, but the patient began to experience great irritation, owing to a dreadful
itching, which no remedy could have allayed as effectually as these powerful words which I kept constantly
pouring into her ear: "Bettina, you are getting better; but if you dare to scratch yourself, you will become such a
fright that nobody will ever love you." All the physicians in the universe might be challenged to prescribe a more
potent remedy against itching for a girl who, aware that she has been pretty, finds herself exposed to the loss of
her beauty through her own fault, if she scratches herself.
At last her fine eyes opened again to the light of heaven; she was moved to her own room, but she had to
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keep her bed until Easter. She inoculated me with a few pocks, three of which have left upon my face everlasting
marks; but in her eyes they gave me credit for great devotedness, for they were a proof of my constant care, and
she felt that I indeed deserved her whole love. And she truly loved me, and I returned her love, although I never
plucked a flower which fate and prejudice kept in store for a husband. But what a contemptible husband!
Two years later she married a shoemaker, by name Pigozzoa base, arrant knave who beggared and ill-
treated her to such an extent that her brother had to take her home and to provide for her. Fifteen years
afterwards, having been appointed arch-priest at Saint-George de la Vallee, he took her there with him, and
when I went to pay him a visit eighteen years ago, I found Bettina old, ill, and dying. She breathed her last in my
arms in 1776, twenty-four hours after my arrival. I will speak of her death in good time.
About that period, my mother returned from St. Petersburg, where the Empress Anne Iwanowa had not
approved of the Italian comedy. The whole of the troop had already returned to Italy, and my mother had
travelled with Carlin Bertinazzi, the harlequin, who died in Paris in the year 1783. As soon as she had reached
Padua, she informed Doctor Gozzi of her arrival, and he lost no time in accompanying me to the inn where she
had put up. We dined with her, and before bidding us adieu, she presented the doctor with a splendid fur, and
gave me the skin of a lynx for Bettina. Six months afterwards she summoned me to Venice, as she wished to see
me before leaving for Dresden, where she had contracted an engagement for life in the service of the Elector of
Saxony, Augustus III., King of Poland. She took with her my brother Jean, then eight years old, who was
weeping bitterly when he left; I thought him very foolish, for there was nothing very tragic in that departure. He is
the only one in the family who was wholly indebted to our mother for his fortune, although he was not her
favourite child.
I spent another year in Padua, studying law in which I took the degree of Doctor in my sixteenth year, the
subject of my thesis being in the civil law, 'de testamentis', and in the canon law, 'utrum Hebraei possint
construere novas synagogas'.
My vocation was to study medicine, and to practice it, for I felt a great inclination for that profession, but no
heed was given to my wishes, and I was compelled to apply myself to the study of the law, for which I had an
invincible repugnance. My friends were of opinion that I could not make my fortune in any profession but that of
an advocate, and, what is still worse, of an ecclesiastical advocate. If they had given the matter proper
consideration, they would have given me leave to follow my own inclinations, and I would have been a physician
a profession in which quackery is of still greater avail than in the legal business. I never became either a
physician or an advocate, and I never would apply to a lawyer, when I had any legal business, nor call in a
physician when I happened to be ill. Lawsuits and pettifoggery may support a good many families, but a greater
proportion is ruined by them, and those who perish in the hands, of physicians are more numerous by far than
those who get cured strong evidence in my opinion, that mankind would be much less miserable without either
lawyers or doctors.
To attend the lectures of the professors, I had to go to the university called the Bo, and it became necessary
for me to go out alone. This was a matter of great wonder to me, for until then I had never considered myself a
free man; and in my wish to enjoy fully the liberty I thought I had just conquered, it was not long before I had
made the very worst acquaintances amongst the most renowned students. As a matter of course, the most
renowned were the most worthless, dissolute fellows, gamblers, frequenters of disorderly houses, hard drinkers,
debauchees, tormentors and suborners of honest girls, liars, and wholly incapable of any good or virtuous feeling.
In the company of such men did I begin my apprenticeship of the world, learning my lesson from the book of
experience.
The theory of morals and its usefulness through the life of man can be compared to the advantage derived by
running over the index of a book before reading it when we have perused that index we know nothing but the
subject of the work. This is like the school for morals offered by the sermons, the precepts, and the tales which
our instructors recite for our especial benefit. We lend our whole attention to those lessons, but when an
opportunity offers of profiting by the advice thus bestowed upon us, we feel inclined to ascertain for ourselves
whether the result will turn out as predicted; we give way to that very natural inclination, and punishment speedily
follows with concomitant repentance. Our only consolation lies in the fact that in such moments we are conscious
of our own knowledge, and consider ourselves as having earned the right to instruct others; but those to whom
we wish to impart our experience act exactly as we have acted before them, and, as a matter of course, the
world remains in statu quo, or grows worse and worse.
When Doctor Gozzi granted me the privilege of going out alone, he gave me an opportunity for the discovery
of several truths which, until then, were not only unknown to me, but the very existence of which I had never
suspected. On my first appearance, the boldest scholars got hold of me and sounded my depth. Finding that I
was a thorough freshman, they undertook my education, and with that worthy purpose in view they allowed me
to fall blindly into every trap. They taught me gambling, won the little I possessed, and then they made me play
upon trust, and put me up to dishonest practices in order to procure the means of paying my gambling debts; but
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I acquired at the same time the sad experience oI sorrow! Yet these hard lessons proved useIul, Ior they taught
me to mistrust the impudent sycophants who openly Ilatter their dupes, and never to rely upon the oIIers made by
Iawning Ilatterers. They taught me likewise how to behave in the company oI quarrelsome duellists, the society oI
whom ought to be avoided, unless we make up our mind to be constantly in the very teeth oI danger. I was not
caught in the snares oI proIessional lewd women, because not one oI them was in my eyes as pretty as Bettina,
but I did not resist so well the desire Ior that species oI vain glory which is the reward oI holding liIe at a cheap
price.
In those days the students in Padua enjoyed very great privileges, which were in reality abuses made legal
through prescription, the primitive characteristic oI privileges, which diIIer essentially Irom prerogatives. In Iact, in
order to maintain the legality oI their privileges, the students oIten committed crimes. The guilty were dealt with
tenderly, because the interest oI the city demanded that severity should not diminish the great inIlux oI scholars
who Ilocked to that renowned university Irom every part oI Europe. The practice oI the Venetian government
was to secure at a high salary the most celebrated proIessors, and to grant the utmost Ireedom to the young men
attending their lessons. The students acknowledged no authority but that oI a chieI, chosen among themselves,
and called syndic. He was usually a Ioreign nobleman, who could keep a large establishment, and who was
responsible to the government Ior the behaviour oI the scholars. It was his duty to give them up to justice when
they transgressed the laws, and the students never disputed his sentence, because he always deIended them to
the utmost, when they had the slightest shadow oI right on their side.
The students, amongst other privileges, would not suIIer their trunks to be searched by customhouse
authorities, and no ordinary policeman would have dared to arrest one oI them. They carried about them
Iorbidden weapons, seduced helpless girls, and oIten disturbed the public peace by their nocturnal broils and
impudent practical jokes; in one word, they were a body oI young Iellows, whom nothing could restrain, who
would gratiIy every whim, and enjoy their sport without regard or consideration Ior any human being.
It was about that time that a policeman entered a coIIee-room, in which were seated two students. One oI
them ordered him out, but the man taking no notice oI it, the student Iired a pistol at him, and missed his aim. The
policeman returned the Iire, wounded the aggressor, and ran away. The students immediately mustered together
at the Bo, divided into bands, and went over the city, hunting the policemen to murder them, and avenge the
insult they had received. In one oI the encounters two oI the students were killed, and all the others, assembling in
one troop, swore never to lay their arms down as long as there should be one policeman alive in Padua. The
authorities had to interIere, and the syndic oI the students undertook to put a stop to hostilities provided proper
satisIaction was given, as the police were in the wrong. The man who had shot the student in the coIIee-room
was hanged, and peace was restored; but during the eight days oI agitation, as I was anxious not to appear less
brave than my comrades who were patrolling the city, I Iollowed them in spite oI Doctor Gozzi's remonstrances.
Armed with a carbine and a pair oI pistols, I ran about the town with the others, in quest oI the enemy, and I
recollect how disappointed I was because the troop to which I belonged did not meet one policeman. When the
war was over, the doctor laughed at me, but Bettina admired my valour. UnIortunately, I indulged in expenses Iar
above my means, owing to my unwillingness to seem poorer than my new Iriends. I sold or pledged everything I
possessed, and I contracted debts which I could not possibly pay. This state oI things caused my Iirst sorrows,
and they are the most poignant sorrows under which a young man can smart. Not knowing which way to turn, I
wrote to my excellent grandmother, begging her assistance, but instead oI sending me some money, she came to
Padua on the 1st oI October, 1739, and, aIter thanking the doctor and Bettina Ior all their aIIectionate care, she
bought me back to Venice. As he took leave oI me, the doctor, who was shedding tears, gave me what he
prized most on earth; a relic oI some saint, which perhaps I might have kept to this very day, had not the setting
been oI gold. It perIormed only one miracle, that oI being oI service to me in a moment oI great need. Whenever
I visited Padua, to complete my study oI the law, I stayed at the house oI the kind doctor, but I was always
grieved at seeing near Bettina the brute to whom she was engaged, and who did not appear to me deserving oI
such a wiIe. I have always regretted that a prejudice, oI which I soon got rid, should have made me preserve Ior
that man a Ilower which I could have plucked so easily.
CHAPTER I
I receive the minor orders from the patriarch of Venice
I get acquainted with Senator Malipiero, with Therese Imer,
with the niece of the Curate, with Madame Orio, with Nanette
and Marton, and with the CavamacchiaI become a preacher
My adventure with Lucie at Pasean A rendezvous on the third
story.
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"He comes Irom Padua, where he has completed his studies." Such were the words by which I was
everywhere introduced, and which, the moment they were uttered, called upon me the silent observation oI every
young man oI my age and condition, the compliments oI all Iathers, and the caresses oI old women, as well as the
kisses oI a Iew who, although not old, were not sorry to be considered so Ior the sake oI embracing a young
man without impropriety. The curate oI Saint-Samuel, the Abbe Josello, presented me to Monsignor Correre,
Patriarch oI Venice, who gave me the tonsure, and who, Iour months aIterwards, by special Iavour, admitted me
to the Iour minor orders. No words could express the joy and the pride oI my grandmother. Excellent masters
were given to me to continue my studies, and M. BaIIo chose the Abbe Schiavo to teach me a pure Italian style,
especially poetry, Ior which I had a decided talent. I was very comIortably lodged with my brother Francois,
who was studying theatrical architecture. My sister and my youngest brother were living with our grandam in a
house oI her own, in which it was her wish to die, because her husband had there breathed his last. The house in
which I dwelt was the same in which my Iather had died, and the rent oI which my mother continued to pay. It
was large and well Iurnished.
Although Abbe Grimani was my chieI protector, I seldom saw him, and I particularly attached myselI to M. de
Malipiero, to whom I had been presented by the Curate Josello. M. de Malipiero was a senator, who was
unwilling at seventy years oI age to attend any more to State aIIairs, and enjoyed a happy, sumptuous liIe in his
mansion, surrounded every evening by a well-chosen party oI ladies who had all known how to make the best oI
their younger days, and oI gentlemen who were always acquainted with the news oI the town. He was a bachelor
and wealthy, but, unIortunately, he had three or Iour times every year severe attacks oI gout, which always leIt
him crippled in some part or other oI his body, so that all his person was disabled. His head, his lungs, and his
stomach had alone escaped this cruel havoc. He was still a Iine man, a great epicure, and a good judge oI wine;
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his wit was keen, his knowledge oI the world extensive, his eloquence worthy oI a son oI Venice, and he had that
wisdom which must naturally belong to a senator who Ior Iorty years has had the management oI public aIIairs,
and to a man who has bid Iarewell to women aIter having possessed twenty mistresses, and only when he Ielt
himselI compelled to acknowledge that he could no longer be accepted by any woman. Although almost entirely
crippled, he did not appear to be so when he was seated, when he talked, or when he was at table. He had only
one meal a day, and always took it alone because, being toothless and unable to eat otherwise than very slowly,
he did not wish to hurry himselI out oI compliment to his guests, and would have been sorry to see them waiting
Ior him. This Ieeling deprived him oI the pleasure he would have enjoyed in entertaining at his board Iriendly and
agreeable guests, and caused great sorrow to his excellent cook.
The Iirst time I had the honour oI being introduced to him by the curate, I opposed earnestly the reason which
made him eat his meals in solitude, and I said that his excellency had only to invite guests whose appetite was
good enough to enable them to eat a double share.
"But where can I Iind such table companions?" he asked.
"It is rather a delicate matter," I answered; "but you must take your guests on trial, and aIter they have been
Iound such as you wish them to be, the only diIIiculty will be to keep them as your guests without their being
aware oI the real cause oI your preIerence, Ior no respectable man could acknowledge that he enjoys the honour
oI sitting at your excellency's table only because he eats twice as much as any other man."
The senator understood the truth oI my argument, and asked the curate to bring me to dinner on the Iollowing
day. He Iound my practice even better than my theory, and I became his daily guest.
This man, who had given up everything in liIe except his own selI, Iostered an amorous inclination, in spite oI
his age and oI his gout. He loved a young girl named Therese Imer, the daughter oI an actor residing near his
mansion, her bedroom window being opposite to his own. This young girl, then in her seventeenth year, was
pretty, whimsical, and a regular coquette. She was practising music with a view to entering the theatrical
proIession, and by showing herselI constantly at the window she had intoxicated the old senator, and was playing
with him cruelly. She paid him a daily visit, but always escorted by her mother, a Iormer actress, who had retired
Irom the stage in order to work out her salvation, and who, as a matter oI course, had made up her mind to
combine the interests oI heaven with the works oI this world. She took her daughter to mass every day and
compelled her to go to conIession every week; but every aIternoon she accompanied her in a visit to the
amorous old man, the rage oI whom Irightened me when she reIused him a kiss under the plea that she had
perIormed her devotions in the morning, and that she could not reconcile herselI to the idea oI oIIending the God
who was still dwelling in her.
What a sight Ior a young man oI IiIteen like me, whom the old man admitted as the only and silent witness oI
these erotic scenes! The miserable mother applauded her daughter's reserve, and went so Iar as to lecture the
elderly lover, who, in his turn, dared not reIute her maxims, which savoured either too much or too little oI
Christianity, and resisted a very strong inclination to hurl at her head any object he had at hand. Anger would
then take the place oI lewd desires, and aIter they had retired he would comIort himselI by exchanging with me
philosophical considerations.
Compelled to answer him, and not knowing well what to say, I ventured one day upon advising a marriage.
He struck me with amazement when he answered that she reIused to marry him Irom Iear oI drawing upon
herselI the hatred oI his relatives.
"Then make her the oIIer oI a large sum oI money, or a position."
"She says that she would not, even Ior a crown, commit a deadly sin."
"In that case, you must either take her by storm, or banish her Ior ever Irom your presence."
"I can do neither one nor the other; physical as well as moral strength is deIicient in me."
"Kill her, then."
"That will very likely be the case unless I die Iirst."
"Indeed I pity your excellency."
"Do you sometimes visit her?"
"No, Ior I might Iall in love with her, and I would be miserable."
"You are right."
Witnessing many such scenes, and taking part in many similar conversations, I became an especial Iavourite
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with the old nobleman. I was invited to his evening assemblies which were, as I have stated before, frequented by
superannuated women and witty men. He told me that in this circle I would learn a science of greater import than
Gassendi's philosophy, which I was then studying by his advice instead of Aristotle's, which he turned into
ridicule. He laid down some precepts for my conduct in those assemblies, explaining the necessity of my
observing them, as there would be some wonder at a young man of my age being received at such parties. He
ordered me never to open my lips except to answer direct questions, and particularly enjoined me never to pass
an opinion on any subject, because at my age I could not be allowed to have any opinions.
I faithfully followed his precepts, and obeyed his orders so well, that in a few days I had gained his esteem,
and become the child of the house, as well as the favourite of all the ladies who visited him. In my character of a
young and innocent ecclesiastic, they would ask me to accompany them in their visits to the convents where their
daughters or their nieces were educated; I was at all hours received at their houses without even being
announced; I was scolded if a week elapsed without my calling upon them, and when I went to the apartments
reserved for the young ladies, they would run away, but the moment they saw that the intruder was only I, they
would return at once, and their confidence was very charming to me.
Before dinner, M. de Malipiero would often inquire from me what advantages were accruing to me from the
welcome I received at the hands of the respectable ladies I had become acquainted with at his house, taking care
to tell me, before I could have time to answer, that they were all endowed with the greatest virtue, and that I
would give everybody a bad opinion of myself, if I ever breathed one word of disparagement to the high
reputation they all enjoyed. In this way he would inculcate in me the wise precept of reserve and discretion.
It was at the senator's house that I made the acquaintance of Madame Manzoni, the wife of a notary public, of
whom I shall have to speak very often. This worthy lady inspired me with the deepest attachment, and she gave
me the wisest advice. Had I followed it, and profited by it, my life would not have been exposed to so many
storms; it is true that in that case, my life would not be worth writing.
All these fine acquaintances amongst women who enjoyed the reputation of being high-bred ladies, gave me a
very natural desire to shine by my good looks and by the elegance of my dress; but my father confessor, as well
as my grandmother, objected very strongly to this feeling of vanity. On one occasion, taking me apart, the curate
told me, with honeyed words, that in the profession to which I had devoted myself my thoughts ought to dwell
upon the best means of being agreeable to God, and not on pleasing the world by my fine appearance. He
condemned my elaborate curls, and the exquisite perfume of my pomatum. He said that the devil had got hold of
me by the hair, that I would be excommunicated if I continued to take such care of it, and concluded by quoting
for my benefit these words from an oecumenical council: 'clericus qui nutrit coman, anathema sit'. I answered him
with the names of several fashionable perfumed abbots, who were not threatened with excommunication, who
were not interfered with, although they wore four times as much powder as I didfor I only used a slight
sprinklingwho perfumed their hair with a certain amber-scented pomatum which brought women to the very
point of fainting, while mine, a jessamine pomade, called forth the compliment of every circle in which I was
received. I added that I could not, much to my regret, obey him, and that if I had meant to live in slovenliness, I
would have become a Capuchin and not an abbe.
My answer made him so angry that, three or four days afterwards, he contrived to obtain leave from my
grandmother to enter my chamber early in the morning, before I was awake, and, approaching my bed on tiptoe
with a sharp pair of scissors, he cut off unmercifully all my front hair, from one ear to the other. My brother
Francois was in the adjoining room and saw him, but he did not interfere as he was delighted at my misfortune.
He wore a wig, and was very jealous of my beautiful head of hair. Francois was envious through the whole of his
life; yet he combined this feeling of envy with friendship; I never could understand him; but this vice of his, like my
own vices, must by this time have died of old age.
After his great operation, the abbe left my room quietly, but when I woke up shortly afterwards, and realized
all the horror of this unheard-of execution, my rage and indignation were indeed wrought to the highest pitch.
What wild schemes of revenge my brain engendered while, with a looking-glass in my hand, I was groaning
over the shameful havoc performed by this audacious priest! At the noise I made my grandmother hastened to
my room, and amidst my brother's laughter the kind old woman assured me that the priest would never have
been allowed to enter my room if she could have foreseen his intention, and she managed to soothe my passion
to some extent by confessing that he had over-stepped the limits of his right to administer a reproof.
But I was determined upon revenge, and I went on dressing myself and revolving in my mind the darkest plots.
It seemed to me that I was entitled to the most cruel revenge, without having anything to dread from the terrors of
the law. The theatres being open at that time I put on a mask to go out, and I, went to the advocate Carrare, with
whom I had become acquainted at the senator's house, to inquire from him whether I could bring a suit against
the priest. He told me that, but a short time since, a family had been ruined for having sheared the moustache of a
Sclavoniana crime not nearly so atrocious as the shearing of all my front locks, and that I had only to give him
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my instructions to begin a criminal suit against the abbe, which would make him tremble. I gave my consent, and
begged that he would tell M. de Malipiero in the evening the reason for which I could not go to his house, for I
did not feel any inclination to show myself anywhere until my hair had grown again.
I went home and partook with my brother of a repast which appeared rather scanty in comparison to the
dinners I had with the old senator. The privation of the delicate and plentiful fare to which his excellency had
accustomed me was most painful, besides all the enjoyments from which I was excluded through the atrocious
conduct of the virulent priest, who was my godfather. I wept from sheer vexation; and my rage was increased by
the consciousness that there was in this insult a certain dash of comical fun which threw over me a ridicule more
disgraceful in my estimation than the greatest crime.
I went to bed early, and, refreshed by ten hours of profound slumber, I felt in the morning somewhat less
angry, but quite as determined to summon the priest before a court. I dressed myself with the intention of calling
upon my advocate, when I received the visit of a skilful hair-dresser whom I had seen at Madame Cantarini's
house. He told me that he was sent by M. de Malipiero to arrange my hair so that I could go out, as the senator
wished me to dine with him on that very day. He examined the damage done to my head, and said, with a smile,
that if I would trust to his art, he would undertake to send me out with an appearance of even greater elegance
than I could boast of before; and truly, when he had done, I found myself so good-looking that I considered my
thirst for revenge entirely satisfied.
Having thus forgotten the injury, I called upon the lawyer to tell him to stay all proceedings, and I hastened to
M. de Malipiero's palace, where, as chance would have it, I met the abbe. Notwithstanding all my joy, I could
not help casting upon him rather unfriendly looks, but not a word was said about what had taken place. The
senator noticed everything, and the priest took his leave, most likely with feelings of mortified repentance, for this
time I most verily deserved excommunication by the extreme studied elegance of my curling hair.
When my cruel godfather had left us, I did not dissemble with M. de Malipiero; I candidly told him that I
would look out for another church, and that nothing would induce me to remain under a priest who, in his wrath,
could go the length of such proceedings. The wise old man agreed with me, and said that I was quite right: it was
the best way to make me do ultimately whatever he liked. In the evening everyone in our circle, being well aware
of what had happened, complimented me, and assured me that nothing could be handsomer than my new head-
dress. I was delighted, and was still more gratified when, after a fortnight had elapsed, I found that M. de
Malipiero did not broach the subject of my returning to my godfather's church. My grandmother alone constantly
urged me to return. But this calm was the harbinger of a storm. When my mind was thoroughly at rest on that
subject, M. de Malipiero threw me into the greatest astonishment by suddenly telling me that an excellent
opportunity offered itself for me to reappear in the church and to secure ample satisfaction from the abbe.
"It is my province," added the senator, "as president of the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, to choose the
preacher who is to deliver the sermon on the fourth Sunday of this month, which happens to be the second
Christmas holiday. I mean to appoint you, and I am certain that the abbe will not dare to reject my choice. What
say you to such a triumphant reappearance? Does it satisfy you?"
This offer caused me the greatest surprise, for I had never dreamt of becoming a preacher, and I had never
been vain enough to suppose that I could write a sermon and deliver it in the church. I told M. de Malipiero that
he must surely be enjoying a joke at my expense, but he answered that he had spoken in earnest, and he soon
contrived to persuade me and to make me believe that I was born to become the most renowned preacher of
our age as soon as I should have grown fata quality which I certainly could not boast of, for at that time I was
extremely thin. I had not the shadow of a fear as to my voice or to my elocution, and for the matter of composing
my sermon I felt myself equal to the production of a masterpiece.
I told M. de Malipiero that I was ready, and anxious to be at home in order to go to work; that, although no
theologian, I was acquainted with my subject, and would compose a sermon which would take everyone by
surprise on account of its novelty.
On the following day, when I called upon him, he informed me that the abbe had expressed unqualified delight
at the choice made by him, and at my readiness in accepting the appointment; but he likewise desired that I
should submit my sermon to him as soon as it was written, because the subject belonging to the most sublime
theology he could not allow me to enter the pulpit without being satisfied that I would not utter any heresies. I
agreed to this demand, and during the week I gave birth to my masterpiece. I have now that first sermon in my
possession, and I cannot help saying that, considering my tender years, I think it a very good one.
I could not give an idea of my grandmother's joy; she wept tears of happiness at having a grandson who had
become an apostle. She insisted upon my reading my sermon to her, listened to it with her beads in her hands,
and pronounced it very beautiful. M. de Malipiero, who had no rosary when I read it to him, was of opinion that
it would not prove acceptable to the parson. My text was from Horace: 'Ploravere suis non respondere favorem
sperdtum meritis'; and I deplored the wickedness and ingratitude of men, through which had failed the design
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adopted by Divine wisdom Ior the redemption oI humankind. But M. de Malipiero was sorry that I had taken my
text Irom any heretical poet, although he was pleased that my sermon was not interlarded with Latin quotations.
I called upon the priest to read my production; but as he was out I had to wait Ior his return, and during that
time I Iell in love with his niece, Angela. She was busy upon some tambour work; I sat down close by her, and
telling me that she had long desired to make my acquaintance, she begged me to relate the history oI the locks oI
hair sheared by her venerable uncle.
My love Ior Angela proved Iatal to me, because Irom it sprang two other love aIIairs which, in their turn, gave
birth to a great many others, and caused me Iinally to renounce the Church as a proIession. But let us proceed
quietly, and not encroach upon Iuture events.
On his return home the abbe Iound me with his niece, who was about my age, and he did not appear to be
angry. I gave him my sermon: he read it over, and told me that it was a beautiIul academical dissertation, but unIit
Ior a sermon Irom the pulpit, and he added,
"I will give you a sermon written by myselI, which I have never delivered; you will commit it to memory, and I
promise to let everybody suppose that it is oI your own composition."
"I thank you, very reverend Iather, but I will preach my own sermon, or none at all."
"At all events, you shall not preach such a sermon as this in my church."
"You can talk the matter over with M. de Malipiero. In the meantime I will take my work to the censorship,
and to His Eminence the Patriarch, and iI it is not accepted I shall have it printed."
"All very well, young man. The patriarch will coincide with me."
In the evening I related my discussion with the parson beIore all the guests oI M. de Malipiero. The reading oI
my sermon was called Ior, and it was praised by all. They lauded me Ior having with proper modesty reIrained
Irom quoting the holy Iathers oI the Church, whom at my age I could not be supposed to have suIIiciently
studied, and the ladies particularly admired me because there was no Latin in it but the Text Irom Horace, who,
although a great libertine himselI, has written very good things. A niece oI the patriarch, who was present that
evening, promised to prepare her uncle in my Iavour, as I had expressed my intention to appeal to him; but M. de
Malipiero desired me not to take any steps in the matter until I had seen him on the Iollowing day, and I
submissively bowed to his wishes.
When I called at his mansion the next day he sent Ior the priest, who soon made his appearance. As he knew
well what he had been sent Ior, he immediately launched out into a very long discourse, which I did not interrupt,
but the moment he had concluded his list oI objections I told him that there could not be two ways to decide the
question; that the patriarch would either approve or disapprove my sermon.
"In the Iirst case," I added, "I can pronounce it in your church, and no responsibility can possibly Iall upon your
shoulders; in the second, I must, oI course, give way."
The abbe was struck by my determination and he said,
"Do not go to the patriarch; I accept your sermon; I only request you to change your text. Horace was a
villain."
"Why do you quote Seneca, Tertullian, Origen, and Boethius? They were all heretics, and must, consequently,
be considered by you as worse wretches than Horace, who, aIter all, never had the chance oI becoming a
Christian!"
However, as I saw it would please M. de Malipiero, I Iinally consented to accept, as a substitute Ior mine, a
text oIIered by the abbe, although it did not suit in any way the spirit oI my production; and in order to get an
opportunity Ior a visit to his niece, I gave him my manuscript, saying that I would call Ior it the next day. My
vanity prompted me to send a copy to Doctor Gozzi, but the good man caused me much amusement by returning
it and writing that I must have gone mad, and that iI I were allowed to deliver such a sermon Irom the pulpit I
would bring dishonour upon myselI as well as upon the man who had educated me.
I cared but little Ior his opinion, and on the appointed day I delivered my sermon in the Church oI the Holy
Sacrament in the presence oI the best society oI Venice. I received much applause, and every one predicted that
I would certainly become the Iirst preacher oI our century, as no young ecclesiastic oI IiIteen had ever been
known to preach as well as I had done. It is customary Ior the IaithIul to deposit their oIIerings Ior the preacher in
a purse which is handed to them Ior that purpose.
The sexton who emptied it oI its contents Iound in it more than IiIty sequins, and several billets-doux, to the
great scandal oI the weaker brethren. An anonymous note amongst them, the writer oI which I thought I had
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guessed, let me into a mistake which I think better not to relate. This rich harvest, in my great penury, caused me
to entertain serious thoughts oI becoming a preacher, and I conIided my intention to the parson, requesting his
assistance to carry it into execution. This gave me the privilege oI visiting at his house every day, and I improved
the opportunity oI conversing with Angela, Ior whom my love was daily increasing. But Angela was virtuous. She
did not object to my love, but she wished me to renounce the Church and to marry her. In spite oI my inIatuation
Ior her, I could not make up my mind to such a step, and I went on seeing her and courting her in the hope that
she would alter her decision.
The priest, who had at last conIessed his admiration Ior my Iirst sermon, asked me, some time aIterwards, to
prepare another Ior St. Joseph's Day, with an invitation to deliver it on the 19th oI March, 1741. I composed it,
and the abbe spoke oI it with enthusiasm, but Iate had decided that I should never preach but once in my liIe. It is
a sad tale, unIortunately Ior me very true, which some persons are cruel enough to consider very amusing.
Young and rather selI-conceited, I Iancied that it was not necessary Ior me to spend much time in committing
my sermon to memory. Being the author, I had all the ideas contained in my work classiIied in my mind, and it
did not seem to me within the range oI possibilities that I could Iorget what I had written. Perhaps I might not
remember the exact words oI a sentence, but I was at liberty to replace them by other expressions as good, and
as I never happened to be at a loss, or to be struck dumb, when I spoke in society, it was not likely that such an
untoward accident would beIall me beIore an audience amongst whom I did not know anyone who could
intimidate me and cause me suddenly to lose the Iaculty oI reason or oI speech. I thereIore took my pleasure as
usual, being satisIied with reading my sermon morning and evening, in order to impress it upon my memory which
until then had never betrayed me.
The 19th oI March came, and on that eventIul day at Iour o'clock in the aIternoon I was to ascend the pulpit;
but, believing myselI quite secure and thoroughly master oI my subject, I had not the moral courage to deny
myselI the pleasure oI dining with Count Mont-Real, who was then residing with me, and who had invited the
patrician Barozzi, engaged to be married to his daughter aIter the Easter holidays.
I was still enjoying myselI with my Iine company, when the sexton oI the church came in to tell me that they
were waiting Ior me in the vestry. With a Iull stomach and my head rather heated, I took my leave, ran to the
church, and entered the pulpit. I went through the exordium with credit to myselI, and I took breathing time; but
scarcely had I pronounced the Iirst sentences oI the narration, beIore I Iorgot what I was saying, what I had to
say, and in my endeavours to proceed, I Iairly wandered Irom my subject and I lost myselI entirely. I was still
more discomIorted by a halI-repressed murmur oI the audience, as my deIiciency appeared evident. Several
persons leIt the church, others began to smile, I lost all presence oI mind and every hope oI getting out oI the
scrape.
I could not say whether I Ieigned a Iainting Iit, or whether I truly swooned; all I know is that I Iell down on the
Iloor oI the pulpit, striking my head against the wall, with an inward prayer Ior annihilation.
Two oI the parish clerks carried me to the vestry, and aIter a Iew moments, without addressing a word to
anyone, I took my cloak and my hat, and went home to lock myselI in my room. I immediately dressed myselI in
a short coat, aIter the Iashion oI travelling priests, I packed a Iew things in a trunk, obtained some money Irom
my grandmother, and took my departure Ior Padua, where I intended to pass my third examination. I reached
Padua at midnight, and went to Doctor Gozzi's house, but I did not Ieel the slightest temptation to mention to him
my unlucky adventure.
I remained in Padua long enough to prepare myselI Ior the doctor's degree, which I intended to take the
Iollowing year, and aIter Easter I returned to Venice, where my misIortune was already Iorgotten; but preaching
was out oI the question, and when any attempt was made to induce me to renew my eIIorts, I manIully kept to
my determination never to ascend the pulpit again.
On the eve oI Ascension Day M. Manzoni introduced me to a young courtesan, who was at that time in great
repute at Venice, and was nick-named Cavamacchia, because her Iather had been a scourer. This named vexed
her a great deal, she wished to be called Preati, which was her Iamily name, but it was all in vain, and the only
concession her Iriends would make was to call her by her Christian name oI Juliette. She had been introduced to
Iashionable notice by the Marquis de Sanvitali, a nobleman Irom Parma, who had given her one hundred
thousand ducats Ior her Iavours. Her beauty was then the talk oI everybody in Venice, and it was Iashionable to
call upon her. To converse with her, and especially to be admitted into her circle, was considered a great boon.
As I shall have to mention her several times in the course oI my history, my readers will, I trust, allow me to
enter into some particulars about her previous liIe.
Juliette was only Iourteen years oI age when her Iather sent her one day to the house oI a Venetian nobleman,
Marco Muazzo, with a coat which he had cleaned Ior him. He thought her very beautiIul in spite oI the dirty rags
in which she was dressed, and he called to see her at her Iather's shop, with a Iriend oI his, the celebrated
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advocate, Bastien Uccelli, who; struck by the romantic and cheerful nature of Juliette still more than by her
beauty and fine figure, gave her an apartment, made her study music, and kept her as his mistress. At the time of
the fair, Bastien took her with him to various public places of resort; everywhere she attracted general attention,
and secured the admiration of every lover of the sex. She made rapid progress in music, and at the end of six
months she felt sufficient confidence in herself to sign an engagement with a theatrical manager who took her to
Vienna to give her a 'castrato' part in one of Metastasio's operas.
The advocate had previously ceded her to a wealthy Jew who, after giving her splendid diamonds, left her
also.
In Vienna, Juliette appeared on the stage, and her beauty gained for her an admiration which she would never
have conquered by her very inferior talent. But the constant crowd of adorers who went to worship the goddess,
having sounded her exploits rather too loudly, the august Maria-Theresa objected to this new creed being
sanctioned in her capital, and the beautiful actress received an order to quit Vienna forthwith.
Count Spada offered her his protection, and brought her back to Venice, but she soon left for Padua where
she had an engagement. In that city she kindled the fire of love in the breast of Marquis Sanvitali, but the
marchioness having caught her once in her own box, and Juliette having acted disrespectfully to her, she slapped
her face, and the affair having caused a good deal of noise, Juliette gave up the stage altogether. She came back
to Venice, where, made conspicuous by her banishment from Vienna, she could not fail to make her fortune.
Expulsion from Vienna, for this class of women, had become a title to fashionable favour, and when there was a
wish to depreciate a singer or a dancer, it was said of her that she had not been sufficiently prized to be expelled
from Vienna.
After her return, her first lover was Steffano Querini de Papozzes, but in the spring of 1740, the Marquis de
Sanvitali came to Venice and soon carried her off. It was indeed difficult to resist this delightful marquis! His first
present to the fair lady was a sum of one hundred thousand ducats, and, to prevent his being accused of
weakness or of lavish prodigality, he loudly proclaimed that the present could scarcely make up for the insult
Juliette had received from his wifean insult, however, which the courtesan never admitted, as she felt that there
would be humiliation in such an acknowledgment, and she always professed to admire with gratitude her lover's
generosity. She was right; the admission of the blow received would have left a stain upon her charms, and how
much more to her taste to allow those charms to be prized at such a high figure!
It was in the year 1741 that M. Manzoni introduced me to this new Phryne as a young ecclesiastic who was
beginning to make a reputation. I found her surrounded by seven or eight well-seasoned admirers, who were
burning at her feet the incense of their flattery. She was carelessly reclining on a sofa near Querini. I was much
struck with her appearance. She eyed me from head to foot, as if I had been exposed for sale, and telling me,
with the air of a princess, that she was not sorry to make my acquaintance, she invited me to take a seat. I began
then, in my turn, to examine her closely and deliberately, and it was an easy matter, as the room, although small,
was lighted with at least twenty wax candles.
Juliette was then in her eighteenth year; the freshness of her complexion was dazzling, but the carnation tint of
her cheeks, the vermilion of her lips, and the dark, very narrow curve of her eyebrows, impressed me as being
produced by art rather than nature. Her teethtwo rows of magnificent pearlsmade one overlook the fact that
her mouth was somewhat too large, and whether from habit, or because she could not help it, she seemed to be
ever smiling. Her bosom, hid under a light gauze, invited the desires of love; yet I did not surrender to her
charms. Her bracelets and the rings which covered her fingers did not prevent me from noticing that her hand
was too large and too fleshy, and in spite of her carefully hiding her feet, I judged, by a telltale slipper lying close
by her dress, that they were well proportioned to the height of her figurea proportion which is unpleasant not
only to the Chinese and Spaniards, but likewise to every man of refined taste. We want a tall women to have a
small foot, and certainly it is not a modern taste, for Holofernes of old was of the same opinion; otherwise he
would not have thought Judith so charming: 'et sandalid ejus rapuerunt oculos ejus'. Altogether I found her
beautiful, but when I compared her beauty and the price of one hundred thousand ducats paid for it, I marvelled
at my remaining so cold, and at my not being tempted to give even one sequin for the privilege of making from
nature a study of the charms which her dress concealed from my eyes.
I had scarcely been there a quarter of an hour when the noise made by the oars of a gondola striking the water
heralded the prodigal marquis. We all rose from our seats, and M. Querini hastened, somewhat blushing, to quit
his place on the sofa. M. de Sanvitali, a man of middle age, who had travelled much, took a seat near Juliette, but
not on the sofa, so she was compelled to turn round. It gave me the opportunity of seeing her full front, while I
had before only a side view of her face.
After my introduction to Juliette, I paid her four or five visits, and I thought myself justified, by the care I had
given to the examination of her beauty, in saying in M. de Malipiero's draw-room, one evening, when my opinion
about her was asked, that she could please only a glutton with depraved tastes; that she had neither the
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Iascination oI simple nature nor any knowledge oI society, that she was deIicient in well-bred, easy manners as
well as in striking talents and that those were the qualities which a thorough gentleman liked to Iind in a woman.
This opinion met the general approbation oI his Iriends, but M. de Malipiero kindly whispered to me that Juliette
would certainly be inIormed oI the portrait I had drawn oI her, and that she would become my sworn enemy. He
had guessed rightly.
I thought Juliette very singular, Ior she seldom spoke to me, and whenever she looked at me she made use oI
an eye-glass, or she contracted her eye-lids, as iI she wished to deny me the honour oI seeing her eyes, which
were beyond all dispute very beautiIul. They were blue, wondrously large and Iull, and tinted with that
unIathomable variegated iris which nature only gives to youth, and which generally disappears, aIter having
worked miracles, when the owner reaches the shady side oI Iorty. Frederick the Great preserved it until his
death.
Juliette was inIormed oI the portrait I had given oI her to M. de Malipiero's Iriends by the indiscreet pensioner,
Xavier Cortantini. One evening I called upon her with M. Manzoni, and she told him that a wonderIul judge oI
beauty had Iound Ilaws in hers, but she took good care not to speciIy them. It was not diIIicult to make out that
she was indirectly Iiring at me, and I prepared myselI Ior the ostracism which I was expecting, but which,
however, she kept in abeyance Iully Ior an hour. At last, our conversation Ialling upon a concert given a Iew days
beIore by Imer, the actor, and in which his daughter, Therese, had taken a brilliant part, Juliette turned round to
me and inquired what M. de Malipiero did Ior Therese. I said that he was educating her. "He can well do it," she
answered, "Ior he is a man oI talent; but I should like to know what he can do with you?"
"Whatever he can."
"I am told that he thinks you rather stupid."
As a matter oI course, she had the laugh on her side, and I, conIused, uncomIortable and not knowing what to
say, took leave aIter having cut a very sorry Iigure, and determined never again to darken her door. The next day
at dinner the account oI my adventure caused much amusement to the old senator.
Throughout the summer, I carried on a course oI Platonic love with my charming Angela at the house oI her
teacher oI embroidery, but her extreme reserve excited me, and my love had almost become a torment to myselI.
With my ardent nature, I required a mistress like Bettina, who knew how to satisIy my love without wearing it
out. I still retained some Ieelings oI purity, and I entertained the deepest veneration Ior Angela. She was in my
eyes the very palladium oI Cecrops. Still very innocent, I Ielt some disinclination towards women, and I was
simple enough to be jealous oI even their husbands.
Angela would not grant me the slightest Iavour, yet she was no Ilirt; but the Iire beginning in me parched and
withered me. The pathetic entreaties which I poured out oI my heart had less eIIect upon her than upon two
young sisters, her companions and Iriends: had I not concentrated every look oI mine upon the heartless girl, I
might have discovered that her Iriends excelled her in beauty and in Ieeling, but my prejudiced eyes saw no one
but Angela. To every outpouring oI my love she answered that she was quite ready to become my wiIe, and that
such was to be the limit oI my wishes; when she condescended to add that she suIIered as much as I did myselI,
she thought she had bestowed upon me the greatest oI Iavours.
Such was the state oI my mind, when, in the Iirst days oI autumn, I received a letter Irom the Countess de
Mont-Real with an invitation to spend some time at her beautiIul estate at Pasean. She expected many guests,
and among them her own daughter, who had married a Venetian nobleman, and who had a great reputation Ior
wit and beauty, although she had but one eye; but it was so beautiIul that it made up Ior the loss oI the other. I
accepted the invitation, and Pasean oIIering me a constant round oI pleasures, it was easy enough Ior me to
enjoy myselI, and to Iorget Ior the time the rigours oI the cruel Angela.
I was given a pretty room on the ground Iloor, opening upon the gardens oI Pasean, and I enjoyed its
comIorts without caring to know who my neighbours were.
The morning aIter my arrival, at the very moment I awoke, my eyes were delighted with the sight oI the
charming creature who brought me my coIIee. She was a very young girl, but as well Iormed as a young person
oI seventeen; yet she had scarcely completed her Iourteenth year. The snow oI her complexion, her hair as dark
as the raven's wing, her black eyes beaming with Iire and innocence, her dress composed only oI a chemise and
a short petticoat which exposed a well-turned leg and the prettiest tiny Ioot, every detail I gathered in one instant
presented to my looks the most original and the most perIect beauty I had ever beheld. I looked at her with the
greatest pleasure, and her eyes rested upon me as iI we had been old acquaintances.
"How did you Iind your bed?" she asked.
"Very comIortable; I am sure you made it. Pray, who are you?"
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"I am Lucie, the daughter oI the gate-keeper: I have neither brothers nor sisters, and I am Iourteen years old. I
am very glad you have no servant with you; I will be your little maid, and I am sure you will be pleased with me."
Delighted at this beginning, I sat up in my bed and she helped me to put on my dressing-gown, saying a
hundred things which I did not understand. I began to drink my coIIee, quite amazed at her easy Ireedom, and
struck with her beauty, to which it would have been impossible to remain indiIIerent. She had seated herselI on
my bed, giving no other apology Ior that liberty than the most delightIul smile.
I was still sipping my coIIee, when Lucie's parents came into my room. She did not move Irom her place on
the bed, but she looked at them, appearing very proud oI such a seat. The good people kindly scolded her,
begged my Iorgiveness in her Iavour, and Lucie leIt the room to attend to her other duties. The moment she had
gone her Iather and mother began to praise their daughter.
"She is," they said, "our only child, our darling pet, the hope oI our old age. She loves and obeys us, and Iears
God; she is as clean as a new pin, and has but one Iault."
"What is that?"
"She is too young."
"That is a charming Iault which time will mend."
I was not long in ascertaining that they were living specimens oI honesty, oI truth, oI homely virtues, and oI real
happiness. I was delighted at this discovery, when Lucie returned as gay as a lark, prettily dressed, her hair done
in a peculiar way oI her own, and with well-Iitting shoes. She dropped a simple courtesy beIore me, gave a
couple oI hearty kisses to both her parents, and jumped on her Iather knees. I asked her to come and sit on my
bed, but she answered that she could not take such a liberty now that she was dressed, The simplicity,
artlessness, and innocence oI the answer seemed to me very enchanting, and brought a smile on my lips. I
examined her to see whether she was prettier in her new dress or in the morning's negligee, and I decided in
Iavour oI the latter. To speak the truth, Lucie was, I thought, superior in everything, not only to Angela, but even
to Bettina.
The hair-dresser made his appearance, and the honest Iamily leIt my room. When I was dressed I went to
meet the countess and her amiable daughter. The day passed oII very pleasantly, as is generally the case in the
country, when you are amongst agreeable people.
In the morning, the moment my eyes were opened,
I rang the bell, and pretty Lucie came in, simple and natural as beIore, with her easy manners and wonderIul
remarks. Her candour, her innocence shone brilliantly all over her person. I could not conceive how, with her
goodness, her virtue and her intelligence, she could run the risk oI exciting me by coming into my room alone, and
with so much Iamiliarity. I Iancied that she would not attach much importance to certain slight liberties, and would
not prove over-scrupulous, and with that idea I made up my mind to shew her that I Iully understood her. I Ielt
no remorse oI conscience on the score oI her parents, who, in my estimation, were as careless as herselI; I had
no dread oI being the Iirst to give the alarm to her innocence, or to enlighten her mind with the gloomy light oI
malice, but, unwilling either to be the dupe oI Ieeling or to act against it, I resolved to reconnoitre the ground. I
extend a daring hand towards her person, and by an involuntary movement she withdraws, blushes, her
cheerIulness disappears, and, turning her head aside as iI she were in search oI something, she waits until her
agitation has subsided. The whole aIIair had not lasted one minute. She came back, abashed at the idea that she
had proved herselI rather knowing, and at the dread oI having perhaps given a wrong interpretation to an action
which might have been, on my part, perIectly innocent, or the result oI politeness. Her natural laugh soon
returned, and, having rapidly read in her mind all I have just described, I lost no time in restoring her conIidence,
and, judging that I would venture too much by active operations, I resolved to employ the Iollowing morning in a
Iriendly chat during which I could make her out better.
In pursuance oI that plan, the next morning, as we were talking, I told her that it was cold, but that she would
not Ieel it iI she would lie down near me.
"Shall I disturb you?" she said.
"No; but I am thinking that iI your mother happened to come in, she would be angry."
"Mother would not think oI any harm."
"Come, then. But Lucie, do you know what danger you are exposing yourselI to?"
"Certainly I do; but you are good, and, what is more, you are a priest."
"Come; only lock the door."
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"No, no, Ior people might think.... I do not know what." She laid down close by me, and kept on her chatting,
although I did not understand a word oI what she said, Ior in that singular position, and unwilling to give way to
my ardent desires, I remained as still as a log.
Her conIidence in her saIety, conIidence which was certainly not Ieigned, worked upon my Ieelings to such an
extent that I would have been ashamed to take any advantage oI it. At last she told me that nine o'clock had
struck, and that iI old Count Antonio Iound us as we were, he would tease her with his jokes. "When I see that
man," she said, "I am aIraid and I run away." Saying these words, she rose Irom the bed and leIt the room.
I remained motionless Ior a long while, stupeIied, benumbed, and mastered by the agitation oI my excited
senses as well as by my thoughts. The next morning, as I wished to keep calm, I only let her sit down on my bed,
and the conversation I had with her proved without the shadow oI a doubt that her parents had every reason to
idolize her, and that the easy Ireedom oI her mind as well as oI her behaviour with me was entirely owing to her
innocence and to her purity. Her artlessness, her vivacity, her eager curiosity, and the bashIul blushes which
spread over her Iace whenever her innocent or jesting remarks caused me to laugh, everything, in Iact, convinced
me that she was an angel destined to become the victim oI the Iirst libertine who would undertake to seduce her.
I Ielt suIIicient control over my own Ieelings to resist any attempt against her virtue which my conscience might
aIterwards reproach me with. The mere thought oI taking advantage oI her innocence made me shudder, and my
selI-esteem was a guarantee to her parents, who abandoned her to me on the strength oI the good opinion they
entertained oI me, that Lucie's honour was saIe in my hands. I thought I would have despised myselI iI I had
betrayed the trust they reposed in me. I thereIore determined to conquer my Ieelings, and, with perIect
conIidence in the victory, I made up my mind to wage war against myselI, and to be satisIied with her presence
as the only reward oI my heroic eIIorts. I was not yet acquainted with the axiom that "as long as the Iighting lasts,
victory remains uncertain."
As I enjoyed her conversation much, a natural instinct prompted me to tell her that she would aIIord me great
pleasure iI she could come earlier in the morning, and even wake me up iI I happened to be asleep, adding, in
order to give more weight to my request, that the less I slept the better I Ielt in health. In this manner I contrived
to spend three hours instead oI two in her society, although this cunning contrivance oI mine did not prevent the
hours Ilying, at least in my opinion, as swiIt as lightning.
Her mother would oIten come in as we were talking, and when the good woman Iound her sitting on my bed
she would say nothing, only wondering at my kindness. Lucie would then cover her with kisses, and the kind old
soul would entreat me to give her child lessons oI goodness, and to cultivate her mind; but when she had leIt us
Lucie did not think herselI more unrestrained, and whether in or out oI her mother's presence, she was always the
same without the slightest change.
II the society oI this angelic child aIIorded me the sweetest delight, it also caused me the most cruel suIIering.
OIten, very oIten, when her Iace was close to my lips, I Ielt the most ardent temptation to smother her with
kisses, and my blood was at Iever heat when she wished that she had been a sister oI mine. But I kept suIIicient
command over myselI to avoid the slightest contact, Ior I was conscious that even one kiss would have been the
spark which would have blown up all the ediIice oI my reserve. Every time she leIt me I remained astounded at
my own victory, but, always eager to win Iresh laurels, I longed Ior the Iollowing morning, panting Ior a renewal
oI this sweet yet very dangerous contest.
At the end oI ten or twelve days, I Ielt that there was no alternative but to put a stop to this state oI things, or
to become a monster in my own eyes; and I decided Ior the moral side oI the question all the more easily that
nothing insured me success, iI I chose the second alternative. The moment I placed her under the obligation to
deIend herselI Lucie would become a heroine, and the door oI my room being open, I might have been exposed
to shame and to a very useless repentance. This rather Irightened me. Yet, to put an end to my torture, I did not
know what to decide. I could no longer resist the eIIect made upon my senses by this beautiIul girl, who, at the
break oI day and scarcely dressed, ran gaily into my room, came to my bed enquiring how I had slept, bent
Iamiliarly her head towards me, and, so to speak, dropped her words on my lips. In those dangerous moments I
would turn my head aside; but in her innocence she would reproach me Ior being aIraid when she Ielt herselI so
saIe, and iI I answered that I could not possibly Iear a child, she would reply that a diIIerence oI two years was
oI no account.
Standing at bay, exhausted, conscious that every instant increased the ardour which was devouring me, I
resolved to entreat Irom herselI the discontinuance oI her visits, and this resolution appeared to me sublime and
inIallible; but having postponed its execution until the Iollowing morning, I passed a dreadIul night, tortured by the
image oI Lucie, and by the idea that I would see her in the morning Ior the last time. I Iancied that Lucie would
not only grant my prayer, but that she would conceive Ior me the highest esteem. In the morning, it was barely
day-light, Lucie beaming, radiant with beauty, a happy smile brightening her pretty mouth, and her splendid hair in
the most Iascinating disorder, bursts into my room, and rushes with open arms towards my bed; but when she
sees my pale, dejected, and unhappy countenance, she stops short, and her beautiIul Iace taking an expression oI
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sadness and anxiety:
"What ails you?" she asks, with deep sympathy.
"I have had no sleep through the night:"
"And why?"
"Because I have made up my mind to impart to you a project which, although Iraught with misery to myselI,
will at least secure me your esteem."
"But iI your project is to insure my esteem it ought to make you very cheerIul. Only tell me, reverend sir, why,
aIter calling me 'thou' yesterday, you treat me today respectIully, like a lady? What have I done? I will get your
coIIee, and you must tell me everything aIter you have drunk it; I long to hear you."
She goes and returns, I drink the coIIee, and seeing that my countenance remains grave she tries to enliven me,
contrives to make me smile, and claps her hands Ior joy. AIter putting everything in order, she closes the door
because the wind is high, and in her anxiety not to lose one word oI what I have to say, she entreats artlessly a
little place near me. I cannot reIuse her, Ior I Ieel almost liIeless.
I then begin a IaithIul recital oI the IearIul state in which her beauty has thrown me, and a vivid picture oI all the
suIIering I have experienced in trying to master my ardent wish to give her some prooI oI my love; I explain to
her that, unable to endure such torture any longer, I see no other saIety but in entreating her not to see me any
more. The importance oI the subject, the truth oI my love, my wish to present my expedient in the light oI the
heroic eIIort oI a deep and virtuous passion, lend me a peculiar eloquence. I endeavour above all to make her
realize the IearIul consequences which might Iollow a course diIIerent to the one I was proposing, and how
miserable we might be.
At the close oI my long discourse Lucie, seeing my eyes wet with tears, throws oII the bed-clothes to wipe
them, without thinking that in so doing she uncovers two globes, the beauty oI which might have caused the
wreck oI the most experienced pilot. AIter a short silence, the charming child tells me that my tears make her
very unhappy, and that she had never supposed that she could cause them.
"All you have just told me," she added, "proves the sincerity oI your great love Ior me, but I cannot imagine
why you should be in such dread oI a Ieeling which aIIords me the most intense pleasure. You wish to banish me
Irom your presence because you stand in Iear oI your love, but what would you do iI you hated me? Am I guilty
because I have pleased you? II it is a crime to have won your aIIection, I can assure you that I did not think I
was committing a criminal action, and thereIore you cannot conscientiously punish me. Yet I cannot conceal the
truth; I am very happy to be loved by you. As Ior the danger we run, when we love, danger which I can
understand, we can set it at deIiance, iI we choose, and I wonder at my not Iearing it, ignorant as I am, while
you, a learned man, think it so terrible. I am astonished that love, which is not a disease, should have made you
ill, and that it should have exactly the opposite eIIect upon me. Is it possible that I am mistaken, and that my
Ieeling towards you should not be love? You saw me very cheerIul when I came in this morning; it is because I
have been dreaming all night, but my dreams did not keep me awake; only several times I woke up to ascertain
whether my dream was true, Ior I thought I was near you; and every time, Iinding that it was not so, I quickly
went to sleep again in the hope oI continuing my happy dream, and every time I succeeded. AIter such a night,
was it not natural Ior me to be cheerIul this morning? My dear abbe, iI love is a torment Ior you I am very sorry,
but would it be possible Ior you to live without love? I will do anything you order me to do, but, even iI your cure
depended upon it, I would not cease to love you, Ior that would be impossible. Yet iI to heal your suIIerings it
should be necessary Ior you to love me no more, you must do your utmost to succeed, Ior I would much rather
see you alive without love, than dead Ior having loved too much. Only try to Iind some other plan, Ior the one
you have proposed makes me very miserable. Think oI it, there may be some other way which will be less
painIul. Suggest one more practicable, and depend upon Lucie's obedience."
These words, so true, so artless, so innocent, made me realize the immense superiority oI nature's eloquence
over that oI philosophical intellect. For the Iirst time I Iolded this angelic being in my arms, exclaiming, "Yes,
dearest Lucie, yes, thou hast it in thy power to aIIord the sweetest relieI to my devouring pain; abandon to my
ardent kisses thy divine lips which have just assured me oI thy love."
An hour passed in the most delightIul silence, which nothing interrupted except these words murmured now
and then by Lucie, "Oh, God! is it true? is it not a dream?" Yet I respected her innocence, and the more readily
that she abandoned herselI entirely and without the slightest resistance. At last, extricating herselI gently Irom my
arms, she said, with some uneasiness, "My heart begins to speak, I must go;" and she instantly rose. Having
somewhat rearranged her dress she sat down, and her mother, coming in at that moment, complimented me upon
my good looks and my bright countenance, and told Lucie to dress herselI to attend mass. Lucie came back an
hour later, and expressed her joy and her pride at the wonderIul cure she thought she had perIormed upon me,
Ior the healthy appearance I was then shewing convinced her oI my love much better than the pitiIul state in
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which she had found me in the morning. "If your complete happiness," she said, "rests in my power, be happy;
there is nothing that I can refuse you."
The moment she left me, still wavering between happiness and fear, I understood that I was standing on the
very brink of the abyss, and that nothing but a most extraordinary determination could prevent me from falling
headlong into it.
I remained at Pasean until the end of September, and the last eleven nights of my stay were passed in the
undisturbed possession of Lucie, who, secure in her mother's profound sleep, came to my room to enjoy in my
arms the most delicious hours. The burning ardour of my love was increased by the abstinence to which I
condemned myself, although Lucie did everything in her power to make me break through my determination. She
could not fully enjoy the sweetness of the forbidden fruit unless I plucked it without reserve, and the effect
produced by our constantly lying in each other's arms was too strong for a young girl to resist. She tried
everything she could to deceive me, and to make me believe that I had already, and in reality, gathered the whole
flower, but Bettina's lessons had been too efficient to allow me to go on a wrong scent, and I reached the end of
my stay without yielding entirely to the temptation she so fondly threw in my way. I promised her to return in the
spring; our farewell was tender and very sad, and I left her in a state of mind and of body which must have been
the cause of her misfortunes, which, twenty years after, I had occasion to reproach myself with in Holland, and
which will ever remain upon my conscience.
A few days after my return to Venice, I had fallen back into all my old habits, and resumed my courtship of
Angela in the hope that I would obtain from her, at least, as much as Lucie had granted to me. A certain dread
which to-day I can no longer trace in my nature, a sort of terror of the consequences which might have a blighting
influence upon my future, prevented me from giving myself up to complete enjoyment. I do not know whether I
have ever been a truly honest man, but I am fully aware that the feelings I fostered in my youth were by far more
upright than those I have, as I lived on, forced myself to accept. A wicked philosophy throws down too many of
these barriers which we call prejudices.
The two sisters who were sharing Angela's embroidery lessons were her intimate friends and the confidantes
of all her secrets. I made their acquaintance, and found that they disapproved of her extreme reserve towards
me. As I usually saw them with Angela and knew their intimacy with her, I would, when I happened to meet them
alone, tell them all my sorrows, and, thinking only of my cruel sweetheart, I never was conceited enough to
propose that these young girls might fall in love with me; but I often ventured to speak to them with all the blazing
inspiration which was burning in mea liberty I would not have dared to take in the presence of her whom I
loved. True love always begets reserve; we fear to be accused of exaggeration if we should give utterance to
feelings inspired, by passion, and the modest lover, in his dread of saying too much, very often says too little.
The teacher of embroidery, an old bigot, who at first appeared not to mind the attachment I skewed for
Angela, got tired at last of my too frequent visits, and mentioned them to the abbe, the uncle of my fair lady. He
told me kindly one day that I ought not to call at that house so often, as my constant visits might be wrongly
construed, and prove detrimental to the reputation of his niece. His words fell upon me like a thunder-bolt, but I
mastered my feelings sufficiently to leave him without incurring any suspicion, and I promised to follow his good
advice.
Three or four days afterwards, I paid a visit to the teacher of embroidery, and, to make her believe that my
visit was only intended for her, I did not stop one instant near the young girls; yet I contrived to slip in the hand of
the eldest of the two sisters a note enclosing another for my dear Angela, in which I explained why I had been
compelled to discontinue my visits, entreating her to devise some means by which I could enjoy the happiness of
seeing her and of conversing with her. In my note to Nanette, I only begged her to give my letter to her friend,
adding that I would see them again the day after the morrow, and that I trusted to her to find an opportunity for
delivering me the answer. She managed it all very cleverly, and, when I renewed my visit two days afterwards,
she gave me a letter without attracting the attention of anyone. Nanette's letter enclosed a very short note from
Angela, who, disliking letter-writing, merely advised me to follow, if I could, the plan proposed by her friend.
Here is the copy of the letter written by Nanette, which I have always kept, as well as all other letters which I
give in these Memoirs:
"There is nothing in the world, reverend sir, that I would not readily do for my friend. She visits at our house
every holiday, has supper with us, and sleeps under our roof. I will suggest the best way for you to make the
acquaintance of Madame Orio, our aunt; but, if you obtain an introduction to her, you must be very careful not to
let her suspect your preference for Angela, for our aunt would certainly object to her house being made a place
of rendezvous to facilitate your interviews with a stranger to her family. Now for the plan I propose, and in the
execution of which I will give you every assistance in my power. Madame Orio, although a woman of good
station in life, is not wealthy, and she wishes to have her name entered on the list of noble widows who receive
the bounties bestowed by the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, of which M. de Malipiero is president. Last
Sunday, Angela mentioned that you are in the good graces of that nobleman, and that the best way to obtain his
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patronage would be to ask you to entreat it in her behalI. The Ioolish girl added that you were smitten with me,
that all your visits to our mistress oI embroidery were made Ior my special beneIit and Ior the sake oI entertaining
me, and that I would Iind it a very easy task to interest you in her Iavour. My aunt answered that, as you are a
priest, there was no Iear oI any harm, and she told me to write to you with an invitation to call on her; I reIused.
The procurator Rosa, who is a great Iavourite oI my aunt's, was present; he approved oI my reIusal, saying that
the letter ought to be written by her and not by me, that it was Ior my aunt to beg the honour oI your visit on
business oI real importance, and that, iI there was any truth in the report oI your love Ior me, you would not Iail
to come. My aunt, by his advice, has thereIore written the letter which you will Iind at your house. II you wish to
meet Angela, postpone your visit to us until next Sunday. Should you succeed in obtaining M. de Malipiero's
good will in Iavour oI my aunt, you will become the pet oI the household, but you must Iorgive me iI I appear to
treat you with coolness, Ior I have said that I do not like you. I would advise you to make love to my aunt, who
is sixty years oI age; M. Rosa will not be jealous, and you will become dear to everyone. For my part, I will
manage Ior you an opportunity Ior some private conversation with Angela, and I will do anything to convince you
oI my Iriendship. Adieu."
This plan appeared to me very well conceived, and, having the same evening received Madame Orio's letter, I
called upon her on the Iollowing day, Sunday. I was welcomed in a very Iriendly manner, and the lady, entreating
me to exert in her behalI my inIluence with M. de Malipiero, entrusted me with all the papers which I might
require to succeed. I undertook to do my utmost, and I took care to address only a Iew words to Angela, but I
directed all my gallant attentions to Nanette, who treated me as coolly as could be. Finally, I won the Iriendship
oI the old procurator Rosa, who, in aIter years, was oI some service to me.
I had so much at stake in the success oI Madame Orio's petition, that I thought oI nothing else, and knowing
all the power oI the beautiIul Therese Imer over our amorous senator, who would be but too happy to please her
in anything, I determined to call upon her the next day, and I went straight to her room without being announced.
I Iound her alone with the physician Doro, who, Ieigning to be on a proIessional visit, wrote a prescription, Ielt
her pulse, and went oII. This Doro was suspected oI being in love with Therese; M. de Malipiero, who was
jealous, had Iorbidden Therese to receive his visits, and she had promised to obey him. She knew that I was
acquainted with those circumstances, and my presence was evidently unpleasant to her, Ior she had certainly no
wish that the old man should hear how she kept her promise. I thought that no better opportunity could be Iound
oI obtaining Irom her everything I wished.
I told her in a Iew words the object oI my visit, and I took care to add that she could rely upon my discretion,
and that I would not Ior the world do her any injury. Therese, grateIul Ior this assurance, answered that she
rejoiced at Iinding an occasion to oblige me, and, asking me to give her the papers oI my protege, she shewed
me the certiIicates and testimonials oI another lady in Iavour oI whom she had undertaken to speak, and whom,
she said, she would sacriIice to the person in whose behalI I Ielt interested. She kept her word, Ior the very next
day she placed in my hands the brevet, signed by his excellency as president oI the conIraternity. For the present,
and with the expectation oI Iurther Iavours, Madame Orio's name was put down to share the bounties which
were distributed twice a year.
Nanette and her sister Marton were the orphan daughters oI a sister oI Madame Orio. All the Iortune oI the
good lady consisted in the house which was her dwelling, the Iirst Iloor being let, and in a pension given to her by
her brother, member oI the council oI ten. She lived alone with her two charming nieces, the eldest sixteen, and
the youngest IiIteen years oI age. She kept no servant, and only employed an old woman, who, Ior one crown a
month, Ietched water, and did the rough work. Her only Iriend was the procurator Rosa; he had, like her,
reached his sixtieth year, and expected to marry her as soon as he should become a widower.
The two sisters slept together on the third Iloor in a large bed, which was likewise shared by Angela every
Sunday.
As soon as I Iound myselI in possession oI the deed Ior Madame Orio, I hastened to pay a visit to the mistress
oI embroidery, in order to Iind an opportunity oI acquainting Nanette with my success, and in a short note which
I prepared, I inIormed her that in two days I would call to give the brevet to Madame Orio, and I begged her
earnestly not to Iorget her promise to contrive a private interview with my dear Angela.
When I arrived, on the appointed day, at Madame Orio's house, Nanette, who had watched Ior my coming,
dexterously conveyed to my hand a billet, requesting me to Iind a moment to read it beIore leaving the house. I
Iound Madame Orio, Angela, the old procurator, and Marton in the room. Longing to read the note, I reIused
the seat oIIered to me, and presenting to Madame Orio the deed she had so long desired, I asked, as my only
reward, the pleasure oI kissing her hand, giving her to understand that I wanted to leave the room immediately.
"Oh, my dear abbe!" said the lady, "you shall have a kiss, but not on my hand, and no one can object to it, as I
am thirty years older than you."
She might have said Iorty-Iive without going much astray. I gave her two kisses, which evidently satisIied her,
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for she desired me to perform the same ceremony with her nieces, but they both ran away, and Angela alone
stood the brunt of my hardihood. After this the widow asked me to sit down.
"I cannot, Madame."
"Why, I beg?"
"I have."
"I understand. Nanette, shew the way."
"Dear aunt, excuse me."
"Well, then, Marton."
"Oh! dear aunt, why do you not insist upon my sister obeying your orders?"
"Alas! madame, these young ladies are quite right. Allow me to retire."
"No, my dear abbe, my nieces are very foolish; M. Rosa, I am sure, will kindly."
The good procurator takes me affectionately by the hand, and leads me to the third story, where he leaves me.
The moment I am alone I open my letter, and I read the following:
"My aunt will invite you to supper; do not accept. Go away as soon as we sit down to table, and Marton will
escort you as far as the street door, but do not leave the house. When the street door is closed again, everyone
thinking you are gone, go upstairs in the dark as far as the third floor, where you must wait for us. We will come
up the moment M. Rosa has left the house, and our aunt has gone to bed. Angela will be at liberty to grant you
throughout the night a tete-a-tete which, I trust, will prove a happy one."
Oh! what joy-what gratitude for the lucky chance which allowed me to read this letter on the very spot where
I was to expect the dear abject of my love! Certain of finding my way without the slightest difficulty, I returned to
Madame Orio's sitting-room, overwhelmed with happiness.
CHAPTER
An Unlucky Night I Fall in Love with the Two Sisters, and
Forget AngelaA Ball at My HouseJuliette's Humiliation
My Return to PasianLucie's MisfortuneA Propitious Storm
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On my reappearance, Madame Orio told me, with many heart-Ielt thanks, that I must Ior the Iuture consider
myselI as a privileged and welcome Iriend, and the evening passed oII very pleasantly. As the hour Ior supper
drew near, I excused myselI so well that Madame Orio could not insist upon my accepting her invitation to stay.
Marton rose to light me out oI the room, but her aunt, believing Nanette to be my Iavourite, gave her such an
imperative order to accompany me that she was compelled to obey. She went down the stairs rapidly, opened
and closed the street door very noisily, and putting her light out, she reentered the sitting room, leaving me in
darkness. I went upstairs soItly: when I reached the third landing I Iound the chamber oI the two sisters, and,
throwing myselI upon a soIa, I waited patiently Ior the rising oI the star oI my happiness. An hour passed amidst
the sweetest dreams oI my imagination; at last I hear the noise oI the street door opening and closing, and, a Iew
minutes aIter, the two sisters come in with my Angela. I draw her towards me, and caring Ior nobody else, I
keep up Ior two Iull hours my conversation with her. The clock strikes midnight; I am pitied Ior having gone so
late supperless, but I am shocked at such an idea; I answer that, with such happiness as I am enjoying, I can
suIIer Irom no human want. I am told that I am a prisoner, that the key oI the house door is under the aunt's
pillow, and that it is opened only by herselI as she goes in the morning to the Iirst mass. I wonder at my young
Iriends imagining that such news can be anything but delightIul to me. I express all my joy at the certainty oI
passing the next Iive hours with the beloved mistress oI my heart. Another hour is spent, when suddenly Nanette
begins to laugh, Angela wants to know the reason, and Marton whispering a Iew words to her, they both laugh
likewise. This puzzles me. In my turn, I want to know what causes this general laughter, and at last Nanette,
putting on an air oI anxiety, tells me that they have no more candle, and that in a Iew minutes we shall be in the
dark. This is a piece oI news particularly agreeable to me, but I do not let my satisIaction appear on my
countenance, and saying how truly I am sorry Ior their sake, I propose that they should go to bed and sleep
quietly under my respectIul guardianship. My proposal increases their merriment.
"What can we do in the dark?"
"We can talk."
We were Iour; Ior the last three hours we had been talking, and I was the hero oI the romance. Love is a great
poet, its resources are inexhaustible, but iI the end it has in view is not obtained, it Ieels weary and remains silent.
My Angela listened willingly, but little disposed to talk herselI, she seldom answered, and she displayed good
sense rather than wit. To weaken the Iorce oI my arguments, she was oIten satisIied with hurling at me a proverb,
somewhat in the Iashion oI the Romans throwing the catapult. Every time that my poor hands came to the
assistance oI love, she drew herselI back or repulsed me. Yet, in spite oI all, I went on talking and using my
hands without losing courage, but I gave myselI up to despair when I Iound that my rather artIul arguing
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astounded her without bringing conviction to her heart, which was only disquieted, never soItened. On the other
hand, I could see with astonishment upon their countenances the impression made upon the two sisters by the
ardent speeches I poured out to Angela. This metaphysical curve struck me as unnatural, it ought to have been an
angle; I was then, unhappily Ior myselI, studying geometry. I was in such a state that, notwithstanding the cold, I
was perspiring proIusely. At last the light was nearly out, and Nanette took it away.
The moment we were in the dark, I very naturally extended my arms to seize her whom I loved; but I only met
with empty space, and I could not help laughing at the rapidity with which Angela had availed herselI oI the
opportunity oI escaping me. For one Iull hour I poured out all the tender, cheerIul words that love inspired me
with, to persuade her to come back to me; I could only suppose that it was a joke to tease me. But I became
impatient.
"The joke," I said, "has lasted long enough; it is Ioolish, as I could not run aIter you, and I am surprised to hear
you laugh, Ior your strange conduct leads me to suppose that you are making Iun oI me. Come and take your
seat near me, and iI I must speak to you without seeing you let my hands assure me that I am not addressing my
words to the empty air. To continue this game would be an insult to me, and my love does not deserve such a
return."
"Well, be calm. I will listen to every word you may say, but you must Ieel that it would not be decent Ior me to
place myselI near you in this dark room."
"Do you want me to stand where I am until morning?"
"Lie down on the bed, and go to sleep."
"In wonder, indeed, at your thinking me capable oI doing so in the state I am in. Well, I suppose we must play
at blind man's buII."
Thereupon, I began to Ieel right and leIt, everywhere, but in vain. Whenever I caught anyone it always turned
out to be Nanette or Marton, who at once discovered themselves, and I, stupid Don Quixote, instantly would let
them go! Love and prejudice blinded me, I could not see how ridiculous I was with my respectIul reserve. I had
not yet read the anecdotes oI Louis XIII, king oI France, but I had read Boccacio. I kept on seeking in vain,
reproaching her with her cruelty, and entreating her to let me catch her; but she would only answer that the
diIIiculty oI meeting each other was mutual. The room was not large, and I was enraged at my want oI success.
Tired and still more vexed, I sat down, and Ior the next hour I told the history oI Roger, when Angelica
disappears through the power oI the magic ring which the loving knight had so imprudently given her:
'Cosi dicendo, intorno a la fortuna
Brancolando n'andava come cieco.
O quante volte abbraccio l'aria vana
Speando la donella abbracciar seco'.
Angela had not read Ariosto, but Nanette had done so several times. She undertook the deIence oI Angelica,
and blamed the simplicity oI Roger, who, iI he had been wise, would never have trusted the ring to a coquette. I
was delighted with Nanette, but I was yet too much oI a novice to apply her remarks to myselI.
Only one more hour remained, and I was to leave beIore the break oI day, Ior Madame Orio would have died
rather than give way to the temptation oI missing the early mass. During that hour I spoke to Angela, trying to
convince her that she ought to come and sit by me. My soul went through every gradation oI hope and despair,
and the reader cannot possibly realize it unless he has been placed in a similar position. I exhausted the most
convincing arguments; then I had recourse to prayers, and even to tears; but, seeing all was useless, I gave way
to that Ieeling oI noble indignation which lends dignity to anger. Had I not been in the dark, I might, I truly
believe, have struck the proud monster, the cruel girl, who had thus Ior Iive hours condemned me to the most
distressing suIIering. I poured out all the abuse, all the insulting words that despised love can suggest to an
inIuriated mind; I loaded her with the deepest curses; I swore that my love had entirely turned into hatred, and, as
a Iinale, I advised her to be careIul, as I would kill her the moment I would set my eyes on her.
My invectives came to an end with the darkness. At the Iirst break oI day, and as soon as I heard the noise
made by the bolt and the key oI the street door, which Madame Orio was opening to let herselI out, that she
might seek in the church the repose oI which her pious soul was in need, I got myselI ready and looked Ior my
cloak and Ior my hat. But how can I ever portray the consternation in which I was thrown when, casting a sly
glance upon the young Iriends, I Iound the three bathed in tears! In my shame and despair I thought oI committing
suicide, and sitting down again, I recollected my brutal speeches, and upbraided myselI Ior having wantonly
caused them to weep. I could not say one word; I Ielt choking; at last tears came to my assistance, and I gave
way to a Iit oI crying which relieved me. Nanette then remarked that her aunt would soon return home; I dried
my eyes, and, not venturing another look at Angela or at her Iriends, I ran away without uttering a word, and
threw myselI on my bed, where sleep would not visit my troubled mind.
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At noon, M. de Malipiero, noticing the change in my countenance, enquired what ailed me, and longing to
unburden my heart, I told him all that had happened. The wise old man did not laugh at my sorrow, but by his
sensible advice he managed to console me and to give me courage. He was in the same predicament with the
beautiIul Therese. Yet he could not help giving way to his merriment when at dinner he saw me, in spite oI my
grieI, eat with increased appetite; I had gone without my supper the night beIore; he complimented me upon my
happy constitution.
I was determined never to visit Madame Orio's house, and on that very day I held an argument in
metaphysics, in which I contended that any being oI whom we had only an abstract idea, could only exist
abstractedly, and I was right; but it was a very easy task to give to my thesis an irreligious turn, and I was obliged
to recant. A Iew days aIterwards I went to Padua, where I took my degree oI doctor 'utroque jure'.
When I returned to Venice, I received a note Irom M. Rosa, who entreated me to call upon Madame Orio;
she wished to see me, and, Ieeling certain oI not meeting Angela, I paid her a visit the same evening. The two
graceIul sisters were so kind, so pleasant, that they scattered to the winds the shame I Ielt at seeing them aIter the
IearIul night I had passed in their room two months beIore. The labours oI writing my thesis and passing my
examination were oI course suIIicient excuses Ior Madame Orio, who only wanted to reproach me Ior having
remained so long away Irom her house.
As I leIt, Nanette gave me a letter containing a note Irom Angela, the contents oI which ran as Iollows:
"II you are not aIraid oI passing another night with me you shall have no reason to complain oI me, Ior I love
you, and I wish to hear Irom your own lips whether you would still have loved me iI I had consented to become
contemptible in your eyes."
This is the letter oI Nanette, who alone had her wits about her:
"M. Rosa having undertaken to bring you back to our house, I prepare these Iew lines to let you know that
Angela is in despair at having lost you. I conIess that the night you spent with us was a cruel one, but I do not
think that you did rightly in giving up your visits to Madame Orio. II you still Ieel any love Ior Angela, I advise you
to take your chances once more. Accept a rendezvous Ior another night; she may vindicate herselI, and you will
be happy. Believe me; come. Farewell!"
Those two letters aIIorded me much gratiIication, Ior I had it in my power to enjoy my revenge by shewing to
Angela the coldest contempt. ThereIore, on the Iollowing Sunday I went to Madame Orio's house, having
provided myselI with a smoked tongue and a couple oI bottles oI Cyprus wine; but to my great surprise my cruel
mistress was not there. Nanette told me that she had met her at church in the morning, and that she would not be
able to come beIore supper-time. Trusting to that promise I declined Madam Orio's invitation, and beIore the
Iamily sat down to supper I leIt the room as I had done on the Iormer occasion, and slipped upstairs. I longed to
represent the character I had prepared myselI Ior, and Ieeling assured that Angela, even iI she should prove less
cruel, would only grant me insigniIicant Iavours, I despised them in anticipation, and resolved to be avenged.
AIter waiting three quarters oI an hour the street door was locked, and a moment later Nanette and Marton
entered the room.
"Where is Angela?" I enquired.
"She must have been unable to come, or to send a message. Yet she knows you are here."
"She thinks she has made a Iool oI me; but I suspected she would act in this way. You know her now. She is
triIling with me, and very likely she is now revelling in her triumph. She has made use oI you to allure me in the
snare, and it is all the better Ior her; had she come, I meant to have had my turn, and to have laughed at her."
"Ah! you must allow me to have my doubts as to that."
"Doubt me not, beautiIul Nanette; the pleasant night we are going to spend without her must convince you."
"That is to say that, as a man oI sense, you can accept us as a makeshiIt; but you can sleep here, and my sister
can lie with me on the soIa in the next room."
"I cannot hinder you, but it would be great unkindness on your part. At all events, I do not intend to go to
bed."
"What! you would have the courage to spend seven hours alone with us? Why, I am certain that in a short time
you will be at a loss what to say, and you will Iall asleep."
"Well, we shall see. In the mean-time here are provisions. You will not be so cruel as to let me eat alone? Can
you get any bread?"
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"Yes, and to please you we must have a second supper."
"I ought to be in love with you. Tell me, beautiful Nanette, if I were as much attached to you as I was to
Angela, would you follow her example and make me unhappy?"
"How can you ask such a question? It is worthy of a conceited man. All I can answer is, that I do not know
what I would do."
They laid the cloth, brought some bread, some Parmesan cheese and water, laughing all the while, and then we
went to work. The wine, to which they were not accustomed, went to their heads, and their gaiety was soon
delightful. I wondered, as I looked at them, at my having been blind enough not to see their merit.
After our supper, which was delicious, I sat between them, holding their hands, which I pressed to my lips,
asking them whether they were truly my friends, and whether they approved of Angela's conduct towards me.
They both answered that it had made them shed many tears. "Then let me," I said, "have for you the tender
feelings of a brother, and share those feelings yourselves as if you were my sisters; let us exchange, in all
innocence, proofs of our mutual affection, and swear to each other an eternal fidelity."
The first kiss I gave them was prompted by entirely harmless motives, and they returned the kiss, as they
assured me a few days afterwards only to prove to me that they reciprocated my brotherly feelings; but those
innocent kisses, as we repeated them, very soon became ardent ones, and kindled a flame which certainly took
us by surprise, for we stopped, as by common consent, after a short time, looking at each other very much
astonished and rather serious. They both left me without affectation, and I remained alone with my thoughts.
Indeed, it was natural that the burning kisses I had given and received should have sent through me the fire of
passion, and that I should suddenly have fallen madly in love with the two amiable sisters. Both were handsomer
than Angela, and they were superior to herNanette by her charming wit, Marton by her sweet and simple
nature; I could not understand how I had been so long in rendering them the justice they deserved, but they were
the innocent daughters of a noble family, and the lucky chance which had thrown them in my way ought not to
prove a calamity for them. I was not vain enough to suppose that they loved me, but I could well enough admit
that my kisses had influenced them in the same manner that their kisses had influenced me, and, believing this to
be the case, it was evident that, with a little cunning on my part, and of sly practices of which they were ignorant,
I could easily, during the long night I was going to spend with them, obtain favours, the consequences of which
might be very positive. The very thought made me shudder, and I firmly resolved to respect their virtue, never
dreaming that circumstances might prove too strong for me.
When they returned, I read upon their countenances perfect security and satisfaction, and I quickly put on the
same appearance, with a full determination not to expose myself again to the danger of their kisses.
For one hour we spoke of Angela, and I expressed my determination never to see her again, as I had every
proof that she did not care for me. "She loves you," said the artless Marton; "I know she does, but if you do not
mean to marry her, you will do well to give up all intercourse with her, for she is quite determined not to grant
you even a kiss as long as you are not her acknowledged suitor. You must therefore either give up the
acquaintance altogether, or make up your mind that she will refuse you everything."
"You argue very well, but how do you know that she loves me?"
"I am quite sure of it, and as you have promised to be our brother, I can tell you why I have that conviction.
When Angela is in bed with me, she embraces me lovingly and calls me her dear abbe."
The words were scarcely spoken when Nanette, laughing heartily, placed her hand on her sister's lips, but the
innocent confession had such an effect upon me that I could hardly control myself.
Marton told Nanette that I could not possibly be ignorant of what takes place between young girls sleeping
together.
"There is no doubt," I said, "that everybody knows those trifles, and I do not think, dear Nanette, that you
ought to reproach your sister with indiscretion for her friendly confidence."
"It cannot be helped now, but such things ought not to be mentioned. If Angela knew it!"
"She would be vexed, of course; but Marton has given me a mark of her friendship which I never can forget.
But it is all over; I hate Angela, and I do not mean to speak to her any more! she is false, and she wishes my
ruin."
"Yet, loving you, is she wrong to think of having you for her husband?"
"Granted that she is not; but she thinks only of her own self, for she knows what I suffer, and her conduct
would be very different if she loved me. In the mean time, thanks to her imagination, she finds the means of
satisfying her senses with the charming Marton who kindly performs the part of her husband."
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Nanette laughed louder, but I kept very serious, and I went on talking to her sister, and praising her sincerity. I
said that very likely, and to reciprocate her kindness, Angela must likewise have been her husband, but she
answered, with a smile, that Angela played husband only to Nanette, and Nanette could not deny it.
"But," said I, "what name did Nanette, in her rapture, give to her husband?"
"Nobody knows."
"Do you love anyone, Nanette?"
"I do; but my secret is my own."
This reserve gave me the suspicion that I had something to do with her secret, and that Nanette was the rival
oI Angela. Such a delightIul conversation caused me to lose the wish oI passing an idle night with two girls so well
made Ior love.
"It is very lucky," I exclaimed, "that I have Ior you only Ieelings oI Iriendship; otherwise it would be very hard
to pass the night without giving way to the temptation oI bestowing upon you prooIs oI my aIIection, Ior you are
both so lovely, so bewitching, that you would turn the brains oI any man."
As I went on talking, I pretended to be somewhat sleepy; Nanette being the Iirst to notice it, said, "Go to bed
without any ceremony, we will lie down on the soIa in the adjoining room."
"I would be a very poor-spirited Iellow indeed, iI I agreed to this; let us talk; my sleepiness will soon pass oII,
but I am anxious about you. Go to bed yourselves, my charming Iriends, and I will go into the next room. II you
are aIraid oI me, lock the door, but you would do me an injustice, Ior I Ieel only a brother's yearnings towards
you."
"We cannot accept such an arrangement," said Nanette, "but let me persuade you; take this bed."
"I cannot sleep with my clothes on."
"Undress yourselI; we will not look at you."
"I have no Iear oI it, but how could I Iind the heart to sleep, while on my account you are compelled to sit up?"
"Well," said Marton, "we can lie down, too, without undressing."
"II you shew me such distrust, you will oIIend me. Tell me, Nanette, do you think I am an honest man?"
"Most certainly."
"Well, then, give me a prooI oI your good opinion; lie down near me in the bed, undressed, and rely on my
word oI honour that I will not even lay a Iinger upon you. Besides, you are two against one, what can you Iear?
Will you not be Iree to get out oI the bed in case I should not keep quiet? In short, unless you consent to give me
this mark oI your conIidence in me, at least when I have Iallen asleep, I cannot go to bed."
I said no more, and pretended to be very sleepy. They exchanged a Iew words, whispering to each other, and
Marton told me to go to bed, that they would Iollow me as soon as I was asleep. Nanette made me the same
promise, I turned my back to them, undressed myselI quickly, and wishing them good night, I went to bed. I
immediately pretended to Iall asleep, but soon I dozed in good earnest, and only woke when they came to bed.
Then, turning round as iI I wished to resume my slumbers, I remained very quiet until I could suppose them Iast
asleep; at all events, iI they did not sleep, they were at liberty to pretend to do so. Their backs were towards me,
and the light was out; thereIore I could only act at random, and I paid my Iirst compliments to the one who was
lying on my right, not knowing whether she was Nanette or Marton. I Iind her bent in two, and wrapped up in the
only garment she had kept on. Taking my time, and sparing her modesty, I compel her by degrees to
acknowledge her deIeat, and convince her that it is better to Ieign sleep and to let me proceed. Her natural
instincts soon working in concert with mine, I reach the goal; and my eIIorts, crowned with the most complete
success, leave me not the shadow oI a doubt that I have gathered those Iirst-Iruits to which our prejudice makes
us attach so great an importance. Enraptured at having enjoyed my manhood completely and Ior the Iirst time, I
quietly leave my beauty in order to do homage to the other sister. I Iind her motionless, lying on her back like a
person wrapped in proIound and undisturbed slumber. CareIully managing my advance, as iI I were aIraid oI
waking her up, I begin by gently gratiIying her senses, and I ascertain the delightIul Iact that, like her sister, she is
still in possession oI her maidenhood. As soon as a natural movement proves to me that love accepts the oIIering,
I take my measures to consummate the sacriIice. At that moment, giving way suddenly to the violence oI her
Ieelings, and tired oI her assumed dissimulation, she warmly locks me in her arms at the very instant oI the
voluptuous crisis, smothers me with kisses, shares my raptures, and love blends our souls in the most ecstatic
enjoyment.
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Guessing her to be Nanette, I whisper her name.
"Yes, I am Nanette," she answers; "and I declare myselI happy, as well as my sister, iI you prove yourselI true
and IaithIul."
"Until death, my beloved ones, and as everything we have done is the work oI love, do not let us ever mention
the name oI Angela."
AIter this, I begged that she would give us a light; but Marton, always kind and obliging, got out oI bed leaving
us alone. When I saw Nanette in my arms, beaming with love, and Marton near the bed, holding a candle, with
her eyes reproaching us with ingratitude because we did not speak to her, who, by accepting my Iirst caresses,
had encouraged her sister to Iollow her example, I realized all my happiness.
"Let us get up, my darlings," said I, "and swear to each other eternal aIIection."
When we had risen we perIormed, all three together, ablutions which made them laugh a good deal, and which
gave a new impetus to the ardour oI our Ieelings. Sitting up in the simple costume oI nature, we ate the remains oI
our supper, exchanging those thousand triIling words which love alone can understand, and we again retired to
our bed, where we spent a most delightIul night giving each other mutual and oIt-repeated prooIs oI our
passionate ardour. Nanette was the recipient oI my last bounties, Ior Madame Orio having leIt the house to go to
church, I had to hasten my departure, aIter assuring the two lovely sisters that they had eIIectually extinguished
whatever Ilame might still have Ilickered in my heart Ior Angela. I went home and slept soundly until dinner-time.
M. de Malipiero passed a remark upon my cheerIul looks and the dark circles around my eyes, but I kept my
own counsel, and I allowed him to think whatever he pleased. On the Iollowing day I paid a visit to Madame
Orio, and Angela not being oI the party, I remained to supper and retired with M. Rosa. During the evening
Nanette contrived to give me a letter and a small parcel. The parcel contained a small lump oI wax with the
stamp oI a key, and the letter told me to have a key made, and to use it to enter the house whenever I wished to
spend the night with them. She inIormed me at the same time that Angela had slept with them the night Iollowing
our adventures, and that, thanks to their mutual and usual practices, she had guessed the real state oI things, that
they had not denied it, adding that it was all her Iault, and that Angela, aIter abusing them most vehemently, had
sworn never again to darken their doors; but they did not care a jot.
A Iew days aIterwards our good Iortune delivered us Irom Angela; she was taken to Vicenza by her Iather,
who had removed there Ior a couple oI years, having been engaged to paint Irescoes in some houses in that city.
Thanks to her absence, I Iound myselI undisturbed possessor oI the two charming sisters, with whom I spent at
least two nights every week, Iinding no diIIiculty in entering the house with the key which I had speedily
procured.
Carnival was nearly over, when M. Manzoni inIormed me one day that the celebrated Juliette wished to see
me, and regretted much that I had ceased to visit her. I Ielt curious as to what she had to say to me, and
accompanied him to her house. She received me very politely, and remarking that she had heard oI a large hall I
had in my house, she said she would like to give a ball there, iI I would give her the use oI it. I readily consented,
and she handed me twenty-Iour sequins Ior the supper and Ior the band, undertaking to send people to place
chandeliers in the hall and in my other rooms.
M. de Sanvitali had leIt Venice, and the Parmesan government had placed his estates in chancery in
consequence oI his extravagant expenditure. I met him at Versailles ten years aIterwards. He wore the insignia oI
the king's order oI knighthood, and was grand equerry to the eldest daughter oI Louis XV., Duchess oI Parma,
who, like all the French princesses, could not be reconciled to the climate oI Italy.
The ball took place, and went oII splendidly. All the guests belonged to Juliette's set, with the exception oI
Madame Orio, her nieces, and the procurator Rosa, who sat together in the room adjoining the hall, and whom I
had been permitted to introduce as persons oI no consequence whatever.
While the aIter-supper minuets were being danced Juliette took me apart, and said, "Take me to your
bedroom; I have just got an amusing idea."
My room was on the third story; I shewed her the way. The moment we entered she bolted the door, much to
my surprise. "I wish you," she said, "to dress me up in your ecclesiastical clothes, and I will disguise you as a
woman with my own things. We will go down and dance together. Come, let us Iirst dress our hair."
Feeling sure oI something pleasant to come, and delighted with such an unusual adventure, I lose no time in
arranging her hair, and I let her aIterwards dress mine. She applies rouge and a Iew beauty spots to my Iace; I
humour her in everything, and to prove her satisIaction, she gives me with the best oI grace a very loving kiss, on
condition that I do not ask Ior anything else.
"As you please, beautiIul Juliette, but I give you due notice that I adore you!"
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I place upon my bed a shirt, an abbe's neckband, a pair of drawers, black silk stockingsin fact, a complete
fit-out. Coming near the bed, Juliette drops her skirt, and cleverly gets into the drawers, which were not a bad fit,
but when she comes to the breeches there is some difficulty; the waistband is too narrow, and the only remedy is
to rip it behind or to cut it, if necessary. I undertake to make everything right, and, as I sit on the foot of my bed,
she places herself in front of me, with her back towards me. I begin my work, but she thinks that I want to see
too much, that I am not skilful enough, and that my fingers wander in unnecessary places; she gets fidgety, leaves
me, tears the breeches, and manages in her own way. Then I help her to put her shoes on, and I pass the shirt
over her head, but as I am disposing the ruffle and the neck-band, she complains of my hands being too curious;
and in truth, her bosom was rather scanty. She calls me a knave and rascal, but I take no notice of her. I was not
going to be duped, and I thought that a woman who had been paid one hundred thousand ducats was well worth
some study. At last, her toilet being completed, my turn comes. In spite of her objections I quickly get rid of my
breeches, and she must put on me the chemise, then a skirt, in a word she has to dress me up. But all at once,
playing the coquette, she gets angry because I do not conceal from her looks the very apparent proof that her
charms have some effect on a particular part of my being, and she refuses to grant me the favour which would
soon afford both relief and calm. I try to kiss her, and she repulses me, whereupon I lose patience, and in spite of
herself she has to witness the last stage of my excitement. At the sight of this, she pours out every insulting word
she can think of; I endeavour to prove that she is to blame, but it is all in vain.
However, she is compelled to complete my disguise. There is no doubt that an honest woman would not have
exposed herself to such an adventure, unless she had intended to prove her tender feelings, and that she would
not have drawn back at the very moment she saw them shared by her companion; but women like Juliette are
often guided by a spirit of contradiction which causes them to act against their own interests. Besides, she felt
disappointed when she found out that I was not timid, and my want of restraint appeared to her a want of
respect. She would not have objected to my stealing a few light favours which she would have allowed me to
take, as being of no importance, but, by doing that, I should have flattered her vanity too highly.
Our disguise being complete, we went together to the dancing-hall, where the enthusiastic applause of the
guests soon restored our good temper. Everybody gave me credit for a piece of fortune which I had not enjoyed,
but I was not ill-pleased with the rumour, and went on dancing with the false abbe, who was only too charming.
Juliette treated me so well during the night that I construed her manners towards me into some sort of
repentance, and I almost regretted what had taken place between us; it was a momentary weakness for which I
was sorely punished.
At the end of the quadrille all the men thought they had a right to take liberties with the abbe, and I became
myself rather free with the young girls, who would have been afraid of exposing themselves to ridicule had they
offered any opposition to my caresses.
M. Querini was foolish enough to enquire from me whether I had kept on my breeches, and as I answered
that I had been compelled to lend them to Juliette, he looked very unhappy, sat down in a corner of the room,
and refused to dance.
Every one of the guests soon remarked that I had on a woman's chemise, and nobody entertained a doubt of
the sacrifice having been consummated, with the exception of Nanette and Marton, who could not imagine the
possibility of my being unfaithful to them. Juliette perceived that she had been guilty of great imprudence, but it
was too late to remedy the evil.
When we returned to my chamber upstairs, thinking that she had repented of her previous behaviour, and
feeling some desire to possess her, I thought I would kiss her, and I took hold of her hand, saying I was disposed
to give her every satisfaction, but she quickly slapped my face in so violent a manner that, in my indignation, I
was very near returning the compliment. I undressed myself rapidly without looking at her, she did the same, and
we came downstairs; but, in spite of the cold water I had applied to my cheek, everyone could easily see the
stamp of the large hand which had come in contact with my face.
Before leaving the house, Juliette took me apart, and told me, in the most decided and impressive manner, that
if I had any fancy for being thrown out of the window, I could enjoy that pleasure whenever I liked to enter her
dwelling, and that she would have me murdered if this night's adventure ever became publicly known. I took care
not to give her any cause for the execution of either of her threats, but I could not prevent the fact of our having
exchanged shirts being rather notorious. As I was not seen at her house, it was generally supposed that she had
been compelled by M. Querini to keep me at a distance. The reader will see how, six years later, this
extraordinary woman thought proper to feign entire forgetfulness of this adventure.
I passed Lent, partly in the company of my loved ones, partly in the study of experimental physics at the
Convent of the Salutation. My evenings were always given to M. de Malipiero's assemblies. At Easter, in order
to keep the promise I had made to the Countess of Mont-Real, and longing to see again my beautiful Lucie, I
went to Pasean. I found the guests entirely different to the set I had met the previous autumn. Count Daniel, the
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eldest of the family, had married a Countess Gozzi, and a young and wealthy government official, who had
married a god-daughter of the old countess, was there with his wife and his sister-in-law. I thought the supper
very long. The same room had been given to me, and I was burning to see Lucie, whom I did not intend to treat
any more like a child. I did not see her before going to bed, but I expected her early the next morning, when lo!
instead of her pretty face brightening my eyes, I see standing before me a fat, ugly servant-girl! I enquire after the
gatekeeper's family, but her answer is given in the peculiar dialect of the place, and is, of course, unintelligible to
me.
I wonder what has become of Lucie; I fancy that our intimacy has been found out, I fancy that she is illdead,
perhaps. I dress myself with the intention of looking for her. If she has been forbidden to see me, I think to
myself, I will be even with them all, for somehow or other I will contrive the means of speaking to her, and out of
spite I will do with her that which honour prevented love from accomplishing. As I was revolving such thoughts,
the gate-keeper comes in with a sorrowful countenance. I enquire after his wife's health, and after his daughter,
but at the name of Lucie his eyes are filled with tears.
"What! is she dead?"
"Would to God she were!"
"What has she done?"
"She has run away with Count Daniel's courier, and we have been unable to trace her anywhere."
His wife comes in at the moment he replies, and at these words, which renewed her grief, the poor woman
faints away. The keeper, seeing how sincerely I felt for his misery, tells me that this great misfortune befell them
only a week before my arrival.
"I know that man l'Aigle," I say; "he is a scoundrel. Did he ask to marry Lucie?"
"No; he knew well enough that our consent would have been refused!"
"I wonder at Lucie acting in such a way."
"He seduced her, and her running away made us suspect the truth, for she had become very stout."
"Had he known her long?"
"About a month after your last visit she saw him for the first time. He must have thrown a spell over her, for
our Lucie was as pure as a dove, and you can, I believe, bear testimony to her goodness."
"And no one knows where they are?"
"No one. God alone knows what this villain will do with her."
I grieved as much as the unfortunate parents; I went out and took a long ramble in the woods to give way to
my sad feelings. During two hours I cogitated over considerations, some true, some false, which were all
prefaced by an if. If I had paid this visit, as I might have done, a week sooner, loving Lucie would have confided
in me, and I would have prevented that self-murder. If I had acted with her as with Nanette and Marton, she
would not have been left by me in that state of ardent excitement which must have proved the principal cause of
her fault, and she would not have fallen a prey to that scoundrel. If she had not known me before meeting the
courier, her innocent soul would never have listened to such a man. I was in despair, for in my conscience I
acknowledged myself the primary agent of this infamous seduction; I had prepared the way for the villain.
Had I known where to find Lucie, I would certainly have gone forth on the instant to seek for her, but no trace
whatever of her whereabouts had been discovered.
Before I had been made acquainted with Lucie's misfortune I felt great pride at having had sufficient power
over myself to respect her innocence; but after hearing what had happened I was ashamed of my own reserve,
and I promised myself that for the future I would on that score act more wisely. I felt truly miserable when my
imagination painted the probability of the unfortunate girl being left to poverty and shame, cursing the
remembrance of me, and hating me as the first cause of her misery. This fatal event caused me to adopt a new
system, which in after years I carried sometimes rather too far.
I joined the cheerful guests of the countess in the gardens, and received such a welcome that I was soon again
in my usual spirits, and at dinner I delighted everyone.
My sorrow was so great that it was necessary either to drive it away at once or to leave Pasean. But a new
life crept into my being as I examined the face and the disposition of the newly-married lady. Her sister was
prettier, but I was beginning to feel afraid of a novice; I thought the work too great.
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This newly-married lady, who was between nineteen and twenty years oI age, drew upon herselI everybody's
attention by her over-strained and unnatural manners. A great talker, with a memory crammed with maxims and
precepts oIten without sense, but oI which she loved to make a show, very devout, and so jealous oI her
husband that she did not conceal her vexation when he expressed his satisIaction at being seated at table
opposite her sister, she laid herselI open to much ridicule. Her husband was a giddy young Iellow, who perhaps
Ielt very deep aIIection Ior his wiIe, but who imagined that, through good breeding, he ought to appear very
indiIIerent, and whose vanity Iound pleasure in giving her constant causes Ior jealousy. She, in her turn, had a
great dread oI passing Ior an idiot iI she did not shew her appreciation oI, and her resentment Ior, his conduct.
She Ielt uneasy in the midst oI good company, precisely because she wished to appear thoroughly at home. II I
prattled away with some oI my trilling nonsense, she would stare at me, and in her anxiety not to be thought
stupid, she would laugh out oI season. Her oddity, her awkwardness, and her selI-conceit gave me the desire to
know her better, and I began to dance attendance upon her.
My attentions, important and unimportant, my constant care, ever my Iopperies, let everybody know that I
meditated conquest. The husband was duly warned, but, with a great show oI intrepidity, he answered with a
joke every time he was told that I was a Iormidable rival. On my side I assumed a modest, and even sometimes a
careless appearance, when, to shew his Ireedom Irom jealousy, he excited me to make love to his wiIe, who, on
her part, understood but little how to perIorm the part oI Iancy Iree.
I had been paying my address to her Ior Iive or six days with great constancy, when, taking a walk with her in
the garden, she imprudently conIided to me the reason oI her anxiety respecting her husband, and how wrong he
was to give her any cause Ior jealousy. I told her, speaking as an old Iriend, that the best way to punish him
would be to take no apparent notice oI her, husband's preIerence Ior her sister, and to Ieign to be herselI in love
with me. In order to entice her more easily to Iollow my advice, I added that I was well aware oI my plan being a
very diIIicult one to carry out, and that to play successIully such a character a woman must be particularly witty. I
had touched her weak point, and she exclaimed that she would play the part to perIection; but in spite oI her selI-
conIidence she acquitted herselI so badly that everybody understood that the plan was oI my own scheming.
II I happened to be alone with her in the dark paths oI the garden, and tried to make her play her part in real
earnest, she would take the dangerous step oI running away, and rejoining the other guests; the result being that,
on my reappearance, I was called a bad sportsman who Irightened the bird away. I would not Iail at the Iirst
opportunity to reproach her Ior her Ilight, and to represent the triumph she had thus prepared Ior her spouse. I
praised her mind, but lamented over the shortcomings oI her education; I said that the tone, the manners I
adopted towards her, were those oI good society, and proved the great esteem I entertained Ior her intelligence,
but in the middle oI all my Iine speeches, towards the eleventh or twelIth day oI my courtship, she suddenly put
me out oI all conceit by telling me that, being a priest, I ought to know that every amorous connection was a
deadly sin, that God could see every action oI His creatures, and that she would neither damn her soul nor place
herselI under the necessity oI saying to her conIessor that she had so Iar Iorgotten herselI as to commit such a sin
with a priest. I objected that I was not yet a priest, but she Ioiled me by enquiring point-blank whether or not the
act I had in view was to be numbered amongst the cardinal sins, Ior, not Ieeling the courage to deny it, I Ielt that I
must give up the argument and put an end to the adventure.
A little consideration having considerably calmed my Ieelings, everybody remarked my new countenance
during dinner; and the old count, who was very Iond oI a joke, expressed loudly his opinion that such quiet
demeanour on my part announced the complete success oI my campaign. Considering such a remark to be
Iavourable to me, I took care to spew my cruel devotee that such was the way the world would judge, but all this
was lost labour. Luck, however, stood me in good stead, and my eIIorts were crowned with success in the
Iollowing manner.
On Ascension Day, we all went to pay a visit to Madame Bergali, a celebrated Italian poetess. On my return
to Pasean the same evening, my pretty mistress wished to get into a carriage Ior Iour persons in which her
husband and sister were already seated, while I was alone in a two-wheeled chaise. I exclaimed at this, saying
that such a mark oI distrust was indeed too pointed, and everybody remonstrated with her, saying that she ought
not to insult me so cruelly. She was compelled to come with me, and having told the postillion that I wanted to go
by the nearest road, he leIt the other carriages, and took the way through the Iorest oI Cequini. The sky was
clear and cloudless when we leIt, but in less than halI-an-hour we were visited by one oI those storms so Irequent
in the south, which appear likely to overthrow heaven and earth, and which end rapidly, leaving behind them a
bright sky and a cool atmosphere, so that they do more good than harm.
"Oh, heavens!" exclaimed my companion, "we shall have a storm."
"Yes," I say, "and although the chaise is covered, the rain will spoil your pretty dress. I am very sorry."
"I do not mind the dress; but the thunder Irightens me so!"
"Close your ears."
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"And the lightning?"
"Postillion, let us go somewhere for shelter."
"There is not a house, sir, for a league, and before we come to it, the storm will have passed off."
He quietl keeps on his wa, and the lightning flashes, the thunder sends forth its might voice, and the lad
shudders with fright. The rain comes down in torrents, I take off m cloak to shelter us in front, at the same
moment we are blinded b a flash of lightning, and the electric fluid strikes the earth within one hundred ards of
us. The horses plunge and prance with fear, and m companion falls in spasmodic convulsions. She throws
herself upon me, and folds me in her arms. The cloak had gone down, I stoop to place it around us, and
improving m opportunit I take up her clothes. She tries to pull them down, but another clap of thunder deprives
her of ever particle of strength. Covering her with the cloak, I draw her towards me, and the motion of the
chaise coming to m assistance, she falls over me in the most favourable position. I lose no time, and under
pretence of arranging m watch in m fob, I prepare mself for the assault. On her side, conscious that, unless
she stops me at once, all is lost, she makes a great effort; but I hold her tightl, saing that if she does not feign a
fainting fit, the post-bo will turn round and see everthing; I let her enjo the pleasure of calling me an infidel, a
monster, anthing she likes, but m victor is the most complete that ever a champion achieved.
The rain, however, was falling, the wind, which was ver high, blew in our faces, and, compelled to sta where
she was, she said I would ruin her reputation, as the postillion could see everthing.
"I keep m ee upon him," I answered, "he is not thinking of us, and even if he should turn his head, the cloak
shelters us from him. Be quiet, and pretend to have fainted, for I will not let ou go."
She seems resigned, and asks how I can thus set the storm at defiance.
"The storm, dear one, is m best friend to-da."
She almost seems to believe me, her fear vanishes, and feeling m rapture, she enquires whether I have done. I
smile and answer in the negative, stating that I cannot let her go till the storm is over. "Consent to everthing, or I
let the cloak drop," I sa to her.
"Well, ou dreadful man, are ou satisfied, now that ou have insured m miser for the remainder of m life?"
"No, not et."
"What more do ou want?"
"A shower of kisses."
"How unhapp I am! Well! here the are."
"Tell me ou forgive me, and confess that ou have shared all m pleasure."
"You know I did. Yes, I forgive ou."
Then I give her her libert, and treating her to some ver pleasant caresses, I ask her to have the same
kindness for me, and she goes to work with a smile on her prett lips.
"Tell me ou love me," I sa to her.
"No, I do not, for ou are an atheist, and hell awaits ou."
The weather was fine again, and the elements calm; I kissed her hands and told her that the postillion had
certainl not seen anthing, and that I was sure I had cured her of her dread of thunder, but that she was not
likel to reveal the secret of m remed. She answered that one thing at least was certain, namel that no other
woman had ever been cured b the same prescription.
"Wh," I said, "the same remed has ver likel been applied a million of times within the last thousand ears.
To tell ou the truth, I had somewhat depended upon it, when we entered the chaise together, for I did not know
an other wa of obtaining the happiness of possessing ou. But console ourself with the belief that, placed in
the same position, no frightened woman could have resisted."
"I believe ou; but for the future I will travel onl with m husband."
"You would be wrong, for our husband would not have been clever enough to cure our fright in the wa I
have done."
"True, again. One learns some curious things in our compan; but we shall not travel tete-a-tete again."
We reached Pasean an hour before our friends. We get out of the chaise, and m fair mistress ran off to her
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chamber, while I was looking Ior a crown Ior the postillion. I saw that he was grinning.
"What are you laughing at?"
"Oh! you know."
"Here, take this ducat and keep a quiet tongue in your head."
CHAPTER I
My Grandmother's Death and Its Consequences I Lose M. de
Malipiero's FriendshipI Have No Longer a Home
La TintorettaI Am Sent to a Clerical SeminaryI Am Expelled
From It, and Confined in a Fortress
During supper the conversation turned altogether upon the storm, and the oIIicial, who knew the weakness oI
his wiIe, told me that he was quite certain I would never travel with her again. "Nor I with him," his wiIe
remarked, "Ior, in his IearIul impiety, he exorcised the lightning with jokes."
HenceIorth she avoided me so skilIully that I never could contrive another interview with her.
When I returned to Venice I Iound my grandmother ill, and I had to change all my habits, Ior I loved her too
dearly not to surround her with every care and attention; I never leIt her until she had breathed her last. She was
unable to leave me anything, Ior during her liIe she had given me all she could, and her death compelled me to
adopt an entirely diIIerent mode oI liIe.
A month aIter her death, I received a letter Irom my mother inIorming me that, as there was no probability oI
her return to Venice, she had determined to give up the house, the rent oI which she was still paying, that she had
communicated her intention to the Abbe Grimani, and that I was to be guided entirely by his advice.
He was instructed to sell the Iurniture, and to place me, as well as my brothers and my sister, in a good
boarding-house. I called upon Grimani to assure him oI my perIect disposition to obey his commands.
The rent oI the house had been paid until the end oI the year; but, as I was aware that the Iurniture would be
sold on the expiration oI the term, I placed my wants under no restraint. I had already sold some linen, most oI
the china, and several tapestries; I now began to dispose oI the mirrors, beds, etc. I had no doubt that my
conduct would be severely blamed, but I knew likewise that it was my Iather's inheritance, to which my mother
had no claim whatever, and, as to my brothers, there was plenty oI time beIore any explanation could take place
between us.
Four months aIterwards I had a second letter Irom my mother, dated Irom Warsaw, and enclosing another.
Here is the translation oI my mother's letter:
"My dear son, I have made here the acquaintance oI a learned Minim Iriar, a Calabrian by birth, whose great
qualities have made me think oI you every time he has honoured me with a visit. A year ago I told him that I had
a son who was preparing himselI Ior the Church, but that I had not the means oI keeping him during his studies,
and he promised that my son would become his own child, iI I could obtain Ior him Irom the queen a bishopric in
his native country, and he added that it would be very easy to succeed iI I could induce the sovereign to
recommend him to her daughter, the queen oI Naples.
"Full oI trust in the Almighty, I threw myselI at the Ieet oI her majesty, who granted me her gracious protection.
She wrote to her daughter, and the worthy Iriar has been appointed by the Pope to the bishopric oI Monterano.
FaithIul to his promise, the good bishop will take you with him about the middle oI next year, as he passes
through Venice to reach Calabria. He inIorms you himselI oI his intentions in the enclosed letter. Answer him
immediately, my dear son, and Iorward your letter to me; I will deliver it to the bishop. He will pave your way to
the highest dignities oI the Church, and you may imagine my consolation iI, in some twenty or thirty years, I had
the happiness oI seeing you a bishop, at least! Until his arrival, M. Grimani will take care oI you. I give you my
blessing, and I am, my dear child, etc., etc."
The bishop's letter was written in Latin, and was only a repetition oI my mother's. It was Iull oI unction, and
inIormed me that he would tarry but three days in Venice.
I answered according to my mother's wishes, but those two letters had turned my brain. I looked upon my
Iortune as made. I longed to enter the road which was to lead me to it, and I congratulated myselI that I could
leave my country without any regret. Farewell, Venice, I exclaimed; the days Ior vanity are gone by, and in the
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future I will only think of a great, of a substantial career! M. Grimani congratulated me warmly on my good luck,
and promised all his friendly care to secure a good boarding-house, to which I would go at the beginning of the
year, and where I would wait for the bishop's arrival.
M. de Malipiero, who in his own way had great wisdom, and who saw that in Venice I was plunging headlong
into pleasures and dissipation, and was only wasting a precious time, was delighted to see me on the eve of going
somewhere else to fulfil my destiny, and much pleased with my ready acceptance of those new circumstances in
my life. He read me a lesson which I have never forgotten. "The famous precept of the Stoic philosophers," he
said to me, "'Sequere Deum', can be perfectly explained by these words: 'Give yourself up to whatever fate
offers to you, provided you do not feel an invincible repugnance to accept it.'" He added that it was the genius of
Socrates, 'saepe revocans, raro impellens'; and that it was the origin of the 'fata viam inveniunt' of the same
philosophers.
M. de Malipiero's science was embodied in that very lesson, for he had obtained his knowledge by the study
of only one bookthe book of man. However, as if it were to give me the proof that perfection does not exist,
and that there is a bad side as well as a good one to everything, a certain adventure happened to me a month
afterwards which, although I was following his own maxims, cost me the loss of his friendship, and which
certainly did not teach me anything.
The senator fancied that he could trace upon the physiognomy of young people certain signs which marked
them out as the special favourites of fortune. When he imagined that he had discovered those signs upon any
individual, he would take him in hand and instruct him how to assist fortune by good and wise principles; and he
used to say, with a great deal of truth, that a good remedy would turn into poison in the hands of a fool, but that
poison is a good remedy when administered by a learned man. He had, in my time, three favourites in whose
education he took great pains. They were, besides myself, Therese Imer, with whom the reader has a slight
acquaintance already, and the third was the daughter of the boatman Gardela, a girl three years younger than I,
who had the prettiest and most fascinating countenance. The speculative old man, in order to assist fortune in her
particular case, made her learn dancing, for, he would say, the ball cannot reach the pocket unless someone
pushes it. This girl made a great reputation at Stuttgard under the name of Augusta. She was the favourite
mistress of the Duke of Wurtemburg in 1757. She was a most charming woman. The last time I saw her she was
in Venice, and she died two years afterwards. Her husband, Michel de l'Agata, poisoned himself a short time
after her death.
One day we had all three dined with him, and after dinner the senator left us, as was his wont, to enjoy his
siesta; the little Gardela, having a dancing lesson to take, went away soon after him, and I found myself alone
with Therese, whom I rather admired, although I had never made love to her. We were sitting down at a table
very near each other, with our backs to the door of the room in which we thought our patron fast asleep, and
somehow or other we took a fancy to examine into the difference of conformation between a girl and a boy; but
at the most interesting part of our study a violent blow on my shoulders from a stick, followed by another, and
which would have been itself followed by many more if I had not ran away, compelled us to abandon our
interesting investigation unfinished. I got off without hat or cloak, and went home; but in less than a quarter of an
hour the old housekeeper of the senator brought my clothes with a letter which contained a command never to
present myself again at the mansion of his excellency. I immediately wrote him an answer in the following terms:
"You have struck me while you were the slave of your anger; you cannot therefore boast of having given me a
lesson, and I have not learned anything. To forgive you I must forget that you are a man of great wisdom, and I
can never forget it."
This nobleman was perhaps quite right not to be pleased with the sight we gave him; yet, with all his prudence,
he proved himself very unwise, for all the servants were acquainted with the cause of my exile, and, of course,
the adventure was soon known through the city, and was received with great merriment. He dared not address
any reproaches to Therese, as I heard from her soon after, but she could not venture to entreat him to pardon
me.
The time to leave my father's house was drawing near, and one fine morning I received the visit of a man about
forty years old, with a black wig, a scarlet cloak, and a very swarthy complexion, who handed me a letter from
M. Grimani, ordering me to consign to the bearer all the furniture of the house according to the inventory, a copy
of which was in my possession. Taking the inventory in my hand, I pointed out every article marked down,
except when the said article, having through my instrumentality taken an airing out of the house, happened to be
missing, and whenever any article was absent I said that I had not the slightest idea where it might be. But the
uncouth fellow, taking a very high tone, said loudly that he must know what I had done with the furniture. His
manner being very disagreeable to me, I answered that I had nothing to do with him, and as he still raised his
voice I advised him to take himself off as quickly as possible, and I gave him that piece of advice in such a way
as to prove to him that, at home, I knew I was the more powerful of the two.
Feeling it my duty to give information to M. Grimani of what had just taken place, I called upon him as soon as
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he was up, but I found that my man was already there, and that he had given his own account of the affair. The
abbe, after a very severe lecture to which I had to listen in silence, ordered me to render an account of all the
missing articles. I answered that I had found myself under the necessity of selling them to avoid running into debt.
This confession threw him in a violent passion; he called me a rascal, said that those things did not belong to me,
that he knew what he had to do, and he commanded me to leave his house on the very instant.
Mad with rage, I ran for a Jew, to whom I wanted to sell what remained of the furniture, but when I returned
to my house I found a bailiff waiting at the door, and he handed me a summons. I looked over it and perceived
that it was issued at the instance of Antonio Razetta. It was the name of the fellow with the swarthy countenance.
The seals were already affixed on all the doors, and I was not even allowed to go to my room, for a keeper had
been left there by the bailiff. I lost no time, and called upon M. Rosa, to whom I related all the circumstances.
After reading the summons he said,
"The seals shall be removed to-morrow morning, and in the meantime I shall summon Razetta before the
avogador. But to-night, my dear friend," he added, "you must beg the hospitality of some one of your
acquaintances. It has been a violent proceeding, but you shall be paid handsomely for it; the man is evidently
acting under M. Grimani's orders."
"Well, that is their business."
I spent the night with Nanette and Marton, and on the following morning, the seals having been taken off, I
took possession of my dwelling. Razetta did not appear before the 'avogador', and M. Rosa summoned him in
my name before the criminal court, and obtained against him a writ of 'capias' in case he should not obey the
second summons. On the third day M. Grimani wrote to me, commanding me to call upon him. I went
immediately. As soon as I was in his presence he enquired abruptly what my intentions were.
"I intend to shield myself from your violent proceedings under the protection of the law, and to defend myself
against a man with whom I ought never to have had any connection, and who has compelled me to pass the night
in a disreputable place."
"In a disreputable place?"
"Of course. Why was I, against all right and justice, prevented from entering my own dwelling?"
"You have possession of it now. But you must go to your lawyer and tell him to suspend all proceedings
against Razetta, who has done nothing but under my instructions. I suspected that your intention was to sell the
rest of the furniture; I have prevented it. There is a room at your disposal at St. Chrysostom's, in a house of mine,
the first floor of which is occupied by La Tintoretta, our first opera dancer. Send all your things there, and come
and dine with me every day. Your sister and your brothers have been provided with a comfortable home;
therefore, everything is now arranged for the best."
I called at once upon M. Rosa, to whom I explained all that had taken place, and his advice being to give way
to M. Grimani's wishes, I determined to follow it. Besides, the arrangement offered the best satisfaction I could
obtain, as to be a guest at his dinner table was an honour for me. I was likewise full of curiosity respecting my
new lodging under the same roof with La Tintoretta, who was much talked of, owing to a certain Prince of
Waldeck who was extravagantly generous with her.
The bishop was expected in the course of the summer; I had, therefore, only six months more to wait in
Venice before taking the road which would lead me, perhaps, to the throne of Saint Peter: everything in the future
assumed in my eyes the brightest hue, and my imagination revelled amongst the most radiant beams of sunshine;
my castles in the air were indeed most beautiful.
I dined the same day with M. Grimani, and I found myself seated next to Razettaan unpleasant neighbour,
but I took no notice of him. When the meal was over, I paid a last visit to my beautiful house in Saint-Samuel's
parish, and sent all I possessed in a gondola to my new lodging.
I did not know Signora Tintoretta, but I was well acquainted with her reputation, character and manners. She
was but a poor dancer, neither handsome nor plain, but a woman of wit and intellect. Prince Waldeck spent a
great deal for her, and yet he did not prevent her from retaining the titulary protection of a noble Venetian of the
Lin family, now extinct, a man about sixty years of age, who was her visitor at every hour of the day. This
nobleman, who knew me, came to my room towards the evening, with the compliments of the lady, who, he
added, was delighted to have me in her house, and would be pleased to receive me in her intimate circle.
To excuse myself for not having been the first to pay my respects to the signora, I told M. Lin that I did not
know she was my neighbour, that M. Grimani had not mentioned the circumstance, otherwise I would have paid
my duties to her before taking possession of my lodging. After this apology I followed the ambassador, he
presented me to his mistress, and the acquaintance was made.
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She received me like a princess, took oII her glove beIore giving me her hand to kiss, mentioned my name
beIore Iive or six strangers who were present, and whose names she gave me, and invited me to take a seat near
her. As she was a native oI Venice, I thought it was absurd Ior her to speak French to me, and I told her that I
was not acquainted with that language, and would Ieel grateIul iI she would converse in Italian. She was surprised
at my not speaking French, and said I would cut but a poor Iigure in her drawing-room, as they seldom spoke
any other language there, because she received a great many Ioreigners. I promised to learn French. Prince
Waldeck came in during the evening; I was introduced to him, and he gave me a very Iriendly welcome. He
could speak Italian very well, and during the carnival he chewed me great kindness. He presented me with a gold
snuIIbox as a reward Ior a very poor sonnet which I had written Ior his dear Grizellini. This was her Iamily name;
she was called Tintoretta because her Iather had been a dyer.
The Tintoretta had greater claims than Juliette to the admiration oI sensible men. She loved poetry, and iI it had
not been that I was expecting the bishop, I would have Iallen in love with her. She was herselI smitten with a
young physician oI great merit, named Righelini, who died in the prime oI liIe, and whom I still regret. I shall have
to mention him in another part oI my Memoirs.
Towards the end oI the carnival, my mother wrote to M. Grimani that it would be a great shame iI the bishop
Iound me under the rooI oI an opera dancer, and he made up his mind to lodge me in a respectable and decent
place. He took the Abbe Tosello into consultation, and the two gentlemen thought that the best thing they could
do Ior me would be to send me to a clerical seminary. They arranged everything unknown to me, and the abbe
undertook to inIorm me oI their plan and to obtain Irom me a gracious consent. But when I heard him speak with
beautiIul Ilowers oI rhetoric Ior the purpose oI gilding the bitter pill, I could not help bursting into a joyous
laughter, and I astounded his reverence when I expressed my readiness to go anywhere he might think right to
send me.
The plan oI the two worthy gentlemen was absurd, Ior at the age oI seventeen, and with a nature like mine, the
idea oI placing me in a seminary ought never to have been entertained, but ever a IaithIul disciple oI Socrates,
Ieeling no unconquerable reluctance, and the plan, on the contrary, appearing to me rather a good joke, I not
only gave a ready consent, but I even longed to enter the seminary. I told M. Grimani I was prepared to accept
anything, provided Razetta had nothing to do with it. He gave me his promise, but he did not keep it when I leIt
the seminary. I have never been able to decide whether this Grimani was kind because he was a Iool, or whether
his stupidity was the result oI his kindness, but all his brothers were the same. The worst trick that Dame Fortune
can play upon an intelligent young man is to place him under the dependence oI a Iool. A Iew days aIterwards,
having been dressed as a pupil oI a clerical seminary by the care oI the abbe, I was taken to Saint-Cyprian de
Muran and introduced to the rector.
The patriarchal church oI Saint-Cyprian is served by an order oI the monks, Iounded by the blessed Jerome
Miani, a nobleman oI Venice. The rector received me with tender aIIection and great kindness. But in his address
(which was Iull oI unction) I thought I could perceive a suspicion on his part that my being sent to the seminary
was a punishment, or at least a way to put a stop to an irregular liIe, and, Ieeling hurt in my dignity, I told him at
once, "Reverend Iather, I do not think that any one has the right oI punishing me."
"No, no, my son," he answered, "I only meant that you would be very happy with us."
We were then shewn three halls, in which we Iound at least one hundred and IiIty seminarists, ten or twelve
schoolrooms, the reIectory, the dormitory, the gardens Ior play hours, and every pain was taken to make me
imagine liIe in such a place the happiest that could Iall to the lot oI a young man, and to make me suppose that I
would even regret the arrival oI the bishop. Yet they all tried to cheer me up by saying that I would only remain
there Iive or six months. Their eloquence amused me greatly.
I entered the seminary at the beginning oI March, and prepared myselI Ior my new liIe by passing the night
between my two young Iriends, Nanette and Marton, who bathed their pillows with tears; they could not
understand, and this was likewise the Ieeling oI their aunt and oI the good M. Rosa, how a young man like myselI
could shew such obedience.
The day beIore going to the seminary, I had taken care to entrust all my papers to Madame Manzoni. They
made a large parcel, and I leIt it in her hands Ior IiIteen years. The worthy old lady is still alive, and with her
ninety years she enjoys good health and a cheerIul temper. She received me with a smile, and told me that I
would not remain one month in the seminary.
"I beg your pardon, madam, but I am very glad to go there, and intend to remain until the arrival oI the
bishop."
"You do not know your own nature, and you do not know your bishop, with whom you will not remain very
long either."
The abbe accompanied me to the seminary in a gondola, but at Saint-Michel he had to stop in consequence oI
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a violent attack oI vomiting which seized me suddenly; the apothecary cured me with some mint-water.
I was indebted Ior this attack to the too Irequent sacriIices which I had been oIIering on the altar oI love. Any
lover who knows what his Ieelings were when he Iound himselI with the woman he adored and with the Iear that
it was Ior the last time, will easily imagine my Ieelings during the last hours that I expected ever to spend with my
two charming mistresses. I could not be induced to let the last oIIering be the last, and I went on oIIering until
there was no more incense leIt.
The priest committed me to the care oI the rector, and my luggage was carried to the dormitory, where I went
myselI to deposit my cloak and my hat. I was not placed amongst the adults, because, notwithstanding my size, I
was not old enough. Besides, I would not shave myselI, through vanity, because I thought that the down on my
Iace leIt no doubt oI my youth. It was ridiculous, oI course; but when does man cease to be so? We get rid oI
our vices more easily than oI our Iollies. Tyranny has not had suIIicient power over me to compel me to shave
myselI; it is only in that respect that I have Iound tyranny to be tolerant.
"To which school do you wish to belong?" asked the rector.
"To the dogmatic, reverend Iather; I wish to study the history oI the Church."
"I will introduce you to the Iather examiner."
"I am doctor in divinity, most reverend Iather, and do not want to be examined."
"It is necessary, my dear son; come with me."
This necessity appeared to me an insult, and I Ielt very angry; but a spirit oI revenge quickly whispered to me
the best way to mystiIy them, and the idea made me very joyIul. I answered so badly all the questions
propounded in Latin by the examiner, I made so many solecisms, that he Ielt it his duty to send me to an inIerior
class oI grammar, in which, to my great delight, I Iound myselI the companion oI some twenty young urchins oI
about ten years, who, hearing that I was doctor in divinity, kept on saying: 'Accipiamus pecuniam, et mittamus
asinum in patriam suam'.
Our play hours aIIorded me great amusement; my companions oI the dormitory, who were all in the class oI
philosophy at least, looked down upon me with great contempt, and when they spoke oI their own sublime
discourses, they laughed iI I appeared to be listening attentively to their discussions which, as they thought, must
have been perIect enigmas to me. I did not intend to betray myselI, but an accident, which I could not avoid,
Iorced me to throw oII the mask.
Father Barbarigo, belonging to the Convent oI the Salutation at Venice, whose pupil I had been in physics,
came to pay a visit to the rector, and seeing me as we were coming Irom mass paid me his Iriendly compliments.
His Iirst question was to enquire what science I was studying, and he thought I was joking when I answered that
I was learning the grammar. The rector having joined us, I leIt them together, and went to my class. An our later,
the rector sent Ior me.
"Why did you Ieign such ignorance at the examination?" he asked.
"Why," I answered, "were you unjust enough to compel me to the degradation oI an examination?"
He looked annoyed, and escorted me to the dogmatic school, where my comrades oI the dormitory received
me with great astonishment, and in the aIternoon, at play time, they gathered around me and made me very
happy with their proIessions oI Iriendship.
One oI them, about IiIteen years old, and who at the present time must, iI still alive, be a bishop, attracted my
notice by his Ieatures as much as by his talents. He inspired me with a very warm Iriendship, and during recess,
instead oI playing skittles with the others, we always walked together. We conversed upon poetry, and we both
delighted in the beautiIul odes oI Horace. We liked Ariosto better than Tasso, and Petrarch had our whole
admiration, while Tassoni and Muratori, who had been his critics, were the special objects oI our contempt. We
were such Iast Iriends, aIter Iour days oI acquaintance, that we were actually jealous oI each other, and to such
an extent that iI either oI us walked about with any seminarist, the other would be angry and sulk like a
disappointed lover.
The dormitory was placed under the supervision oI a lay Iriar, and it was his province to keep us in good
order. AIter supper, accompanied by this lay Iriar, who had the title oI preIect, we all proceeded to the
dormitory. There, everyone had to go to his own bed, and to undress quietly aIter having said his prayers in a
low voice. When all the pupils were in bed, the preIect would go to his own. A large lantern lighted up the
dormitory, which had the shape oI a parallelogram eighty yards by ten. The beds were placed at equal distances,
and to each bed there were a Iold-stool, a chair, and room Ior the trunk oI the Seminarist. At one end was the
washing place, and at the other the bed oI the preIect. The bed oI my Iriend was opposite mine, and the lantern
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was between us.
The principal duty of the prefect was to take care that no pupil should go and sleep with one of his comrades,
for such a visit was never supposed an innocent one. It was a cardinal sin, and, bed being accounted the place
for sleep and not for conversation, it was admitted that a pupil who slept out of his own bed, did so only for
immoral purposes. So long as he stopped in his own bed, he could do what he liked; so much the worse for him
if he gave himself up to bad practices. It has been remarked in Germany that it is precisely in those institutions for
young men in which the directors have taken most pains to prevent onanism that this vice is most prevalent.
Those who had framed the regulations in our seminary were stupid fools, who had not the slightest knowledge
of either morals or human nature. Nature has wants which must be administered to, and Tissot is right only as far
as the abuse of nature is concerned, but this abuse would very seldom occur if the directors exercised proper
wisdom and prudence, and if they did not make a point of forbidding it in a special and peculiar manner; young
people give way to dangerous excesses from a sheer delight in disobedience,a disposition very natural to
humankind, since it began with Adam and Eve.
I had been in the seminary for nine or ten days, when one night I felt someone stealing very quietly in my bed;
my hand was at once clutched, and my name whispered. I could hardly restrain my laughter. It was my friend,
who, having chanced to wake up and finding that the lantern was out, had taken a sudden fancy to pay me a visit.
I very soon begged him to go away for fear the prefect should be awake, for in such a case we should have
found ourselves in a very unpleasant dilemma, and most likely would have been accused of some abominable
offence. As I was giving him that good advice we heard someone moving, and my friend made his escape; but
immediately after he had left me I heard the fall of some person, and at the same time the hoarse voice of the
prefect exclaiming:
"Ah, villain! wait until to-morrowuntil to-morrow!"
After which threat he lighted the lantern and retired to his couch.
The next morning, before the ringing of the bell for rising, the rector, followed by the prefect, entered the
dormitory, and said to us:
"Listen to me, all of you. You are aware of what has taken place this last night. Two amongst you must be
guilty; but I wish to forgive them, and to save their honour I promise that their names shall not be made public. I
expect every one of you to come to me for confession before recess."
He left the dormitory, and we dressed ourselves. In the afternoon, in obedience to his orders, we all went to
him and confessed, after which ceremony we repaired to the garden, where my friend told me that, having
unfortunately met the prefect after he left me, he had thought that the best way was to knock him down, in order
to get time to reach his own bed without being known.
"And now," I said, "you are certain of being forgiven, for, of course, you have wisely confessed your error?"
"You are joking," answered my friend; "why, the good rector would not have known any more than he knows
at present, even if my visit to you had been paid with a criminal intent."
"Then you must have made a false confession: you are at all events guilty of disobedience?"
"That may be, but the rector is responsible for the guilt, as he used compulsion."
"My dear friend, you argue in a very forcible way, and the very reverend rector must by this time be satisfied
that the inmates of our dormitory are more learned than he is himself."
No more would have been said about the adventure if, a few nights after, I had not in my turn taken a fancy to
return the visit paid by my friend. Towards midnight, having had occasion to get out of bed, and hearing the loud
snoring of the prefect, I quickly put out the lantern and went to lie beside my friend. He knew me at once, and
gladly received me; but we both listened attentively to the snoring of our keeper, and when it ceased,
understanding our danger, I got up and reached my own bed without losing a second, but the moment I got to it I
had a double surprise. In the first place I felt somebody lying in my bed, and in the second I saw the prefect, with
a candle in his hand, coming along slowly and taking a survey of all the beds right and left. I could understand the
prefect suddenly lighting a candle, but how could I realize what I sawnamely, one of my comrades sleeping
soundly in my bed, with his back turned to me? I immediately made up my mind to feign sleep. After two or three
shakings given by the prefect, I pretended to wake up, and my bed-companion woke up in earnest. Astonished
at finding himself in my bed, he offered me an apology:
"I have made a mistake," he said, "as I returned from a certain place in the dark, I found your bed empty, and
mistook it for mine."
"Very likely," I answered; "I had to get up, too."
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"Yes," remarked the preIect; "but how does it happen that you went to bed without making any remark when,
on your return, you Iound your bed already tenanted? And how is it that, being in the dark, you did not suppose
that you were mistaken yourselI?"
"I could not be mistaken, Ior I Ielt the pedestal oI this cruciIix oI mine, and I knew I was right; as to my
companion here, I did not Ieel him."
"It is all very unlikely," answered our Argus; and he went to the lantern, the wick oI which he Iound crushed
down.
"The wick has been Iorced into the oil, gentlemen; it has not gone out oI itselI; it has been the handiwork oI
one oI you, but it will be seen to in the morning."
My stupid companion went to his own bed, the preIect lighted the lamp and retired to his rest, and aIter this
scene, which had broken the repose oI every pupil, I quietly slept until the appearance oI the rector, who, at the
dawn oI day, came in great Iury, escorted by his satellite, the preIect.
The rector, aIter examining the localities and submitting to a lengthy interrogatory Iirst my accomplice, who
very naturally was considered as the most guilty, and then myselI, whom nothing could convict oI the oIIence,
ordered us to get up and go to church to attend mass. As soon as we were dressed, he came back, and
addressing us both, he said, kindly:
"You stand both convicted oI a scandalous connivance, and it is proved by the Iact oI the lantern having been
wilIully extinguished. I am disposed to believe that the cause oI all this disorder is, iI not entirely innocent, at least
due only to extreme thoughtlessness; but the scandal given to all your comrades, the outrage oIIered to the
discipline and to the established rules oI the seminary, call loudly Ior punishment. Leave the room."
We obeyed; but hardly were we between the double doors oI the dormitory than we were seized by Iour
servants, who tied our hands behind us, and led us to the class room, where they compelled us to kneel down
beIore the great cruciIix. The rector told them to execute his orders, and, as we were in that position, the
wretches administered to each oI us seven or eight blows with a stick, or with a rope, which I received, as well
as my companion, without a murmur. But the moment my hands were Iree, I asked the rector whether I could
write two lines at the very Ioot oI the cross. He gave orders to bring ink and paper, and I traced the Iollowing
words:
"I solemnly swear by this God that I have never spoken to the seminarist who was Iound in my bed. As an
innocent person I must protest against this shameIul violence. I shall appeal to the justice oI his lordship the
patriarch."
My comrade in misery signed this protest with me; aIter which, addressing myselI to all the pupils, I read it
aloud, calling upon them to speak the truth iI any one could say the contrary oI what I had written. They, with
one voice, immediately declared that we had never been seen conversing together, and that no one knew who
had put the lamp out. The rector leIt the room in the midst oI hisses and curses, but he sent us to prison all the
same at the top oI the house and in separate cells. An hour aIterwards, I had my bed, my trunk and all my things,
and my meals were brought to me every day. On the Iourth day, the Abbe Tosello came Ior me with instructions
to bring me to Venice. I asked him whether he had siIted this unpleasant aIIair; he told me that he had enquired
into it, that he had seen the other seminarist, and that he believed we were both innocent; but the rector would
not conIess himselI in the wrong, and he did not see what could be done.
I threw oII my seminarist's habit, and dressed myselI in the clothes I used to wear in Venice, and, while my
luggage was carried to a boat, I accompanied the abbe to M. Grimani's gondola in which he had come, and we
took our departure. On our way, the abbe ordered the boatman to leave my things at the Palace Grimani, adding
that he was instructed by M. Grimani to tell me that, iI I had the audacity to present myselI at his mansion, his
servants had received orders to turn me away.
He landed me near the convent oI the Jesuits, without any money, and with nothing but what I had on my
back.
I went to beg a dinner Irom Madame Manzoni, who laughed heartily at the realization oI her prediction. AIter
dinner I called upon M. Rosa to see whether the law could protect me against the tyranny oI my enemies, and
aIter he had been made acquainted with the circumstances oI the case, he promised to bring me the same
evening, at Madame Orio's house, an extra-judicial act. I repaired to the place oI appointment to wait Ior him,
and to enjoy the pleasure oI my two charming Iriends at my sudden reappearance. It was indeed very great, and
the recital oI my adventures did not astonish them less than my unexpected presence. M. Rosa came and made
me read the act which he had prepared; he had not had time to have it engrossed by the notary, but he
undertook to have it ready the next day.
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I leIt Madame Orio to take supper with my brother Francois, who resided with a painter called Guardi; he
was, like me, much oppressed by the tyranny oI Grimani, and I promised to deliver him. Towards midnight I
returned to the two amiable sisters who were expecting me with their usual loving impatience, but, I am bound to
conIess it with all humility, my sorrows were prejudicial to love in spite oI the Iortnight oI absence and oI
abstinence. They were themselves deeply aIIected to see me so unhappy, and pitied me with all their hearts. I
endeavoured to console them, and assured them that all my misery would soon come to an end, and that we
would make up Ior lost time.
In the morning, having no money, and not knowing where to go, I went to St. Mark's Library, where I
remained until noon. I leIt it with the intention oI dining with Madame Manzoni, but I was suddenly accosted by a
soldier who inIormed me that someone wanted to speak to me in a gondola to which he pointed. I answered that
the person might as well come out, but he quietly remarked that he had a Iriend at hand to conduct me Iorcibly to
the gondola, iI necessary, and without any more hesitation I went towards it. I had a great dislike to noise or to
anything like a public exhibition. I might have resisted, Ior the soldiers were unarmed, and I would not have been
taken up, this sort oI arrest not being legal in Venice, but I did not think oI it. The 'sequere deum' was playing its
part; I Ielt no reluctance. Besides, there are moments in which a courageous man has no courage, or disdains to
shew it.
I enter the gondola, the curtain is drawn aside, and I see my evil genius, Razetta, with an oIIicer. The two
soldiers sit down at the prow; I recognize M. Grimani's own gondola, it leaves the landing and takes the direction
oI the Lido. No one spoke to me, and I remained silent. AIter halI-an-hour's sailing, the gondola stopped beIore
the small entrance oI the Fortress St. Andre, at the mouth oI the Adriatic, on the very spot where the Bucentaur
stands, when, on Ascension Day, the doge comes to espouse the sea.
The sentinel calls the corporal; we alight, the oIIicer who accompanied me introduces me to the major, and
presents a letter to him. The major, aIter reading its contents, gives orders to M. Zen, his adjutant, to consign me
to the guard-house. In another quarter oI an hour my conductors take their departure, and M. Zen brings me
three livres and a halI, stating that I would receive the same amount every week. It was exactly the pay oI a
private.
I did not give way to any burst oI passion, but I Ielt the most intense indignation. Late in the evening I
expressed a wish to have some Iood bought, Ior I could not starve; then, stretching myselI upon a hard camp
bed, I passed the night amongst the soldiers without closing my eyes, Ior these Sclavonians were singing, eating
garlic, smoking a bad tobacco which was most noxious, and drinking a wine oI their own country, as black as
ink, which nobody else could swallow.
Early next morning Major Pelodoro (the governor oI the Iortress) called me up to his room, and told me that,
in compelling me to spend the night in the guard-house, he had only obeyed the orders he had received Irom
Venice Irom the secretary oI war. "Now, reverend sir," he added, "my Iurther orders are only to keep you a
prisoner in the Iort, and I am responsible Ior your remaining here. I give you the whole oI the Iortress Ior your
prison. You shall have a good room in which you will Iind your bed and all your luggage. Walk anywhere you
please; but recollect that, iI you should escape, you would cause my ruin. I am sorry that my instructions are to
give you only ten sous a day, but iI you have any Iriends in Venice able to send you some money, write to them,
and trust to me Ior the security oI your letters. Now you may go to bed, iI you need rest."
I was taken to my room; it was large and on the Iirst story, with two windows Irom which I had a very Iine
view. I Iound my bed, and I ascertained with great satisIaction that my trunk, oI which I had the keys, had not
been Iorced open. The major had kindly supplied my table with all the implements necessary Ior writing. A
Sclavonian soldier inIormed me very politely that he would attend upon me, and that I would pay him Ior his
services whenever I could, Ior everyone knew that I had only ten sous a day. I began by ordering some soup,
and, when I had dispatched it, I went to bed and slept Ior nine hours. When I woke, I received an invitation to
supper Irom the major, and I began to imagine that things, aIter all, would not be so very bad.
I went to the honest governor, whom I Iound in numerous company. He presented me to his wiIe and to every
person present. I met there several oIIicers, the chaplain oI the Iortress, a certain Paoli Vida, one oI the singers oI
St. Mark's Church, and his wiIe, a pretty woman, sister-in-law oI the major, whom the husband chose to conIine
in the Iort because he was very jealous (jealous men are not comIortable at Venice), together with several other
ladies, not very young, but whom I thought very agreeable, owing to their kind welcome.
CheerIul as I was by nature, those pleasant guests easily managed to put me in the best oI humours. Everyone
expressed a wish to know the reasons which could have induced M. Grimani to send me to the Iortress, so I
gave a IaithIul account oI all my adventures since my grandmother's death. I spoke Ior three hours without any
bitterness, and even in a pleasant tone, upon things which, said in a diIIerent manner, might have displeased my
audience; all expressed their satisIaction, and shewed so much sympathy that, as we parted Ior the night, I
received Irom all an assurance oI Iriendship and the oIIer oI their services. This is a piece oI good Iortune which
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has never Iailed me whenever I have been the victim oI oppression, until I reached the age oI IiIty. Whenever I
met with honest persons expressing a curiosity to know the history oI the misIortune under which I was labouring,
and whenever I satisIied their curiosity, I have inspired them with Iriendship, and with that sympathy which was
necessary to render them Iavourable and useIul to me.
That success was owing to a very simple artiIice; it was only to tell my story in a quiet and truthIul manner,
without even avoiding the Iacts which told against me. It is simple secret that many men do not know, because
the larger portion oI humankind is composed oI cowards; a man who always tells the truth must be possessed oI
great moral courage. Experience has taught me that truth is a talisman, the charm oI which never Iails in its eIIect,
provided it is not wasted upon unworthy people, and I believe that a guilty man, who candidly speaks the truth to
his judge, has a better chance oI being acquitted, than the innocent man who hesitates and evades true
statements. OI course the speaker must be young, or at least in the prime oI manhood; Ior an old man Iinds the
whole oI nature combined against him.
The major had his joke respecting the visit paid and returned to the seminarist's bed, but the chaplain and the
ladies scolded him. The major advised me to write out my story and send it to the secretary oI war, undertaking
that he should receive it, and he assured me that he would become my protector. All the ladies tried to induce me
to Iollow the major's advice.
CHAPTER II
My Short Stay in Fort St. AndreMy First Repentance in Love
Affairs I Enjoy the Sweets of Revenge, and Prove a Clever
AlibiArrest of Count BonafedeMy ReleaseArrival of the
BishopFarewell to Venice
The Iort, in which the Republic usually kept only a garrison oI one hundred halI-pay Sclavonians, happened to
contain at that time two thousand Albanian soldiers, who were called Cimariotes.
The secretary oI war, who was generally known under the title oI 'sage a l'ecriture', had summoned these men
Irom the East in consequence oI some impending promotion, as he wanted the oIIicers to be on the spot in order
to prove their merits beIore being rewarded. They all came Irom the part oI Epirus called Albania, which belongs
to the Republic oI Venice, and they had distinguished themselves in the last war against the Turks. It was Ior me
a new and extraordinary sight to examine some eighteen or twenty oIIicers, all oI an advanced age, yet strong
and healthy, shewing the scars which covered their Iace and their chest, the last naked and entirely exposed
through military pride. The lieutenant-colonel was particularly conspicuous by his wounds, Ior, without
exaggeration, he had lost one-Iourth oI his head. He had but one eye, but one ear, and no jaw to speak oI. Yet
he could eat very well, speak without diIIiculty, and was very cheerIul. He had with him all his Iamily, composed
oI two pretty daughters, who looked all the prettier in their national costume, and oI seven sons, every one oI
them a soldier. This lieutenant-colonel stood six Ieet high, and his Iigure was magniIicent, but his scars so
completely deIormed his Ieatures that his Iace was truly horrid to look at. Yet I Iound so much attraction in him
that I liked him the moment I saw him, and I would have been much pleased to converse with him iI his breath
had not sent Iorth such a strong smell oI garlic. All the Albanians had their pockets Iull oI it, and they enjoyed a
piece oI garlic with as much relish as we do a sugar-plum. AIter this none can maintain it to be a poison, though
the only medicinal virtue it possesses is to excite the appetite, because it acts like a tonic upon a weak stomach.
The lieutenant-colonel could not read, but he was not ashamed oI his ignorance, because not one amongst his
men, except the priest and the surgeon, could boast greater learning. Every man, oIIicer or private, had his purse
Iull oI gold; halI oI them, at least, were married, and we had in the Iortress a colony oI Iive or six hundred
women, with God knows how many children! I Ielt greatly interested in them all. Happy idleness! I oIten regret
thee because thou hast oIten oIIered me new sights, and Ior the same reason I hate old age which never oIIers
but what I know already, unless I should take up a gazette, but I cared nothing Ior them in my young days.
Alone in my room I made an inventory oI my trunk, and having put aside everything oI an ecclesiastical
character, I sent Ior a Jew, and sold the whole parcel unmerciIully. Then I wrote to M. Rosa, enclosing all the
tickets oI the articles I had pledged, requesting him to have them sold without any exception, and to Iorward me
the surplus raised by the sale. Thanks to that double operation, I was enabled to give my Sclavonian servant the
ten sous allowed to me every day. Another soldier, who had been a hair-dresser, took care oI my hair which I
had been compelled to neglect, in consequence oI the rules oI the seminary. I spent my time in walking about the
Iort and through the barracks, and my two places oI resort were the major's apartment Ior some intellectual
enjoyment, and the rooms oI the Albanian lieutenant-colonel Ior a sprinkling oI love. The Albanian Ieeling certain
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that his colonel would be appointed brigadier, solicited the command oI the regiment, but he had a rival and he
Ieared his success. I wrote him a petition, short, but so well composed that the secretary oI war, having enquired
the name oI the author, gave the Albanian his colonelcy. On his return to the Iort, the brave Iellow, overjoyed at
his success, hugged me in his arms, saying that he owed it all to me; he invited me to a Iamily dinner, in which my
very soul was parched by his garlic, and he presented me with twelve botargoes and two pounds oI excellent
Turkish tobacco.
The result oI my petition made all the other oIIicers think that they could not succeed without the assistance oI
my pen, and I willingly gave it to everybody; this entailed many quarrels upon me, Ior I served all interests, but,
Iinding myselI the lucky possessor oI some Iorty sequins, I was no longer in dread oI poverty, and laughed at
everything. However, I met with an accident which made me pass six weeks in a very unpleasant condition.
On the 2nd oI April, the Iatal anniversary oI my Iirst appearance in this world, as I was getting up in the
morning, I received in my room the visit oI a very handsome Greek woman, who told me that her husband, then
ensign in the regiment, had every right to claim the rank oI lieutenant, and that he would certainly be appointed, iI
it were not Ior the opposition oI his captain who was against him, because she had reIused him certain Iavours
which she could bestow only upon her husband. She handed me some certiIicates, and begged me to write a
petition which she would present herselI to the secretary oI war, adding that she could only oIIer me her heart in
payment. I answered that her heart ought not to go alone; I acted as I had spoken, and I met with no other
resistance than the objection which a pretty woman is always sure to Ieign Ior the sake oI appearance. AIter that,
I told her to come back at noon, and that the petition would be ready. She was exact to the appointment, and
very kindly rewarded me a second time; and in the evening, under pretence oI some alterations to be made in the
petition, she aIIorded an excellent opportunity oI reaping a third recompense.
But, alas! the path oI pleasure is not strewn only with roses! On the third day, I Iound out, much to my dismay,
that a serpent had been hid under the Ilowers. Six weeks oI care and oI rigid diet re-established my health.
When I met the handsome Greek again, I was Ioolish enough to reproach her Ior the present she had
bestowed upon me, but she baIIled me by laughing, and saying that she had only oIIered me what she possessed,
and that it was my own Iault iI I had not been suIIiciently careIul. The reader cannot imagine how much this Iirst
misIortune grieved me, and what deep shame I Ielt. I looked upon myselI as a dishonoured man, and while I am
on that subject I may as well relate an incident which will give some idea oI my thoughtlessness.
Madame Vida, the major's sister-in-law, being alone with me one morning, conIided in me in a moment oI
unreserved conIidence what she had to suIIer Irom the jealous disposition oI her husband, and his cruelty in
having allowed her to sleep alone Ior the last Iour years, when she was in the very Ilower oI her age.
"I trust to God," she added, "that my husband will not Iind out that you have spent an hour alone with me, Ior I
should never hear the end oI it."
Feeling deeply Ior her grieI, and conIidence begetting conIidence, I was stupid enough to tell her the sad state
to which I had been reduced by the cruel Greek woman, assuring her that I Ielt my misery all the more deeply,
because I should have been delighted to console her, and to give her the opportunity oI a revenge Ior her jealous
husband's coldness. At this speech, in which my simplicity and good Iaith could easily be traced, she rose Irom
her chair, and upbraided me with every insult which an outraged honest woman might hurl at the head oI a bold
libertine who has presumed too Iar. Astounded, but understanding perIectly well the nature oI my crime, I bowed
myselI out oI her room; but as I was leaving it she told me in the same angry tone that my visits would not be
welcome Ior the Iuture, as I was a conceited puppy, unworthy oI the society oI good and respectable women. I
took care to answer that a respectable woman would have been rather more reserved than she had been in her
conIidences. On reIlection I Ielt pretty sure that, iI I had been in good health, or had said nothing about my
mishap, she would have been but too happy to receive my consolations.
A Iew days aIter that incident I had a much greater cause to regret my acquaintance with the Greek woman.
On Ascension Day, as the ceremony oI the Bucentaur was celebrated near the Iort, M. Rosa brought Madame
Orio and her two nieces to witness it, and I had the pleasure oI treating them all to a good dinner in my room. I
Iound myselI, during the day, alone with my young Iriends in one oI the casements, and they both loaded me with
the most loving caresses and kisses. I Ielt that they expected some substantial prooI oI my love; but, to conceal
the real state, oI things, I pretended to be aIraid oI being surprised, and they had to be satisIied with my shallow
excuse.
I had inIormed my mother by letter oI all I had suIIered Irom Grimani's treatment; she answered that she had
written to him on the subject, that she had no doubt he would immediately set me at liberty, and that an
arrangement had been entered into by which M. Grimani would devote the money raised by Razetta Irom the
sale oI the Iurniture to the settlement oI a small patrimony on my youngest brother. But in this matter Grimani did
not act honestly, Ior the patrimony was only settled thirteen years aIterwards, and even then only in a Iictitious
manner. I shall have an opportunity later on oI mentioning this unIortunate brother, who died very poor in Rome
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twenty years ago.
Towards the middle oI June the Cimariotes were sent back to the East, and aIter their departure the garrison
oI the Iort was reduced to its usual number. I began to Ieel weary in this comparative solitude, and I gave way to
terrible Iits oI passion.
The heat was intense, and so disagreeable to me that I wrote to M. Grimani, asking Ior two summer suits oI
clothes, and telling him where they would be Iound, iI Razetta had not sold them. A week aIterwards I was in the
major's apartment when I saw the wretch Razetta come in, accompanied by a man whom he introduced as
Petrillo, the celebrated Iavourite oI the Empress oI Russia, just arrived Irom St. Petersburg. He ought to have
said inIamous instead oI celebrated, and clown instead oI Iavourite.
The major invited them to take a seat, and Razetta, receiving a parcel Irom Grimani's gondolier, handed it to
me, saying,
"I have brought you your rags; take them."
I answered:
"Some day I will bring you a 'rigano':"
At these words the scoundrel dared to raise his cane, but the indignant major compelled him to lower his tone
by asking him whether he had any wish to pass the night in the guard-house. Petrillo, who had not yet opened his
lips, told me then that he was sorry not to have Iound me in Venice, as I might have shewn him round certain
places which must be well known to me.
"Very likely we should have met your wiIe in such places," I answered.
"I am a good judge oI Iaces," he said, "and I can see that you are a true gallows-bird."
I was trembling with rage, and the major, who shared my utter disgust, told them that he had business to
transact, and they took their leave. The major assured me that on the Iollowing day he would go to the war oIIice
to complain oI Razetta, and that he would have him punished Ior his insolence.
I remained alone, a prey to Ieelings oI the deepest indignation, and to a most ardent thirst Ior revenge.
The Iortress was entirely surrounded by water, and my windows were not overlooked by any oI the sentinels.
A boat coming under my windows could thereIore easily take me to Venice during the night and bring me back
to the Iortress beIore day-break. All that was necessary was to Iind a boatman who, Ior a certain amount, would
risk the galleys in case oI discovery. Amongst several who brought provisions to the Iort, I chose a boatman
whose countenance pleased me, and I oIIered him one sequin; he promised to let me know his decision on the
Iollowing day. He was true to his time, and declared himselI ready to take me. He inIormed me that, beIore
deciding to serve me, he had wished to know whether I was kept in the Iort Ior any great crime, but as the wiIe
oI the major had told him that my imprisonment had been caused by very triIling Irolics, I could rely upon him.
We arranged that he should be under my window at the beginning oI the night, and that his boat should be
provided with a mast long enough to enable me to slide along it Irom the window to the boat.
The appointed hour came, and everything being ready I got saIely into the boat, landed at the Sclavonian
quay, ordered the boatman to wait Ior me, and wrapped up in a mariner's cloak I took my way straight to the
gate oI Saint-Sauveur, and engaged the waiter oI a coIIee-room to take me to Razetta's house.
Being quite certain that he would not be at home at that time, I rang the bell, and I heard my sister's voice
telling me that iI I wanted to see him I must call in the morning. SatisIied with this, I went to the Ioot oI the bridge
and sat down, waiting there to see which way he would come, and a Iew minutes beIore midnight I saw him
advancing Irom the square oI Saint-Paul. It was all I wanted to know; I went back to my boat and returned to
the Iort without any diIIiculty. At Iive o'clock in the morning everyone in the garrison could see me enjoying my
walk on the platIorm.
Taking all the time necessary to mature my plans, I made the Iollowing arrangements to secure my revenge
with perIect saIety, and to prove an alibi in case I should kill my rascally enemy, as it was my intention to do. The
day preceding the night Iixed Ior my expedition, I walked about with the son oI the Adjutant Zen, who was only
twelve years old, but who amused me much by his shrewdness. The reader will meet him again in the year 1771.
As I was walking with him, I jumped down Irom one oI the bastions, and Ieigned to sprain my ankle. Two
soldiers carried me to my room, and the surgeon oI the Iort, thinking that I was suIIering Irom a luxation, ordered
me to keep to bed, and wrapped up the ankle in towels saturated with camphorated spirits oI wine. Everybody
came to see me, and I requested the soldier who served me to remain and to sleep in my room. I knew that a
glass oI brandy was enough to stupeIy the man, and to make him sleep soundly. As soon as I saw him Iast
asleep, I begged the surgeon and the chaplain, who had his room over mine, to leave me, and at halI-past ten I
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lowered myselI in the boat.
As soon as I reached Venice, I bought a stout cudgel, and I sat myselI down on a door-step, at the corner oI
the street near Saint-Paul's Square. A narrow canal at the end oI the street, was, I thought, the very place to
throw my enemy in. That canal has now disappeared.
At a quarter beIore twelve I see Razetta, walking along leisurely. I come out oI the street with rapid strides,
keeping near the wall to compel him to make room Ior me, and I strike a Iirst blow on the head, and a second on
his arm; the third blow sends him tumbling in the canal, howling and screaming my name. At the same instant a
Forlan, or citizen oI Forli, comes out oI a house on my leIt side with a lantern in his hand. A blow Irom my cudgel
knocks the lantern out oI his grasp, and the man, Irightened out oI his wits, takes to his heels. I throw away my
stick, I run at Iull speed through the square and over the bridge, and while people are hastening towards the spot
where the disturbance had taken place, I jump into the boat, and, thanks to a strong breeze swelling our sail, I
get back to the Iortress. Twelve o'clock was striking as I re-entered my room through the window. I quickly
undress myselI, and the moment I am in my bed I wake up the soldier by my loud screams, telling him to go Ior
the surgeon, as I am dying oI the colic.
The chaplain, roused by my screaming, comes down and Iinds me in convulsions. In the hope that some
diascordium would relieve me, the good old man runs to his room and brings it, but while he has gone Ior some
water I hide the medicine. AIter halI an hour oI wry Iaces, I say that I Ieel much better, and thanking all my
Iriends, I beg them to retire, which everyone does, wishing me a quiet sleep.
The next morning I could not get up in consequence oI my sprained ankle, although I had slept very well; the
major was kind enough to call upon me beIore going to Venice, and he said that very likely my colic had been
caused by the melon I had eaten Ior my dinner the day beIore.
The major returned at one o'clock in the aIternoon. "I have good news to give you," he said to me, with a
joyIul laugh. "Razetta was soundly cudgelled last night and thrown into a canal."
"Has he been killed?"
"No; but I am glad oI it Ior your sake, Ior his death would make your position much more serious. You are
accused oI having done it."
"I am very glad people think me guilty; it is something oI a revenge, but it will be rather diIIicult to bring it home
to me."
"Very diIIicult! All the same, Razetta swears he recognized you, and the same declaration is made by the
Forlan who says that you struck his hand to make him drop his lantern. Razetta's nose is broken, three oI his
teeth are gone, and his right arm is severely hurt. You have been accused beIore the avogador, and M. Grimani
has written to the war oIIice to complain oI your release Irom the Iortress without his knowledge. I arrived at the
oIIice just in time. The secretary was reading Grimani's letter, and I assured his excellency that it was a Ialse
report, Ior I leIt you in bed this morning, suIIering Irom a sprained ankle. I told him likewise that at twelve o'clock
last night you were very near death Irom a severe attack oI colic."
"Was it at midnight that Razetta was so well treated?"
"So says the oIIicial report. The war secretary wrote at once to M. Grimani and inIormed him that you have
not leIt the Iort, and that you are even now detained in it, and that the plaintiII is at liberty, iI he chooses, to send
commissaries to ascertain the Iact. ThereIore, my dear abbe, you must prepare yourselI Ior an interrogatory."
"I expect it, and I will answer that I am very sorry to be innocent."
Three days aIterwards, a commissary came to the Iort with a clerk oI the court, and the proceedings were
soon over. Everybody knew that I had sprained my ankle; the chaplain, the surgeon, my body-servant, and
several others swore that at midnight I was in bed suIIering Irom colic. My alibi being thoroughly proved, the
avogador sentenced Razetta and the Forlan to pay all expenses without prejudice to my rights oI action.
AIter this judgment, the major advised me to address to the secretary oI war a petition which he undertook to
deliver himselI, and to claim my release Irom the Iort. I gave notice oI my proceedings to M. Grimani, and a
week aIterwards the major told me that I was Iree, and that he would himselI take me to the abbe. It was at
dinnertime, and in the middle oI some amusing conversation, that he imparted that piece oI inIormation. Not
supposing him to be in earnest, and in order to keep up the joke, I told him very politely that I preIerred his
house to Venice, and that, to prove it, I would be happy to remain a week longer, iI he would grant me
permission to do so. I was taken at my word, and everybody seemed very pleased. But when, two hours later,
the news was conIirmed, and I could no longer doubt the truth oI my release, I repented the week which I had so
Ioolishly thrown away as a present to the major; yet I had not the courage to break my word, Ior everybody, and
particularly his wiIe, had shown such unaIIected pleasure, it would have been contemptible oI me to change my
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mind. The good woman knew that I owed her every kindness which I had enjoyed, and she might have thought
me ungrateful.
But I met in the fort with a last adventure, which I must not forget to relate.
On the following day, an officer dressed in the national uniform called upon the major, accompanied by an
elderly man of about sixty years of age, wearing a sword, and, presenting to the major a dispatch with the seal of
the war office, he waited for an answer, and went away as soon as he had received one from the governor.
After the officer had taken leave, the major, addressing himself to the elderly gentleman, to whom he gave the
title of count, told him that his orders were to keep him a prisoner, and that he gave him the whole of the fort for
his prison. The count offered him his sword, but the major nobly refused to take it, and escorted him to the room
he was to occupy. Soon after, a servant in livery brought a bed and a trunk, and the next morning the same
servant, knocking at my door, told me that his master begged the honour of my company to breakfast. I
accepted the invitation, and he received me with these words:
"Dear sir, there has been so much talk in Venice about the skill with which you proved your incredible alibi,
that I could not help asking for the honour of your acquaintance."
"But, count, the alibi being a true one, there can be no skill required to prove it. Allow me to say that those
who doubt its truth are paying me a very poor compliment, for"
"Never mind; do not let us talk any more of that, and forgive me. But as we happen to be companions in
misfortune, I trust you will not refuse me your friendship. Now for breakfast."
After our meal, the count, who had heard from me some portion of my history, thought that my confidence
called for a return on his part, and he began: "I am the Count de Bonafede. In my early days I served under
Prince Eugene, but I gave up the army, and entered on a civil career in Austria. I had to fly from Austria and take
refuge in Bavaria in consequence of an unfortunate duel. In Munich I made the acquaintance of a young lady
belonging to a noble family; I eloped with her and brought her to Venice, where we were married. I have now
been twenty years in Venice. I have six children, and everybody knows me. About a week ago I sent my servant
to the postoffice for my letters, but they were refused him because he had not any money to pay the postage. I
went myself, but the clerk would not deliver me my letters, although I assured him that I would pay for them the
next time. This made me angry, and I called upon the Baron de Taxis, the postmaster, and complained of the
clerk, but he answered very rudely that the clerk had simply obeyed his orders, and that my letters would only be
delivered on payment of the postage. I felt very indignant, but as I was in his house I controlled my anger, went
home, and wrote a note to him asking him to give me satisfaction for his rudeness, telling him that I would never
go out without my sword, and that I would force him to fight whenever and wherever I should meet him. I never
came across him, but yesterday I was accosted by the secretary of the inquisitors, who told me that I must forget
the baron's rude conduct, and go under the guidance of an officer whom he pointed out to me, to imprison myself
for a week in this fortress. I shall thus have the pleasure of spending that time with you."
I told him that I had been free for the last twenty-four hours, but that to shew my gratitude for his friendly
confidence I would feel honoured if he would allow me to keep him company. As I had already engaged myself
with the major, this was only a polite falsehood.
In the afternoon I happened to be with him on the tower of the fort, and pointed out a gondola advancing
towards the lower gate; he took his spy-glass and told me that it was his wife and daughter coming to see him.
We went to meet the ladies, one of whom might once have been worth the trouble of an elopement; the other, a
young person between fourteen and sixteen, struck me as a beauty of a new style. Her hair was of a beautiful
light auburn, her eyes were blue and very fine, her nose a Roman, and her pretty mouth, half-open and laughing,
exposed a set of teeth as white as her complexion, although a beautiful rosy tint somewhat veiled the whiteness of
the last. Her figure was so slight that it seemed out of nature, but her perfectly-formed breast appeared an altar
on which the god of love would have delighted to breathe the sweetest incense. This splendid chest was,
however, not yet well furnished, but in my imagination I gave her all the embonpoint which might have been
desired, and I was so pleased that I could not take my looks from her. I met her eyes, and her laughing
countenance seemed to say to me: "Only wait for two years, at the utmost, and all that your imagination is now
creating will then exist in reality."
She was elegantly dressed in the prevalent fashion, with large hoops, and like the daughters of the nobility who
have not yet attained the age of puberty, although the young countess was marriageable. I had never dared to
stare so openly at the bosom of a young lady of quality, but I thought there was no harm in fixing my eyes on a
spot where there was nothing yet but in expectation.
The count, after having exchanged a few words in German with his wife, presented me in the most flattering
manner, and I was received with great politeness. The major joined us, deeming it his duty to escort the countess
all over the fortress, and I improved the excellent opportunity thrown in my way by the inferiority of my position;
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I oIIered my arm to the young lady, and the count leIt us to go to his room.
I was still an adept in the old Venetian Iashion oI attending upon ladies, and the young countess thought me
rather awkward, though I believed myselI very Iashionable when I placed my hand under her arm, but she drew
it back in high merriment. Her mother turned round to enquire what she was laughing at, and I was terribly
conIused when I heard her answer that I had tickled her.
"This is the way to oIIer your arm to a lady," she said, and she passed her hand through my arm, which I
rounded in the most clumsy manner, Ieeling it a very diIIicult task to resume a digniIied countenance. Thinking me
a novice oI the most innocent species, she very likely determined to make sport oI me. She began by remarking
that by rounding my arm as I had done I placed it too Iar Irom her waist, and that I was consequently out oI
drawing. I told her I did not know how to draw, and inquired whether it was one oI her accomplishments.
"I am learning," she answered, "and when you call upon us I will shew you Adam and Eve, aIter the Chevalier
Liberi; I have made a copy which has been Iound very Iine by some proIessors, although they did not know it
was my work."
"Why did you not tell them?"
"Because those two Iigures are too naked."
"I am not curious to see your Adam, but I will look at your Eve with pleasure, and keep your secret."
This answer made her laugh again, and again her mother turned round. I put on the look oI a simpleton, Ior,
seeing the advantage I could derive Irom her opinion oI me, I had Iormed my plan at the very moment she tried
to teach me how to oIIer my arm to a lady.
She was so convinced oI my simplicity that she ventured to say that she considered her Adam by Iar more
beautiIul than her Eve, because in her drawing oI the man she had omitted nothing, every muscle being visible,
while there was none conspicuous in Eve. "It is," she added, "a Iigure with nothing in it."
"Yet it is the one which I shall like best."
"No; believe me, Adam will please you most."
This conversation had greatly excited me. I had on a pair oI linen breeches, the weather being very warm.... I
was aIraid oI the major and the countess, who were a Iew yards in Iront oI us, turning round .... I was on thorns.
To make matters worse, the young lady stumbled, one oI her shoes slipped oII, and presenting me her pretty Ioot
she asked me to put the shoe right. I knelt on the ground, and, very likely without thinking, she liIted up her
skirt.... she had very wide hoops and no petticoat.... what I saw was enough to strike me dead on the spot....
When I rose, she asked iI anything was the matter with me.
A moment aIter, coming out oI one oI the casemates, her head-dress got slightly out oI order, and she begged
that I would remedy the accident, but, having to bend her head down, the state in which I was could no longer
remain a secret Ior her. In order to avoid greater conIusion to both oI us, she enquired who had made my watch
ribbon; I told her it was a present Irom my sister, and she desired to examine it, but when I answered her that it
was Iastened to the Iob-pocket, and Iound that she disbelieved me, I added that she could see Ior herselI. She
put her hand to it, and a natural but involuntary excitement caused me to be very indiscreet. She must have Ielt
vexed, Ior she saw that she had made a mistake in her estimate oI my character; she became more timid, she
would not laugh any more, and we joined her mother and the major who was shewing her, in a sentry-box, the
body oI Marshal de Schulenburg which had been deposited there until the mausoleum erected Ior him was
completed. As Ior myselI, I Ielt deeply ashamed. I thought myselI the Iirst man who had alarmed her innocence,
and I Ielt ready to do anything to atone Ior the insult.
Such was my delicacy oI Ieeling in those days. I used to credit people with exalted sentiments, which oIten
existed only in my imagination. I must conIess that time has entirely destroyed that delicacy; yet I do not believe
myselI worse than other men, my equals in age and inexperience.
We returned to the count's apartment, and the day passed oII rather gloomily. Towards evening the ladies
went away, but the countess gave me a pressing invitation to call upon them in Venice.
The young lady, whom I thought I had insulted, had made such a deep impression upon me that the seven
Iollowing days seemed very long; yet I was impatient to see her again only that I might entreat her Iorgiveness,
and convince her oI my repentance.
The Iollowing day the count was visited by his son; he was plain-Ieatured, but a thorough gentleman, and
modest withal. Twenty-Iive years aIterwards I met him in Spain, a cadet in the king's body-guard. He had served
as a private twenty years beIore obtaining this poor promotion. The reader will hear oI him in good time; I will
only mention here that when I met him in Spain, he stood me out that I had never known him; his selI-love
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prompted this very contemptible lie.
Early on the eighth day the count leIt the Iortress, and I took my departure the same evening, having made an
appointment at a coIIee-house in St. Mark's Square with the major who was to accompany me to M. Grimani's
house. I took leave oI his wiIe, whose memory will always be dear to me, and she said, "I thank you Ior your
skill in proving your alibi, but you have also to thank me Ior having understood you so well. My husband never
heard anything about it until it was all over."
As soon as I reached Venice, I went to pay a visit to Madame Orio, where I was made welcome. I remained
to supper, and my two charming sweethearts who were praying Ior the death oI the bishop, gave me the most
delightIul hospitality Ior the night.
At noon the next day I met the major according to our appointment, and we called upon the Abbe Grimani.
He received me with the air oI a guilty man begging Ior mercy, and I was astounded at his stupidity when he
entreated me to Iorgive Razetta and his companion. He told me that the bishop was expected very soon, and that
he had ordered a room to be ready Ior me, and that I could take my meals with him. Then he introduced me to
M. Valavero, a man oI talent, who had just leIt the ministry oI war, his term oI oIIice having lasted the usual six
months. I paid my duty to him, and we kept up a kind oI desultory conversation until the departure oI the major.
When he had leIt us M. Valavero entreated me to conIess that I had been the guilty party in the attack upon
Razetta. I candidly told him that the thrashing had been my handiwork, and I gave him all the particulars, which
amused him immensely. He remarked that, as I had perpetrated the aIIair beIore midnight, the Iools had made a
mistake in their accusation; but that, aIter all, the mistake had not materially helped me in proving the alibi,
because my sprained ankle, which everybody had supposed a real accident, would oI itselI have been suIIicient.
But I trust that my kind reader has not Iorgotten that I had a very heavy weight upon my conscience, oI which
I longed to get rid. I had to see the goddess oI my Iancy, to obtain my pardon, or die at her Ieet.
I Iound the house without diIIiculty; the count was not at home. The countess received me very kindly, but her
appearance caused me so great a surprise that I did not know what to say to her. I had Iancied that I was going
to visit an angel, that I would Iind her in a lovely paradise, and I Iound myselI in a large sitting-room Iurnished
with Iour rickety chairs and a dirty old table. There was hardly any light in the room because the shutters were
nearly closed. It might have been a precaution against the heat, but I judged that it was more probably Ior the
purpose oI concealing the windows, the glass oI which was all broken. But this visible darkness did not prevent
me Irom remarking that the countess was wrapped up in an old tattered gown, and that her chemise did not shine
by its cleanliness. Seeing that I was ill at ease, she leIt the room, saying that she would send her daughter, who, a
Iew minutes aIterwards, came in with an easy and noble appearance, and told me that she had expected me with
great impatience, but that I had surprised her at a time at which she was not in the habit oI receiving any visits.
I did not know what to answer, Ior she did not seem to me to be the same person. Her miserable dishabille
made her look almost ugly, and I wondered at the impression she had produced upon me at the Iortress. She
saw my surprise, and partly guessed my thoughts, Ior she put on a look, not oI vexation, but oI sorrow which
called Iorth all my pity. II she had been a philosopher she might have rightly despised me as a man whose
sympathy was enlisted only by her Iine dress, her nobility, or her apparent wealth; but she endeavoured to bring
me round by her sincerity. She Ielt that iI she could call a little sentiment into play, it would certainly plead in her
Iavour.
"I see that you are astonished, reverend sir, and I know the reason oI your surprise. You expected to see
great splendour here, and you Iind only misery. The government allows my Iather but a small salary, and there are
nine oI us. As we must attend church on Sundays and holidays in a style proper to our condition, we are oIten
compelled to go without our dinner, in order to get out oI pledge the clothes which urgent need too oIten obliges
us to part with, and which we pledge anew on the Iollowing day. II we did not attend mass, the curate would
strike our names oII the list oI those who share the alms oI the ConIraternity oI the Poor, and those alms alone
keep us aIloat."
What a sad tale! She had guessed rightly. I was touched, but rather with shame than true emotion. I was not
rich myselI, and, as I was no longer in love, I only heaved a deep sigh, and remained as cold as ice.
Nevertheless, her position was painIul, and I answered politely, speaking with kindness and assuring her oI my
sympathy. "Were I wealthy," I said, "I would soon shew you that your tale oI woe has not Iallen on unIeeling
ears; but I am poor, and, being at the eve oI my departure Irom Venice, even my Iriendship would be useless to
you." Then, aIter some desultory talk, I expressed a hope that her beauty would yet win happiness Ior her. She
seemed to consider Ior a Iew minutes, and said, "That may happen some day, provided that the man who Ieels
the power oI my charms understands that they can be bestowed only with my heart, and is willing to render me
the justice I deserve; I am only looking Ior a lawIul marriage, without dreaming oI rank or Iortune; I no longer
believe in the Iirst, and I know how to live without the second; Ior I have been accustomed to poverty, and even
to abject need; but you cannot realize that. Come and see my drawings."
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"You are very good, mademoiselle."
Alas! I was not thinking oI her drawings, and I could no longer Ieel interested in her Eve, but I Iollowed her.
We came to a chamber in which I saw a table, a chair, a small toilet-glass and a bed with the straw palliasse
turned over, very likely Ior the purpose oI allowing the looker-on to suppose that there were sheets underneath,
but I was particularly disgusted by a certain smell, the cause oI which was recent; I was thunderstruck, and iI I
had been still in love, this antidote would have been suIIiciently powerIul to cure me instanter. I wished Ior
nothing but to make my escape, never to return, and I regretted that I could not throw on the table a handIul oI
ducats, which I should have considered the price oI my ransom.
The poor girl shewed me her drawings; they were Iine, and I praised them, without alluding particularly to Eve,
and without venturing a joke upon Adam. I asked her, Ior the sake oI saying something, why she did not try to
render her talent remunerative by learning pastel drawing.
"I wish I could," she answered, "but the box oI chalks alone costs two sequins."
"Will you Iorgive me iI I am bold enough to oIIer you six?"
"Alas! I accept them grateIully, and to be indebted to you Ior such a service makes me truly happy."
Unable to keep back her tears, she turned her head round to conceal them Irom me, and I took that
opportunity oI laying the money on the table, and out oI politeness, wishing to spare her every unnecessary
humiliation, I saluted her lips with a kiss which she was at liberty to consider a loving one, as I wanted her to
ascribe my reserve to the respect I Ielt Ior her. I then leIt her with a promise to call another day to see her Iather.
I never kept my promise. The reader will see how I met her again aIter ten years.
How many thoughts crowded upon my mind as I leIt that house! What a lesson! I compared reality with the
imagination, and I had to give the preIerence to the last, as reality is always dependent on it. I then began to
Iorsee a truth which has been clearly proved to me in my aIter liIe, namely, that love is only a Ieeling oI curiosity
more or less intense, graIted upon the inclination placed in us by nature that the species may be preserved. And
truly, woman is like a book, which, good or bad, must at Iirst please us by the Irontispiece. II this is not
interesting, we do not Ieel any wish to read the book, and our wish is in direct proportion to the interest we Ieel.
The Irontispiece oI woman runs Irom top to bottom like that oI a book, and her Ieet, which are most important to
every man who shares my taste, oIIer the same interest as the edition oI the work. II it is true that most amateurs
bestow little or no attention upon the Ieet oI a woman, it is likewise a Iact that most readers care little or nothing
whether a book is oI the Iirst edition or the tenth. At all events, women are quite right to take the greatest care oI
their Iace, oI their dress, oI their general appearance; Ior it is only by that part oI the Irontispiece that they can call
Iorth a wish to read them in those men who have not been endowed by nature with the privilege oI blindness.
And just in the same manner that men, who have read a great many books, are certain to Ieel at last a desire Ior
perusing new works even iI they are bad, a man who has known many women, and all handsome women, Ieels
at last a curiosity Ior ugly specimens when he meets with entirely new ones. It is all very well Ior his eye to
discover the paint which conceals the reality, but his passion has become a vice, and suggests some argument in
Iavour oI the lying Irontispiece. It is possible, at least he thinks so, that the work may prove better than the title-
page, and the reality more acceptable than the paint which hides it. He then tries to peruse the book, but the
leaves have not been opened; he meets with some resistance, the living book must be read according to
established rules, and the book-worm Ialls a victim to a coquetry, the monster which persecutes all those who
make a business oI love. As Ior thee, intelligent man, who hast read the Iew preceding lines, let me tell thee that,
iI they do not assist in opening thy eyes, thou art lost; I mean that thou art certain oI being a victim to the Iair sex
to the very last moment oI thy liIe. II my candour does not displease thee, accept my congratulations. In the
evening I called upon Madame Orio, as I wanted to inIorm her charming nieces that, being an inmate oI Grimani's
house, I could not sleep out Ior the Iirst night. I Iound there the IaithIul Rosa, who told me that the aIIair oI the
alibi was in every mouth, and that, as such celebrity was evidently caused by a very decided belieI in the untruth
oI the alibi itselI, I ought to Iear a retaliation oI the same sort on the part oI Razetta, and to keep on my guard,
particularly at night. I Ielt all the importance oI this advice, and I took care never to go out in the evening
otherwise than in a gondola, or accompanied by some Iriends. Madame Manzoni told me that I was acting
wisely, because, although the judges could not do otherwise than acquit me, everybody knew the real truth oI the
matter, and Razetta could not Iail to be my deadly Ioe.
Three or Iour days aIterwards M. Grimani announced the arrival oI the bishop, who had put up at the convent
oI his order, at Saint-Francois de Paul. He presented me himselI to the prelate as a jewel highly prized by
himselI, and as iI he had been the only person worthy oI descanting upon its beauty.
I saw a Iine monk wearing his pectoral cross. He would have reminded me oI Father Mancia iI he had not
looked stouter and less reserved. He was about thirty-Iour, and had been made a bishop by the grace oI God,
the Holy See, and my mother. AIter pronouncing over me a blessing, which I received kneeling, and giving me his
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hand to kiss, he embraced me warmly, calling me his dear son in the Latin language, in which he continued to
address me. I thought that, being a Calabrian, he might Ieel ashamed oI his Italian, but he undeceived me by
speaking in that language to M. Grimani. He told me that, as he could not take me with him Irom Venice, I should
have to proceed to Rome, where Grimani would take care to send me, and that I would procure his address at
Ancona Irom one oI his Iriends, called Lazari, a Minim monk, who would likewise supply me with the means oI
continuing my journey.
"When we meet in Rome," he added, "we can go together to Martorano by way oI Naples. Call upon me to-
morrow morning, and have your breakIast with me. I intend to leave the day aIter."
As we were on our way back to his house, M. Grimani treated me to a long lecture on morals, which nearly
caused me to burst into loud laughter. Amongst other things, he inIormed me that I ought not to study too hard,
because the air in Calabria was very heavy, and I might become consumptive Irom too close application to my
books.
The next morning at day-break I went to the bishop. AIter saying his mass, we took some chocolate, and Ior
three hours he laid me under examination. I saw clearly that he was not pleased with me, but I was well enough
pleased with him. He seemed to me a worthy man, and as he was to lead me along the great highway oI the
Church, I Ielt attracted towards him, Ior, at the time, although I entertained a good opinion oI my personal
appearance, I had no conIidence whatever in my talents.
AIter the departure oI the good bishop, M. Grimani gave me a letter leIt by him, which I was to deliver to
Father Lazari, at the Convent oI the Minims, in Ancona. M. Grimani inIormed me that he would send me to that
city with the ambassador Irom Venice, who was on the point oI sailing. I had thereIore to keep myselI in
readiness, and, as I was anxious to be out oI his hands, I approved all his arrangements. As soon as I had notice
oI the day on which the suite oI the ambassador would embark, I went to pay my last Iarewell to all my
acquaintances. I leIt my brother Francois in the school oI M. Joli, a celebrated decorative painter. As the peotta
in which I was to sail would not leave beIore daybreak, I spent the short night in the arms oI the two sisters, who,
this time, entertained no hope oI ever seeing me again. On my side I could not Iorsee what would happen, Ior I
was abandoning myselI to Iate, and I thought it would be useless to think oI the Iuture. The night was thereIore
spent between joy and sadness, between pleasures and tears. As I bade them adieu, I returned the key which
had opened so oIten Ior me the road to happiness.
This, my Iirst love aIIair, did not give me any experience oI the world, Ior our intercourse was always a happy
one, and was never disturbed by any quarrel or stained by any interested motive. We oIten Ielt, all three oI us, as
iI we must raise our souls towards the eternal Providence oI God, to thank Him Ior having, by His particular
protection, kept Irom us all the accidents which might have disturbed the sweet peace we were enjoying.
I leIt in the hands oI Madame Manzoni all my papers, and all the Iorbidden books I possessed. The good
woman, who was twenty years older than I, and who, believing in an immutable destiny, took pleasure in turning
the leaves oI the great book oI Iate, told me that she was certain oI restoring to me all I leIt with her, beIore the
end oI the Iollowing year, at the latest. Her prediction caused me both surprise and pleasure, and Ieeling deep
reverence Ior her, I thought myselI bound to assist the realization oI her Ioresight. AIter all, iI she predicted the
Iuture, it was not through superstition, or in consequence oI some vain Ioreboding which reason must condemn,
but through her knowledge oI the world, and oI the nature oI the person she was addressing. She used to laugh
because she never made a mistake.
I embarked Irom St: Mark's landing. M. Grimani had given me ten sequins, which he thought would keep me
during my stay in the lazzaretto oI Ancona Ior the necessary quarantine, aIter which it was not to be supposed
that I could want any money. I shared Grimani's certainty on the subject, and with my natural thoughtlessness I
cared nothing about it. Yet I must say that, unknown to everybody, I had in my purse Iorty bright sequins, which
powerIully contributed to increase my cheerIulness, and I leIt Venice Iull oI joy and without one regret.
EPISODE 2 CLERIC IN NAPLES
CHAPTER VIII
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My Misfortunes in ChiozzaFather StephanoThe Lazzaretto
at AnconaThe Greek SlaveMy Pilgrimage to Our Lady of
LorettoI Go to Rome on Foot, and From Rome to Naples to
Meet the BishopI Cannot Join HimGood Luck Offers Me the
Means of Reaching Martorano, Which Place I Very Quickly
Leave to Return to Naples
The eine of he ambaado, hich a led "gand," appeaed o me e mall. I a compoed of a
Milanee ead, named Cacinelli, of a pie ho flfilled he die of ecea becae he cold no ie,
of an old oman acing a hoekeepe, of a man cook ih hi gl ife, and eigh o en ean.
We eached Chioa abo noon. Immediael afe landing, I poliel aked he ead hee I hold p
p, and hi ane a:
"Wheee o pleae, poided o le hi man kno hee i i, o ha he can gie o noice hen he
peoa i ead o ail. M d," he added, "i o leae o a he laaeo of Ancona fee of epene fom he
momen e leae hi place. Unil hen enjo oelf a ell a o can."
The man o hom I a o gie m adde a he capain of he peoa. I aked him o ecommend me a
lodging.
"Yo can come o m hoe," he aid, "if o hae no objecion o hae a lage bed ih he cook, hoe
ife emain on boad."
Unable o deie an bee plan, I acceped he offe, and a ailo, caing m nk, accompanied me o he
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dwelling oI the honest captain. My trunk had to be placed under the bed which Iilled up the room. I was amused
at this, Ior I was not in a position to be over-Iastidious, and, aIter partaking oI some dinner at the inn, I went
about the town. Chiozza is a peninsula, a sea-port belonging to Venice, with a population oI ten thousand
inhabitants, seamen, Iishermen, merchants, lawyers, and government clerks.
I entered a coIIee-room, and I had scarcely taken a seat when a young doctor-at-law, with whom I had
studied in Padua, came up to me, and introduced me to a druggist whose shop was near by, saying that his house
was the rendezvous oI all the literary men oI the place. A Iew minutes aIterwards, a tall Jacobin Iriar, blind oI one
eye, called Corsini, whom I had known in Venice, came in and paid me many compliments. He told me that I
had arrived just in time to go to a picnic got up by the Macaronic academicians Ior the next day, aIter a sitting oI
the academy in which every member was to recite something oI his composition. He invited me to join them, and
to gratiIy the meeting with the delivery oI one oI my productions. I accepted the invitation, and, aIter the reading
oI ten stanzas which I had written Ior the occasion, I was unanimously elected a member. My success at the
picnic was still greater, Ior I disposed oI such a quantity oI macaroni that I was Iound worthy oI the title oI prince
oI the academy.
The young doctor, himselI one oI the academicians, introduced me to his Iamily. His parents, who were in easy
circumstances, received me very kindly. One oI his sisters was very amiable, but the other, a proIessed nun,
appeared to me a prodigy oI beauty. I might have enjoyed myselI in a very agreeable way in the midst oI that
charming Iamily during my stay in Chiozza, but I suppose that it was my destiny to meet in that place with nothing
but sorrows. The young doctor Iorewarned me that the monk Corsini was a very worthless Iellow, despised by
everybody, and advised me to avoid him. I thanked him Ior the inIormation, but my thoughtlessness prevented
me Irom proIiting by it. OI a very easy disposition, and too giddy to Iear any snares, I was Ioolish enough to
believe that the monk would, on the contrary, be the very man to throw plenty oI amusement in my way.
On the third day the worthless dog took me to a house oI ill-Iame, where I might have gone without his
introduction, and, in order to shew my mettle, I obliged a low creature whose ugliness ought to have been a
suIIicient antidote against any Ileshly desire. On leaving the place, he brought me Ior supper to an inn where we
met Iour scoundrels oI his own stamp. AIter supper one oI them began a bank oI Iaro, and I was invited to join in
the game. I gave way to that Ieeling oI Ialse pride which so oIten causes the ruin oI young men, and aIter losing
Iour sequins I expressed a wish to retire, but my honest Iriend, the Jacobin contrived to make me risk Iour more
sequins in partnership with him. He held the bank, and it was broken. I did not wish to play any more, but
Corsini, Ieigning to pity me and to Ieel great sorrow at being the cause oI my loss, induced me to try myselI a
bank oI twenty-Iive sequins; my bank was likewise broken. The hope oI winning back my money made me keep
up the game, and I lost everything I had.
Deeply grieved, I went away and laid myselI down near the cook, who woke up and said I was a libertine.
"You are right," was all I could answer.
I was worn out with Iatigue and sorrow, and I slept soundly. My vile tormentor, the monk, woke me at noon,
and inIormed me with a triumphant joy that a very rich young man had been invited by his Iriends to supper, that
he would be sure to play and to lose, and that it would be a good opportunity Ior me to retrieve my losses.
"I have lost all my money. Lend me twenty sequins."
"When I lend money I am sure to lose; you may call it superstition, but I have tried it too oIten. Try to Iind
money somewhere else, and come. Farewell."
I Ielt ashamed to conIess my position to my Iriend, and sending Ior, a money-lender I emptied my trunk beIore
him. We made an inventory oI my clothes, and the honest broker gave me thirty sequins, with the understanding
that iI I did not redeem them within three days all my things would become his property. I am bound to call him
an honest man, Ior he advised me to keep three shirts, a Iew pairs oI stockings, and a Iew handkerchieIs; I was
disposed to let him take everything, having a presentiment that I would win back all I had lost; a very common
error. A Iew years later I took my revenge by writing a diatribe against presentiments. I am oI opinion that the
only Ioreboding in which man can have any sort oI Iaith is the one which Iorbodes evil, because it comes Irom the
mind, while a presentiment oI happiness has its origin in the heart, and the heart is a Iool worthy oI reckoning
Ioolishly upon Iickle Iortune.
I did not lose any time in joining the honest company, which was alarmed at the thought oI not seeing me.
Supper went oII without any allusion to gambling, but my admirable qualities were highly praised, and it was
decided that a brilliant Iortune awaited me in Rome. AIter supper there was no talk oI play, but giving way to my
evil genius I loudly asked Ior my revenge. I was told that iI I would take the bank everyone would punt. I took
the bank, lost every sequin I had, and retired, begging the monk to pay what I owed to the landlord, which he
promised to do.
I was in despair, and to crown my misery I Iound out as I was going home that I had met the day beIore with
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another living specimen of the Greek woman, less beautiful but as perfidious. I went to bed stunned by my grief,
and I believe that I must have fainted into a heavy sleep, which lasted eleven hours; my awaking was that of a
miserable being, hating the light of heaven, of which he felt himself unworthy, and I closed my eyes again, trying
to sleep for a little while longer. I dreaded to rouse myself up entirely, knowing that I would then have to take
some decision; but I never once thought of returning to Venice, which would have been the very best thing to do,
and I would have destroyed myself rather than confide my sad position to the young doctor. I was weary of my
existence, and I entertained vaguely some hope of starving where I was, without leaving my bed. It is certain that
I should not have got up if M. Alban, the master of the peotta, had not roused me by calling upon me and
informing me that the boat was ready to sail.
The man who is delivered from great perplexity, no matter by what means, feels himself relieved. It seemed to
me that Captain Alban had come to point out the only thing I could possibly do; I dressed myself in haste, and
tying all my worldly possessions in a handkerchief I went on board. Soon afterwards we left the shore, and in the
morning we cast anchor in Orsara, a seaport of Istria. We all landed to visit the city, which would more properly
be called a village. It belongs to the Pope, the Republic of Venice having abandoned it to the Holy See.
A young monk of the order of the Recollects who called himself Friar Stephano of Belun, and had obtained a
free passage from the devout Captain Alban, joined me as we landed and enquired whether I felt sick.
"Reverend father, I am unhappy."
"You will forget all your sorrow, if you will come and dine with me at the house of one of our devout friends."
I had not broken my fast for thirty-six hours, and having suffered much from sea-sickness during the night, my
stomach was quite empty. My erotic inconvenience made me very uncomfortable, my mind felt deeply the
consciousness of my degradation, and I did not possess a groat! I was in such a miserable state that I had no
strength to accept or to refuse anything. I was thoroughly torpid, and I followed the monk mechanically.
He presented me to a lady, saying that he was accompanying me to Rome, where I intend to become a
Franciscan. This untruth disgusted me, and under any other circumstances I would not have let it pass without
protest, but in my actual position it struck me as rather comical. The good lady gave us a good dinner of fish
cooked in oil, which in Orsara is delicious, and we drank some exquisite refosco. During our meal, a priest
happened to drop in, and, after a short conversation, he told me that I ought not to pass the night on board the
tartan, and pressed me to accept a bed in his house and a good dinner for the next day in case the wind should
not allow us to sail; I accepted without hesitation. I offered my most sincere thanks to the good old lady, and the
priest took me all over the town. In the evening, he brought me to his house where we partook of an excellent
supper prepared by his housekeeper, who sat down to the table with us, and with whom I was much pleased.
The refosco, still better than that which I had drunk at dinner, scattered all my misery to the wind, and I
conversed gaily with the priest. He offered to read to me a poem of his own composition, but, feeling that my
eyes would not keep open, I begged he would excuse me and postpone the reading until the following day.
I went to bed, and in the morning, after ten hours of the most profound sleep, the housekeeper, who had been
watching for my awakening, brought me some coffee. I thought her a charming woman, but, alas! I was not in a
fit state to prove to her the high estimation in which I held her beauty.
Entertaining feelings of gratitude for my kind host, and disposed to listen attentively to his poem, I dismissed all
sadness, and I paid his poetry such compliments that he was delighted, and, finding me much more talented than
he had judged me to be at first, he insisted upon treating me to a reading of his idylls, and I had to swallow them,
bearing the infliction cheerfully. The day passed off very agreeably; the housekeeper surrounded me with the
kindest attentionsa proof that she was smitten with me; and, giving way to that pleasing idea, I felt that, by a
very natural system of reciprocity, she had made my conquest. The good priest thought that the day had passed
like lightning, thanks to all the beauties I had discovered in his poetry, which, to speak the truth, was below
mediocrity, but time seemed to me to drag along very slowly, because the friendly glances of the housekeeper
made me long for bedtime, in spite of the miserable condition in which I felt myself morally and physically. But
such was my nature; I abandoned myself to joy and happiness, when, had I been more reasonable, I ought to
have sunk under my grief and sadness.
But the golden time came at last. I found the pretty housekeeper full of compliance, but only up to a certain
point, and as she offered some resistance when I shewed myself disposed to pay a full homage to her charms, I
quietly gave up the undertaking, very well pleased for both of us that it had not been carried any further, and I
sought my couch in peace. But I had not seen the end of the adventure, for the next morning, when she brought
my coffee, her pretty, enticing manners allured me to bestow a few loving caresses upon her, and if she did not
abandon herself entirely, it was only, as she said, because she was afraid of some surprise. The day passed off
very pleasantly with the good priest, and at night, the house-keeper no longer fearing detection, and I having on
my side taken every precaution necessary in the state in which I was, we passed two most delicious hours. I left
Orsara the next morning.
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Friar Stephano amused me all day with his talk, which plainly showed me his ignorance combined with
knavery under the veil of simplicity. He made me look at the alms he had received in Orsarabread, wine,
cheese, sausages, preserves, and chocolate; every nook and cranny of his holy garment was full of provisions.
"Have you received money likewise?" I enquired.
"God forbid! In the first place, our glorious order does not permit me to touch money, and, in the second
place, were I to be foolish enough to receive any when I am begging, people would think themselves quit of me
with one or two sous, whilst they dive me ten times as much in eatables. Believe me Saint-Francis, was a very
judicious man."
I bethought myself that what this monk called wealth would be poverty to me. He offered to share with me,
and seemed very proud at my consenting to honour him so far.
The tartan touched at the harbour of Pola, called Veruda, and we landed. After a walk up hill of nearly a
quarter of an hour, we entered the city, and I devoted a couple of hours to visiting the Roman antiquities, which
are numerous, the town having been the metropolis of the empire. Yet I saw no other trace of grand buildings
except the ruins of the arena. We returned to Veruda, and went again to sea. On the following day we sighted
Ancona, but the wind being against us we were compelled to tack about, and we did not reach the port till the
second day. The harbour of Ancona, although considered one of the great works of Trajan, would be very
unsafe if it were not for a causeway which has cost a great deal of money, and which makes it some what better.
I observed a fact worthy of notice, namely, that, in the Adriatic, the northern coast has many harbours, while the
opposite coast can only boast of one or two. It is evident that the sea is retiring by degrees towards the east, and
that in three or four more centuries Venice must be joined to the land. We landed at the old lazzaretto, where we
received the pleasant information that we would go through a quarantine of twenty-eight days, because Venice
had admitted, after a quarantine of three months, the crew of two ships from Messina, where the plague had
recently been raging. I requested a room for myself and for Brother Stephano, who thanked me very heartily. I
hired from a Jew a bed, a table and a few chairs, promising to pay for the hire at the expiration of our quarantine.
The monk would have nothing but straw. If he had guessed that without him I might have starved, he would most
likely not have felt so much vanity at sharing my room. A sailor, expecting to find in me a generous customer,
came to enquire where my trunk was, and, hearing from me that I did not know, he, as well as Captain Alban,
went to a great deal of trouble to find it, and I could hardly keep down my merriment when the captain called,
begging to be excused for having left it behind, and assuring me that he would take care to forward it to me in
less than three weeks.
The friar, who had to remain with me four weeks, expected to live at my expense, while, on the contrary, he
had been sent by Providence to keep me. He had provisions enough for one week, but it was necessary to think
of the future.
After supper, I drew a most affecting picture of my position, shewing that I should be in need of everything
until my arrival at Rome, where I was going, I said, to fill the post of secretary of memorials, and my
astonishment may be imagined when I saw the blockhead delighted at the recital of my misfortunes.
"I undertake to take care of you until we reach Rome; only tell me whether you can write."
"What a question! Are you joking?"
"Why should I? Look at me; I cannot write anything but my name. True, I can write it with either hand; and
what else do I want to know?"
"You astonish me greatly, for I thought you were a priest."
"I am a monk; I say the mass, and, as a matter of course, I must know how to read. Saint-Francis, whose
unworthy son I am, could not read, an that is the reason why he never said a mass. But as you can write, you will
to-morrow pen a letter in my name to the persons whose names I will give you, and I warrant you we shall have
enough sent here to live like fighting cocks all through our quarantine."
The next day he made me write eight letters, because, in the oral tradition of his order, it is said that, when a
monk has knocked at seven doors and has met with a refusal at every one of them, he must apply to the eighth
with perfect confidence, because there he is certain of receiving alms. As he had already performed the
pilgrimage to Rome, he knew every person in Ancona devoted to the cult of Saint-Francis, and was acquainted
with the superiors of all the rich convents. I had to write to every person he named, and to set down all the lies he
dictated to me. He likewise made me sign the letters for him, saying, that, if he signed himself, his correspondents
would see that the letters had not been written by him, which would injure him, for, he added, in this age of
corruption, people will esteem only learned men. He compelled me to fill the letters with Latin passages and
quotations, even those addressed to ladies, and I remonstrated in vain, for, when I raised any objection, he
threatened to leave me without anything to eat. I made up my mind to do exactly as he wished. He desired me to
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write to the superior oI the Jesuits that he would not apply to the Capuchins, because they were no better than
atheists, and that that was the reason oI the great dislike oI Saint-Francis Ior them. It was in vain that I reminded
him oI the Iact that, in the time oI Saint-Francis, there were neither Capuchins nor Recollets. His answer was that
I had proved myselI an ignoramus. I Iirmly believed that he would be thought a madman, and that we should not
receive anything, but I was mistaken, Ior such a quantity oI provisions came pouring in that I was amazed. Wine
was sent Irom three or Iour diIIerent quarters, more than enough Ior us during all our stay, and yet I drank
nothing but water, so great was my wish to recover my health. As Ior eatables, enough was sent in every day Ior
six persons; we gave all our surplus to our keeper, who had a large Iamily. But the monk Ielt no gratitude Ior the
kind souls who bestowed their charity upon him; all his thanks were reserved Ior Saint-Francis.
He undertook to have my men washed by the keeper; I would not have dared to give it myselI, and he said
that he had nothing to Iear, as everybody was well aware that the monks oI his order never wear any kind oI
linen.
I kept myselI in bed nearly all day, and thus avoided shewing myselI to visitors. The persons who did not
come wrote letters Iull oI incongruities cleverly worded, which I took good care not to point out to him. It was
with great diIIiculty that I tried to persuade him that those letters did not require any answer.
A Iortnight oI repose and severe diet brought me round towards complete recovery, and I began to walk in
the yard oI the lazzaretto Irom morning till night; but the arrival oI a Turk Irom Thessalonia with his Iamily
compelled me to suspend my walks, the ground-Iloor having been given to him. The only pleasure leIt me was to
spend my time on the balcony overlooking the yard. I soon saw a Greek slave, a girl oI dazzling beauty, Ior
whom I Ielt the deepest interest. She was in the habit oI spending the whole day sitting near the door with a book
or some embroidery in her hand. II she happened to raise her eyes and to meet mine, she modestly bent her head
down, and sometimes she rose and went in slowly, as iI she meant to say, "I did not know that somebody was
looking at me." Her Iigure was tall and slender, her Ieatures proclaimed her to be very young; she had a very Iair
complexion, with beautiIul black hair and eyes. She wore the Greek costume, which gave her person a certain air
oI very exciting voluptuousness.
I was perIectly idle, and with the temperament which nature and habit had given me, was it likely that I could
Ieast my eyes constantly upon such a charming object without Ialling desperately in love? I had heard her
conversing in Lingua Franca with her master, a Iine old man, who, like her, Ielt very weary oI the quarantine, and
used to come out but seldom, smoking his pipe, and remaining in the yard only a short time. I Ielt a great
temptation to address a Iew words to the beautiIul girl, but I was aIraid she might run away and never come out
again; however, unable to control myselI any longer, I determined to write to her; I had no diIIiculty in conveying
the letter, as I had only to let it Iall Irom my balcony. But she might have reIused to pick it up, and this is the plan
I adopted in order not to risk any unpleasant result.
Availing myselI oI a moment during which she was alone in the yard, I dropped Irom my balcony a small piece
oI paper Iolded like a letter, but I had taken care not to write anything on it, and held the true letter in my hand.
As soon as I saw her stooping down to pick up the Iirst, I quickly let the second drop at her Ieet, and she put
both into her pocket. A Iew minutes aIterwards she leIt the yard. My letter was somewhat to this eIIect:
"BeautiIul angel Irom the East, I worship you. I will remain all night on this balcony in the hope that you will
come to me Ior a quarter oI an hour, and listen to my voice through the hole under my Ieet. We can speak soItly,
and in order to hear me you can climb up to the top oI the bale oI goods which lies beneath the same hole."
I begged Irom my keeper not to lock me in as he did every night, and he consented on condition that he would
watch me, Ior iI I had jumped down in the yard his liIe might have been the penalty, and he promised not to
disturb me on the balcony.
At midnight, as I was beginning to give her up, she came Iorward. I then laid myselI Ilat on the Iloor oI the
balcony, and I placed my head against the hole, about six inches square. I saw her jump on the bale, and her
head reached within a Ioot Irom the balcony. She was compelled to steady herselI with one hand against the wall
Ior Iear oI Ialling, and in that position we talked oI love, oI ardent desires, oI obstacles, oI impossibilities, and oI
cunning artiIices. I told her the reason Ior which I dared not jump down in the yard, and she observed that, even
without that reason, it would bring ruin upon us, as it would be impossible to come up again, and that, besides,
God alone knew what her master would do iI he were to Iind us together. Then, promising to visit me in this way
every night, she passed her hand through the hole. Alas! I could not leave oII kissing it, Ior I thought that I had
never in my liIe touched so soIt, so delicate a hand. But what bliss when she begged Ior mine! I quickly thrust my
arm through the hole, so that she could Iasten her lips to the bend oI the elbow. How many sweet liberties my
hand ventured to take! But we were at last compelled by prudence to separate, and when I returned to my room
I saw with great pleasure that the keeper was Iast asleep.
Although I was delighted at having obtained every Iavour I could possibly wish Ior in the uncomIortable
position we had been in, I racked my brain to contrive the means oI securing more complete enjoyment Ior the
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Iollowing night, but I Iound during the aIternoon that the Ieminine cunning oI my beautiIul Greek was more Iertile
than mine.
Being alone in the yard with her master, she said a Iew words to him in Turkish, to which he seemed to give
his approval, and soon aIter a servant, assisted by the keeper, brought under the balcony a large basket oI
goods. She overlooked the arrangement, and in order to secure the basket better, she made the servant place a
bale oI cotton across two others. Guessing at her purpose, I Iairly leaped Ior joy, Ior she had Iound the way oI
raising herselI two Ieet higher; but I thought that she would then Iind herselI in the most inconvenient position, and
that, Iorced to bend double, she would not be able to resist the Iatigue. The hole was not wide enough Ior her
head to pass through, otherwise she might have stood erect and been comIortable. It was necessary at all events
to guard against that diIIiculty; the only way was to tear out one oI the planks oI the Iloor oI the balcony, but it
was not an easy undertaking. Yet I decided upon attempting it, regardless oI consequences; and I went to my
room to provide myselI with a large pair oI pincers. Luckily the keeper was absent, and availing myselI oI the
opportunity, I succeeded in dragging out careIully the Iour large nails which Iastened the plank. Finding that I
could liIt it at my will, I replaced the pincers, and waited Ior the night with amorous impatience.
The darling girl came exactly at midnight, noticing the diIIiculty she experienced in climbing up, and in getting a
Iooting upon the third bale oI cotton, I liIted the plank, and, extending my arm as Iar as I could, I oIIered her a
steady point oI support. She stood straight, and Iound herselI agreeably surprised, Ior she could pass her head
and her arms through the hole. We wasted no time in empty compliments; we only congratulated each other upon
having both worked Ior the same purpose.
II, the night beIore, I had Iound myselI master oI her person more than she was oI mine, this time the position
was entirely reversed. Her hand roamed Ireely over every part oI my body, but I had to stop halI-way down
hers. She cursed the man who had packed the bale Ior not having made it halI a Ioot bigger, so as to get nearer
to me. Very likely even that would not have satisIied us, but she would have Ielt happier.
Our pleasures were barren, yet we kept up our enjoyment until the Iirst streak oI light. I put back the plank
careIully, and I lay down in my bed in great need oI recruiting my strength.
My dear mistress had inIormed me that the Turkish Bairam began that very morning, and would last three days
during which it would be impossible Ior her to see me.
The night aIter Bairam, she did not Iail to make her appearance, and, saying that she could not be happy
without me, she told me that, as she was a Christian woman, I could buy her, iI I waited Ior her aIter leaving the
lazzaretto. I was compelled to tell her that I did not possess the means oI doing so, and my conIession made her
sigh. On the Iollowing night, she inIormed me that her master would sell her Ior two thousand piasters, that she
would give me the amount, that she was yet a virgin, and that I would be pleased with my bargain. She added
that she would give me a casket Iull oI diamonds, one oI which was alone worth two thousand piasters, and that
the sale oI the others would place us beyond the reach oI poverty Ior the remainder oI our liIe. She assured me
that her master would not notice the loss oI the casket, and that, iI he did, he would never think oI accusing her.
I was in love with this girl; and her proposal made me uncomIortable, but when I woke in the morning I did
not hesitate any longer. She brought the casket in the evening, but I told her that I never could make up my mind
to be accessory to a robbery; she was very unhappy, and said that my love was not as deep as her own, but that
she could not help admiring me Ior being so good a Christian.
This was the last night; probably we should never meet again. The Ilame oI passion consumed us. She
proposed that I should liIt her up to the balcony through the open space. Where is the lover who would have
objected to so attractive a proposal? I rose, and without being a Milo, I placed my hands under her arms, I drew
her up towards me, and my desires are on the point oI being IulIilled. Suddenly I Ieel two hands upon my
shoulders, and the voice oI the keeper exclaims, "What are you about?" I let my precious burden drop; she
regains her chamber, and I, giving vent to my rage, throw myselI Ilat on the Iloor oI the balcony, and remain there
without a movement, in spite oI the shaking oI the keeper whom I was sorely tempted to strangle. At last I rose
Irom the Iloor and went to bed without uttering one word, and not even caring to replace the plank.
In the morning, the governor inIormed us that we were Iree. As I leIt the lazzaretto, with a breaking heart, I
caught a glimpse oI the Greek slave drowned in tears.
I agreed to meet Friar Stephano at the exchange, and I took the Jew Irom whom I had hired the Iurniture, to
the convent oI the Minims, where I received Irom Father Lazari ten sequins and the address oI the bishop, who,
aIter perIorming quarantine on the Irontiers oI Tuscany, had proceeded to Rome, where he would expect me to
meet him.
I paid the Jew, and made a poor dinner at an inn. As I was leaving it to join the monk, I was so unlucky as to
meet Captain Alban, who reproached me bitterly Ior having led him to believe that my trunk had been leIt behind.
I contrived to appease his anger by telling him all my misIortunes, and I signed a paper in which I declared that I
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had no claim whatever upon him. I then purchased a pair of shoes and an overcoat, and met Stephano, whom I
informed of my decision to make a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Loretto. I said I would await there for him, and
that we would afterwards travel together as far as Rome. He answered that he did not wish to go through
Loretto, and that I would repent of my contempt for the grace of Saint-Francis. I did not alter my mind, and I left
for Loretto the next day in the enjoyment of perfect health.
I reached the Holy City, tired almost to death, for it was the first time in my life that I had walked fifteen miles,
drinking nothing but water, although the weather was very warm, because the dry wine used in that part of the
country parched me too much. I must observe that, in spite of my poverty, I did not look like a beggar.
As I was entering the city, I saw coming towards me an elderly priest of very respectable appearance, and, as
he was evidently taking notice of me, as soon as he drew near, I saluted him, and enquired where I could find a
comfortable inn. "I cannot doubt," he said, "that a person like you, travelling on foot, must come here from
devout motives; come with me." He turned back, I followed him, and he took me to a fine-looking house. After
whispering a few words to a man who appeared to be a steward, he left me saying, very affably, "You shall be
well attended to."
My first impression was that I had been mistaken for some other person, but I said nothing.
I was led to a suite of three rooms; the chamber was decorated with damask hangings, the bedstead had a
canopy, and the table was supplied with all materials necessary for writing. A servant brought me a light dressing-
gown, and another came in with linen and a large tub full of water, which he placed before me; my shoes and
stockings were taken off, and my feet washed. A very decent-looking woman, followed by a servant girl, came
in a few minutes after, and curtsying very low, she proceeded to make my bed. At that moment the Angelus bell
was heard; everyone knelt down, and I followed their example. After the prayer, a small table was neatly laid
out, I was asked what sort of wine I wished to drink, and I was provided with newspapers and two silver
candlesticks. An hour afterwards I had a delicious fish supper, and, before I retired to bed, a servant came to
enquire whether I would take chocolate in the morning before or after mass.
As soon as I was in bed, the servant brought me a night-lamp with a dial, and I remained alone. Except in
France I have never had such a good bed as I had that night. It would have cured the most chronic insomnia, but
I was not labouring under such a disease, and I slept for ten hours.
This sort of treatment easily led me to believe that I was not in any kind of hostelry; but where was I? How
was I to suppose that I was in a hospital?
When I had taken my chocolate, a hair-dresserquite a fashionable, dapper fellowmade his appearance,
dying to give vent to his chattering propensities. Guessing that I did not wish to be shaved, he offered to clip my
soft down with the scissors, saying that I would look younger.
"Why do you suppose that I want to conceal my age?"
"It is very natural, because, if your lordship did not wish to do so, your lordship would have shaved long ago.
Countess Marcolini is here; does your lordship know her? I must go to her at noon to dress her hair."
I did not feel interested in the Countess Marcolini, and, seeing it, the gossip changed the subject.
"Is this your lordship's first visit to this house? It is the finest hospital throughout the papal states."
"I quite agree with you, and I shall compliment His Holiness on the establishment."
"Oh! His Holiness knows all about it, he resided here before he became pope. If Monsignor Caraffa had not
been well acquainted with you, he would not have introduced you here."
Such is the use of barbers throughout Europe; but you must not put any questions to them, for, if you do, they
are sure to threat you to an impudent mixture of truth and falsehood, and instead of you pumping them, they will
worm everything out of you.
Thinking that it was my duty to present my respectful compliments to Monsignor Caraffa, I desired to be taken
to his apartment. He gave me a pleasant welcome, shewed me his library, and entrusted me to the care of one of
his abbes, a man of parts, who acted as my cicerone every where. Twenty years afterwards, this same abbe was
of great service to me in Rome, and, if still alive, he is a canon of St. John Lateran.
On the following day, I took the communion in the Santa-Casa. The third day was entirely employed in
examining the exterior of this truly wonderful sanctuary, and early the next day I resumed my journey, having
spent nothing except three paoli for the barber. Halfway to Macerata, I overtook Brother Stephano walking on
at a very slow rate. He was delighted to see me again, and told me that he had left Ancona two hours after me,
but that he never walked more than three miles a day, being quite satisfied to take two months for a journey
which, even on foot, can easily be accomplished in a week. "I want," he said, "to reach Rome without fatigue and
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in good health. I am in no hurry, and if you feel disposed to travel with me and in the same quiet way, Saint-
Francis will not find it difficult to keep us both during the journey."
This lazy fellow was a man about thirty, red-haired, very strong and healthy; a true peasant who had turned
himself into a monk only for the sake of living in idle comfort. I answered that, as I was in a hurry to reach Rome,
I could not be his travelling companion.
"I undertake to walk six miles, instead of three, today," he said, "if you will carry my cloak, which I find very
heavy."
The proposal struck me as a rather funny one; I put on his cloak, and he took my great-coat, but, after the
exchange, we cut such a comical figure that every peasant we met laughed at us. His cloak would truly have
proved a load for a mule. There were twelve pockets quite full, without taken into account a pocket behind,
which he called 'il batticulo', and which contained alone twice as much as all the others. Bread, wine, fresh and
salt meat, fowls, eggs, cheese, ham, sausageseverything was to be found in those pockets, which contained
provisions enough for a fortnight.
I told him how well I had been treated in Loretto, and he assured me that I might have asked Monsignor
Caraffa to give me letters for all the hospitals on my road to Rome, and that everywhere I would have met with
the same reception. "The hospitals," he added, "are all under the curse of Saint-Francis, because the mendicant
friars are not admitted in them; but we do not mind their gates being shut against us, because they are too far
apart from each other. We prefer the homes of the persons attached to our order; these we find everywhere."
"Why do you not ask hospitality in the convents of your order?"
"I am not so foolish. In the first place, I should not be admitted, because, being a fugitive, I have not the
written obedience which must be shown at every convent, and I should even run the risk of being thrown into
prison; your monks are a cursed bad lot. In the second place, I should not be half so comfortable in the convents
as I am with our devout benefactors."
"Why and how are you a fugitive?"
He answered my question by the narrative of his imprisonment and flight, the whole story being a tissue of
absurdities and lies. The fugitive Recollet friar was a fool, with something of the wit of harlequin, and he thought
that every man listening to him was a greater fool than himself. Yet with all his folly he was not went in a certain
species of cunning. His religious principles were singular. As he did not wish to be taken for a bigoted man he
was scandalous, and for the sake of making people laugh he would often make use of the most disgusting
expressions. He had no taste whatever for women, and no inclination towards the pleasures of the flesh; but this
was only owing to a deficiency in his natural temperament, and yet he claimed for himself the virtue of continence.
On that score, everything appeared to him food for merriment, and when he had drunk rather too much, he
would ask questions of such an indecent character that they would bring blushes on everybody's countenance.
Yet the brute would only laugh.
As we were getting within one hundred yards from the house of the devout friend whom he intended to honour
with his visit, he took back his heavy cloak. On entering the house he gave his blessing to everybody, and
everyone in the family came to kiss his hand. The mistress of the house requested him to say mass for them, and
the compliant monk asked to be taken to the vestry, but when I whispered in his ear,-
"Have you forgotten that we have already broken our fast to-day?" he answered, dryly,-
"Mind your own business."
I dared not make any further remark, but during the mass I was indeed surprised, for I saw that he did not
understand what he was doing. I could not help being amused at his awkwardness, but I had not yet seen the
best part of the comedy. As soon as he had somehow or other finished his mass he went to the confessional, and
after hearing in confession every member of the family he took it into his head to refuse absolution to the daughter
of his hostess, a girl of twelve or thirteen, pretty and quite charming. He gave his refusal publicly, scolding her and
threatening her with the torments of hell. The poor girl, overwhelmed with shame, left the church crying bitterly,
and I, feeling real sympathy for her, could not help saying aloud to Stephano that he was a madman. I ran after
the girl to offer her my consolations, but she had disappeared, and could not be induced to join us at dinner. This
piece of extravagance on the part of the monk exasperated me to such an extent that I felt a very strong
inclination to thrash him. In the presence of all the family I told him that he was an impostor, and the infamous
destroyer of the poor child's honour; I challenged him to explain his reasons for refusing to give her absolution,
but he closed my lips by answering very coolly that he could not betray the secrets of the confessional. I could
eat nothing, and was fully determined to leave the scoundrel. As we left the house I was compelled to accept one
paolo as the price of the mock mass he had said. I had to fulfil the sorry duty of his treasurer.
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The moment we were on the road, I told him that I was going to part company, because I was afraid of being
sent as a felon to the galleys if I continued my journey with him. We exchanged high words; I called him an
ignorant scoundrel, he styled me beggar. I struck him a violent slap on the face, which he returned with a blow
from his stick, but I quickly snatched it from him, and, leaving him, I hastened towards Macerata. A carrier who
was going to Tolentino took me with him for two paoli, and for six more I might have reached Foligno in a
waggon, but unfortunately a wish for economy made me refuse the offer. I felt well, and I thought I could easily
walk as far as Valcimare, but I arrived there only after five hours of hard walking, and thoroughly beaten with
fatigue. I was strong and healthy, but a walk of five hours was more than I could bear, because in my infancy I
had never gone a league on foot. Young people cannot practise too much the art of walking.
The next day, refreshed by a good night's rest, and ready to resume my journey, I wanted to pay the
innkeeper, but, alas! a new misfortune was in store for me! Let the reader imagine my sad position! I recollected
that I had forgotten my purse, containing seven sequins, on the table of the inn at Tolentino. What a thunderbolt! I
was in despair, but I gave up the idea of going back, as it was very doubtful whether I would find my money. Yet
it contained all I possessed, save a few copper coins I had in my pocket. I paid my small bill, and, deeply grieved
at my loss, continued my journey towards Seraval. I was within three miles of that place when, in jumping over a
ditch, I sprained my ankle, and was compelled to sit down on one side of the road, and to wait until someone
should come to my assistance.
In the course of an hour a peasant happened to pass with his donkey, and he agreed to carry me to Seraval
for one paolo. As I wanted to spend as little as possible, the peasant took me to an ill-looking fellow who, for
two paoli paid in advance, consented to give me a lodging. I asked him to send for a surgeon, but I did not
obtain one until the following morning. I had a wretched supper, after which I lay down in a filthy bed. I was in
hope that sleep would bring me some relief, but my evil genius was preparing for me a night of torments.
Three men, armed with guns and looking like banditti, came in shortly after I had gone to bed, speaking a kind
of slang which I could not make out, swearing, raging, and paying no attention to me. They drank and sang until
midnight, after which they threw themselves down on bundles of straw brought for them, and my host, who was
drunk, came, greatly to my dismay, to lie down near me. Disgusted at the idea of having such a fellow for my bed
companion, I refused to let him come, but he answered, with fearful blasphemies, that all the devils in hell could
not prevent him from taking possession of his own bed. I was forced to make room for him, and exclaimed
"Heavens, where am I?" He told me that I was in the house of the most honest constable in all the papal states.
Could I possibly have supposed that the peasant would have brought me amongst those accursed enemies of
humankind!
He laid himself down near me, but the filthy scoundrel soon compelled me to give him, for certain reasons,
such a blow in his chest that he rolled out of bed. He picked himself up, and renewed his beastly attempt. Being
well aware that I could not master him without great danger, I got out of bed, thinking myself lucky that he did
not oppose my wish, and crawling along as well as I could, I found a chair on which I passed the night. At day-
break, my tormentor, called up by his honest comrades, joined them in drinking and shouting, and the three
strangers, taking their guns, departed. Left alone by the departure of the vile rabble, I passed another unpleasant
hour, calling in vain for someone. At last a young boy came in, I gave him some money and he went for a
surgeon. The doctor examined my foot, and assured me that three or four days would set me to rights. He
advised me to be removed to an inn, and I most willingly followed his counsel. As soon as I was brought to the
inn, I went to bed, and was well cared for, but my position was such that I dreaded the moment of my recovery.
I feared that I should be compelled to sell my coat to pay the inn-keeper, and the very thought made me feel
ashamed. I began to consider that if I had controlled my sympathy for the young girl so ill-treated by Stephano, I
should not have fallen into this sad predicament, and I felt conscious that my sympathy had been a mistake. If I
had put up with the faults of the friar, if this and if that, and every other if was conjured up to torment my restless
and wretched brain. Yet I must confess that the thoughts which have their origin in misfortune are not without
advantage to a young man, for they give him the habit of thinking, and the man who does not think never does
anything right.
The morning of the fourth day came, and I was able to walk, as the surgeon had predicted; I made up my
mind, although reluctantly, to beg the worthy man to sell my great coat for mea most unpleasant necessity, for
rain had begun to fall. I owed fifteen paoli to the inn-keeper and four to the surgeon. Just as I was going to
proffer my painful request, Brother Stephano made his appearance in my room, and burst into loud laughter
enquiring whether I had forgotten the blow from his stick!
I was struck with amazement! I begged the surgeon to leave me with the monk, and he immediately complied.
I must ask my readers whether it is possible, in the face of such extraordinary circumstances, not to feel
superstitious! What is truly miraculous in this case is the precise minute at which the event took place, for the friar
entered the room as the word was hanging on my lips. What surprised me most was the force of Providence, of
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fortune, of chance, whatever name is given to it, of that very necessary combination which compelled me to find
no hope but in that fatal monk, who had begun to be my protective genius in Chiozza at the moment my distress
had likewise commenced. And yet, a singular guardian angel, this Stephano! I felt that the mysterious force which
threw me in his hands was a punishment rather than a favour.
Nevertheless he was welcome, because I had no doubt of his relieving me from my difficulties,and whatever
might be the power that sent him to me, I felt that I could not do better than to submit to its influence; the destiny
of that monk was to escort me to Rome.
"Chi va piano va sano," said the friar as soon as we were alone. He had taken five days to traverse the road
over which I had travelled in one day, but he was in good health, and he had met with no misfortune. He told me
that, as he was passing, he heard that an abbe, secretary to the Venetian ambassador at Rome, was lying ill at the
inn, after having been robbed in Valcimara. "I came to see you," he added, "and as I find you recovered from
your illness, we can start again together; I agree to walk six miles every day to please you. Come, let us forget
the past, and let us be at once on our way."
"I cannot go; I have lost my purse, and I owe twenty paoli."
"I will go and find the amount in the name of Saint-Francis."
He returned within an hour, but he was accompanied by the infamous constable who told me that, if I had let
him know who I was, he would have been happy to keep me in his house. "I will give you," he continued, "forty
paoli, if you will promise me the protection of your ambassador; but if you do not succeed in obtaining it for me
in Rome, you will undertake to repay me. Therefore you must give me an acknowledgement of the debt."
"I have no objection." Every arrangement was speedily completed; I received the money, paid my debts, and
left Seraval with Stephano.
About one o'clock in the afternoon, we saw a wretched-looking house at a short distance from the road, and
the friar said, "It is a good distance from here to Collefiorito; we had better put up there for the night." It was in
vain that I objected, remonstrating that we were certain of having very poor accommodation! I had to submit to
his will. We found a decrepit old man lying on a pallet, two ugly women of thirty or forty, three children entirely
naked, a cow, and a cursed dog which barked continually. It was a picture of squalid misery; but the niggardly
monk, instead of giving alms to the poor people, asked them to entertain us to supper in the name of Saint-
Francis.
"You must boil the hen," said the dying man to the females, "and bring out of the cellar the bottle of wine which
I have kept now for twenty years." As he uttered those few words, he was seized with such a fit of coughing that
I thought he would die. The friar went near him, and promised him that, by the grace of Saint-Francis, he would
get young and well. Moved by the sight of so much misery, I wanted to continue my journey as far as
Collefiorito, and to wait there for Stephano, but the women would not let me go, and I remained. After boiling
for four hours the hen set the strongest teeth at defiance, and the bottle which I uncorked proved to be nothing
but sour vinegar. Losing patience, I got hold of the monk's batticaslo, and took out of it enough for a plentiful
supper, and I saw the two women opening their eyes very wide at the sight of our provisions.
We all ate with good appetite, and, after our supper the women made for us two large beds of fresh straw,
and we lay down in the dark, as the last bit of candle to be found in the miserable dwelling was burnt out. We
had not been lying on the straw five minutes, when Stephano called out to me that one of the women had just
placed herself near him, and at the same instant the other one takes me in her arms and kisses me. I push her
away, and the monk defends himself against the other; but mine, nothing daunted, insists upon laying herself near
me; I get up, the dog springs at my neck, and fear compels me to remain quiet on my straw bed; the monk
screams, swears, struggles, the dog barks furiously, the old man coughs; all is noise and confusion. At last
Stephano, protected by his heavy garments, shakes off the too loving shrew, and, braving the dog, manages to
find his stick. Then he lays about to right and left, striking in every direction; one of the women exclaims, "Oh,
God!" the friar answers, "She has her quietus." Calm reigns again in the house, the dog, most likely dead, is silent;
the old man, who perhaps has received his death-blow, coughs no more; the children sleep, and the women,
afraid of the singular caresses of the monk, sheer off into a corner; the remainder of the night passed off quietly.
At day-break I rose; Stephano was likewise soon up. I looked all round, and my surprise was great when I
found that the women had gone out, and seeing that the old man gave no sign of life, and had a bruise on his
forehead, I shewed it to Stephano, remarking that very likely he had killed him.
"It is possible," he answered, "but I have not done it intentionally."
Then taking up his batticulo and finding it empty he flew into a violent passion; but I was much pleased, for I
had been afraid that the women had gone out to get assistance and to have us arrested, and the robbery of our
provisions reassured me, as I felt certain that the poor wretches had gone out of the way so as to secure impunity
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Ior their theIt. But I laid great stress upon the danger we should run by remaining any longer, and I succeeded in
Irightening the Iriar out oI the house. We soon met a waggoner going to Folligno; I persuaded Stephano to take
the opportunity oI putting a good distance between us and the scene oI our last adventures; and, as we were
eating our breakIast at Folligno, we saw another waggon, quite empty, got a liIt in it Ior a triIle, and thus rode to
Pisignano, where a devout person gave us a charitable welcome, and I slept soundly through the night without the
dread oI being arrested.
Early the next day we reached Spoleti, where Brother Stephano had two beneIactors, and, careIul not to give
either oI them a cause oI jealousy, he Iavoured both; we dined with the Iirst, who entertained us like princes, and
we had supper and lodging in the house oI the second, a wealthy wine merchant, and the Iather oI a large and
delightIul Iamily. He gave us a delicious supper, and everything would have gone on pleasantly had not the Iriar,
already excited by his good dinner, made himselI quite drunk. In that state, thinking to please his new host, he
began to abuse the other, greatly to my annoyance; he said the wine he had given us to drink was adulterated,
and that the man was a thieI. I gave him the lie to his Iace, and called him a scoundrel. The host and his wiIe
paciIied me, saying that they were well acquainted with their neighbour, and knew what to think oI him; but the
monk threw his napkin at my Iace, and the host took him very quietly by the arm and put him to bed in a room in
which he locked him up. I slept in another room.
In the morning I rose early, and was considering whether it would not be better to go alone, when the Iriar,
who had slept himselI sober, made his appearance and told me that we ought Ior the Iuture to live together like
good Iriends, and not give way to angry Ieelings; I Iollowed my destiny once more. We resumed our journey,
and at Soma, the inn-keeper, a woman oI rare beauty, gave us a good dinner, and some excellent Cyprus wine
which the Venetian couriers exchanged with her against delicious truIIles Iound in the vicinity oI Soma, which sold
Ior a good price in Venice. I did not leave the handsome inn-keeper without losing a part oI my heart.
It would be diIIicult to draw a picture oI the indignation which overpowered me when, as we were about two
miles Irom Terni, the inIamous Iriar shewed me a small bag Iull oI truIIles which the scoundrel had stolen Irom the
amiable woman by way oI thanks Ior her generous hospitality. The truIIles were worth two sequins at least. In my
indignation I snatched the bag Irom him, saying that I would certainly return it to its lawIul owner. But, as he had
not committed the robbery to give himselI the pleasure oI making restitution, he threw himselI upon me, and we
came to a regular Iight. But victory did not remain long in abeyance; I Iorced his stick out oI his hands, knocked
him into a ditch, and went oII. On reaching Terni, I wrote a letter oI apology to our beautiIul hostess oI Soma,
and sent back the truIIles.
From Terni I went on Ioot to Otricoli, where I only stayed long enough to examine the Iine old bridge, and
Irom there I paid Iour paoli to a waggoner who carried me to Castel-Nuovo, Irom which place I walked to
Rome. I reached the celebrated city on the 1st oI September, at nine in the morning.
I must not Iorget to mention here a rather peculiar circumstance, which, however ridiculous it may be in reality,
will please many oI my readers.
An hour aIter I had leIt Castel-Nuovo, the atmosphere being calm and the sky clear, I perceived on my right,
and within ten paces oI me, a pyramidal Ilame about two Ieet long and Iour or Iive Ieet above the ground. This
apparition surprised me, because it seemed to accompany me. Anxious to examine it, I endeavoured to get
nearer to it, but the more I advanced towards it the Iurther it went Irom me. It would stop when I stood still, and
when the road along which I was travelling happened to be lined with trees, I no longer saw it, but it was sure to
reappear as soon as I reached a portion oI the road without trees. I several times retraced my steps purposely,
but, every time I did so, the Ilame disappeared, and would not shew itselI again until I proceeded towards Rome.
This extraordinary beacon leIt me when daylight chased darkness Irom the sky.
What a splendid Iield Ior ignorant superstition, iI there had been any witnesses to that phenomenon, and iI I
had chanced to make a great name in Rome! History is Iull oI such triIles, and the world is Iull oI people who
attach great importance to them in spite oI the so-called light oI science. I must candidly conIess that, although
somewhat versed in physics, the sight oI that small meteor gave me singular ideas. But I was prudent enough not
to mention the circumstance to any one.
When I reached the ancient capital oI the world, I possessed only seven paoli, and consequently I did not
loiter about. I paid no attention to the splendid entrance through the gate oI the polar trees, which is by mistake
pompously called oI the people, or to the beautiIul square oI the same name, or to the portals oI the magniIicent
churches, or to all the stately buildings which generally strike the traveller as he enters the city. I went straight
towards Monte-Magnanopoli, where, according to the address given to me, I was to Iind the bishop. There I
was inIormed that he had leIt Rome ten days beIore, leaving instructions to send me to Naples Iree oI expense. A
coach was to start Ior Naples the next day; not caring to see Rome, I went to bed until the time Ior the departure
oI the coach. I travelled with three low Iellows to whom I did not address one word through the whole oI the
journey. I entered Naples on the 6th day oI September.
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I went immediately to the address which had been given to me in Rome; the bishop was not there. I called at
the Convent of the Minims, and I found that he had left Naples to proceed to Martorano. I enquired whether he
had left any instructions for me, but all in vain, no one could give me any information. And there I was, alone in a
large city, without a friend, with eight carlini in my pocket, and not knowing what to do! But never mind; fate calls
me to Martorano, and to Martorano I must go. The distance, after all, is only two hundred miles.
I found several drivers starting for Cosenza, but when they heard that I had no luggage, they refused to take
me, unless I paid in advance. They were quite right, but their prudence placed me under the necessity of going on
foot. Yet I felt I must reach Martorano, and I made up my mind to walk the distance, begging food and lodging
like the very reverend Brother Stephano.
First of all I made a light meal for one fourth of my money, and, having been informed that I had to follow the
Salerno road, I went towards Portici where I arrived in an hour and a half. I already felt rather fatigued; my legs,
if not my head, took me to an inn, where I ordered a room and some supper. I was served in good style, my
appetite was excellent, and I passed a quiet night in a comfortable bed. In the morning I told the inn-keeper that I
would return for my dinner, and I went out to visit the royal palace. As I passed through the gate, I was met by a
man of prepossessing appearance, dressed in the eastern fashion, who offered to shew me all over the palace,
saying that I would thus save my money. I was in a position to accept any offer; I thanked him for his kindness.
Happening during the conversation to state that I was a Venetian, he told me that he was my subject, since he
came from Zante. I acknowledged his polite compliment with a reverence.
"I have," he said, "some very excellent muscatel wine 'grown in the East, which I could sell you cheap."
"I might buy some, but I warn you I am a good judge."
"So much the better. Which do you prefer?"
"The Cerigo wine."
"You are right. I have some rare Cerigo muscatel, and we can taste it if you have no objection to dine with
me."
"None whatever."
"I can likewise give you the wines of Samos and Cephalonia. I have also a quantity of minerals, plenty of
vitriol, cinnabar, antimony, and one hundred quintals of mercury."
"Are all these goods here?"
"No, they are in Naples. Here I have only the muscatel wine and the mercury."
It is quite naturally and without any intention to deceive, that a young man accustomed to poverty, and
ashamed of it when he speaks to a rich stranger, boasts of his meansof his fortune. As I was talking with my
new acquaintance, I recollected an amalgam of mercury with lead and bismuth, by which the mercury increases
one-fourth in weight. I said nothing, but I bethought myself that if the mystery should be unknown to the Greek I
might profit by it. I felt that some cunning was necessary, and that he would not care for my secret if I proposed
to sell it to him without preparing the way. The best plan was to astonish my man with the miracle of the
augmentation of the mercury, treat it as a jest, and see what his intentions would be. Cheating is a crime, but
honest cunning may be considered as a species of prudence. True, it is a quality which is near akin to roguery;
but that cannot be helped, and the man who, in time of need, does not know how to exercise his cunning nobly is
a fool. The Greeks call this sort of wisdom Cerdaleophyon from the word cerdo; fox, and it might be translated
by foxdom if there were such a word in English.
After we had visited the palace we returned to the inn, and the Greek took me to his room, in which he
ordered the table to be laid for two. In the next room I saw several large vessels of muscatel wine and four
flagons of mercury, each containing about ten pounds.
My plans were laid, and I asked him to let me have one of the flagons of mercury at the current price, and
took it to my room. The Greek went out to attend to his business, reminding me that he expected me to dinner. I
went out likewise, and bought two pounds and a half of lead and an equal quantity of bismuth; the druggist had
no more. I came back to the inn, asked for some large empty bottles, and made the amalgam.
We dined very pleasantly, and the Greek was delighted because I pronounced his Cerigo excellent. In the
course of conversation he inquired laughingly why I had bought one of his flagons of mercury.
"You can find out if you come to my room," I said.
After dinner we repaired to my room, and he found his mercury divided in two vessels. I asked for a piece of
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chamois, strained the liquid through it, filled his own flagon, and the Greek stood astonished at the sight of the fine
mercury, about one-fourth of a flagon, which remained over, with an equal quantity of a powder unknown to him;
it was the bismuth. My merry laugh kept company with his astonishment, and calling one of the servants of the inn
I sent him to the druggist to sell the mercury that was left. He returned in a few minutes and handed me fifteen
carlini.
The Greek, whose surprise was complete, asked me to give him back his own flagon, which was there quite
full, and worth sixty carlini. I handed it to him with a smile, thanking him for the opportunity he had afforded me
of earning fifteen carlini, and took care to add that I should leave for Salerno early the next morning.
"Then we must have supper together this evening," he said.
During the afternoon we took a walk towards Mount Vesuvius. Our conversation went from one subject to
another, but no allusion was made to the mercury, though I could see that the Greek had something on his mind.
At supper he told me, jestingly, that I ought to stop in Portici the next day to make forty-five carlini out of the
three other flagons of mercury. I answered gravely that I did not want the money, and that I had augmented the
first flagon only for the sake of procuring him an agreeable surprise.
"But," said he, "you must be very wealthy."
"No, I am not, because I am in search of the secret of the augmentation of gold, and it is a very expensive
study for us."
"How many are there in your company?"
"Only my uncle and myself."
"What do you want to augment gold for? The augmentation of mercury ought to be enough for you. Pray, tell
me whether the mercury augmented by you to-day is again susceptible of a similar increase."
"No, if it were so, it would be an immense source of wealth for us."
"I am much pleased with your sincerity."
Supper over I paid my bill, and asked the landlord to get me a carriage and pair of horses to take me to
Salerno early the next morning. I thanked the Greek for his delicious muscatel wine, and, requesting his address
in Naples, I assured him that he would see me within a fortnight, as I was determined to secure a cask of his
Cerigo.
We embraced each other, and I retired to bed well pleased with my day's work, and in no way astonished at
the Greek's not offering to purchase my secret, for I was certain that he would not sleep for anxiety, and that I
should see him early in the morning. At all events, I had enough money to reach the Tour-du-Grec, and there
Providence would take care of me. Yet it seemed to me very difficult to travel as far as Martorano, begging like
a mendicant-friar, because my outward appearance did not excite pity; people would feel interested in me only
from a conviction that I needed nothinga very unfortunate conviction, when the object of it is truly poor.
As I had forseen, the Greek was in my room at daybreak. I received him in a friendly way, saying that we
could take coffee together.
"Willingly; but tell me, reverend abbe, whether you would feel disposed to sell me your secret?"
"Why not? When we meet in Naples"
"But why not now?"
"I am expected in Salerno; besides, I would only sell the secret for a large sum of money, and I am not
acquainted with you."
"That does not matter, as I am sufficiently known here to pay you in cash. How much would you want?"
"Two thousand ounces."
"I agree to pay you that sum provided that I succeed in making the augmentation myself with such matter as
you name to me, which I will purchase."
"It is impossible, because the necessary ingredients cannot be got here; but they are common enough in
Naples."
"If it is any sort of metal, we can get it at the Tourdu-Grec. We could go there together. Can you tell me what
is the expense of the augmentation?"
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"One and a half per cent. but are you likewise known at the Tour-du-Grec, for I should not like to lose my
time?"
"Your doubts grieve me."
Saying which, he took a pen, wrote a few words, and handed to me this order:
"At sight, pay to bearer the sum of fifty gold ounces, on account of Panagiotti."
He told me that the banker resided within two hundred yards of the inn, and he pressed me to go there myself.
I did not stand upon ceremony, but went to the banker who paid me the amount. I returned to my room in which
he was waiting for me, and placed the gold on the table, saying that we could now proceed together to the Tour-
du-Grec, where we would complete our arrangements after the signature of a deed of agreement. The Greek had
his own carriage and horses; he gave orders for them to be got ready, and we left the inn; but he had nobly
insisted upon my taking possession of the fifty ounces.
When we arrived at the Tour-du-Grec, he signed a document by which he promised to pay me two thousand
ounces as soon as I should have discovered to him the process of augmenting mercury by one-fourth without
injuring its quality, the amalgam to be equal to the mercury which I had sold in his presence at Portici.
He then gave me a bill of exchange payable at sight in eight days on M. Genaro de Carlo. I told him that the
ingredients were lead and bismuth; the first, combining with mercury, and the second giving to the whole the
perfect fluidity necessary to strain it through the chamois leather. The Greek went out to try the amalgamI do
not know where, and I dined alone, but toward evening he came back, looking very disconsolate, as I had
expected.
"I have made the amalgam," he said, "but the mercury is not perfect."
"It is equal to that which I have sold in Portici, and that is the very letter of your engagement."
"But my engagement says likewise without injury to the quality. You must agree that the quality is injured,
because it is no longer susceptible of further augmentation."
"You knew that to be the case; the point is its equality with the mercury I sold in Portici. But we shall have to
go to law, and you will lose. I am sorry the secret should become public. Congratulate yourself, sir, for, if you
should gain the lawsuit, you will have obtained my secret for nothing. I would never have believed you capable of
deceiving me in such a manner."
"Reverend sir, I can assure you that I would not willingly deceive any one."
"Do you know the secret, or do you not? Do you suppose I would have given it to you without the agreement
we entered into? Well, there will be some fun over this affair in Naples, and the lawyers will make money out of
it. But I am much grieved at this turn of affairs, and I am very sorry that I allowed myself to be so easily deceived
by your fine talk. In the mean time, here are your fifty ounces."
As I was taking the money out of my pocket, frightened to death lest he should accept it, he left the room,
saying that he would not have it. He soon returned; we had supper in the same room, but at separate tables; war
had been openly declared, but I felt certain that a treaty of peace would soon be signed. We did not exchange
one word during the evening, but in the morning he came to me as I was getting ready to go. I again offered to
return the money I received, but he told me to keep it, and proposed to give me fifty ounces more if I would give
him back his bill of exchange for two thousand. We began to argue the matter quietly, and after two hours of
discussion I gave in. I received fifty ounces more, we dined together like old friends, and embraced each other
cordially. As I was bidding him adieu, he gave me an order on his house at Naples for a barrel of muscatel wine,
and he presented me with a splendid box containing twelve razors with silver handles, manufactured in the Tour-
du-Grec. We parted the best friends in the world and well pleased with each other.
I remained two days in Salerno to provide myself with linen and other necessaries. Possessing about one
hundred sequins, and enjoying good health, I was very proud of my success, in which I could not see any cause
of reproach to myself, for the cunning I had brought into play to insure the sale of my secret could not be found
fault with except by the most intolerant of moralists, and such men have no authority to speak on matters of
business. At all events, free, rich, and certain of presenting myself before the bishop with a respectable
appearance, and not like a beggar, I soon recovered my natural spirits, and congratulated myself upon having
bought sufficient experience to insure me against falling a second time an easy prey to a Father Corsini, to
thieving gamblers, to mercenary women, and particularly to the impudent scoundrels who barefacedly praise so
well those they intend to dupea species of knaves very common in the world, even amongst people who form
what is called good society.
I left Salerno with two priests who were going to Cosenza on business, and we traversed the distance of one
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hundred and Iorty-two miles in twenty-two hours. The day aIter my arrival in the capital oI Calabria, I took a
small carriage and drove to Martorano. During the journey, Iixing my eyes upon the Iamous mare Ausonaum, I
Ielt delighted at Iinding myselI in the middle oI Magna Grecia, rendered so celebrated Ior twenty-Iour centuries
by its connection with Pythagoras. I looked with astonishment upon a country renowned Ior its Iertility, and in
which, in spite oI nature's prodigality, my eyes met everywhere the aspect oI terrible misery, the complete
absence oI that pleasant superIluity which helps man to enjoy liIe, and the degradation oI the inhabitants sparsely
scattered on a soil where they ought to be so numerous; I Ielt ashamed to acknowledge them as originating Irom
the same stock as myselI. Such is, however the Terra di Lavoro where labour seems to be execrated, where
everything is cheap, where the miserable inhabitants consider that they have made a good bargain when they
have Iound anyone disposed to take care oI the Iruit which the ground supplies almost spontaneously in too great
abundance, and Ior which there is no market. I Ielt compelled to admit the justice oI the Romans who had called
them Brutes instead oI Byutians. The good priests with whom I had been travelling laughed at my dread oI the
tarantula and oI the crasydra, Ior the disease brought on by the bite oI those insects appeared to me more IearIul
even than a certain disease with which I was already too well acquainted. They assured me that all the stories
relating to those creatures were Iables; they laughed at the lines which Virgil has devoted to them in the Georgics
as well as at all those I quoted to justiIy my Iears.
I Iound Bishop Bernard de Bernardis occupying a hard chair near an old table on which he was writing. I Iell
on my knees, as it is customary to do beIore a prelate, but, instead oI giving me his blessing, he raised me up
Irom the Iloor, and, Iolding me in his arms, embraced me tenderly. He expressed his deep sorrow when I told
him that in Naples I had not been able to Iind any instructions to enable me to join him, but his Iace lighted up
again when I added that I was indebted to no one Ior money, and that I was in good health. He bade me take a
seat, and with a heavy sigh he began to talk oI his poverty, and ordered a servant to lay the cloth Ior three
persons. Besides this servant, his lordship's suite consisted oI a most devout-looking housekeeper, and oI a
priest whom I judged to be very ignorant Irom the Iew words he uttered during our meal. The house inhabited by
his lordship was large, but badly built and poorly kept. The Iurniture was so miserable that, in order to make up a
bed Ior me in the room adjoining his chamber, the poor bishop had to give up one oI his two mattresses! His
dinner, not to say any more about it, Irightened me, Ior he was very strict in keeping the rules oI his order, and
this being a Iast day, he did not eat any meat, and the oil was very bad. Nevertheless, monsignor was an
intelligent man, and, what is still better, an honest man. He told me, much to my surprise, that his bishopric,
although not one oI little importance, brought him in only Iive hundred ducat-diregno yearly, and that,
unIortunately, he had contracted debts to the amount oI six hundred. He added, with a sigh, that his only
happiness was to Ieel himselI out oI the clutches oI the monks, who had persecuted him, and made his liIe a
perIect purgatory Ior IiIteen years. All these conIidences caused me sorrow and mortiIication, because they
proved to me, not only that I was not in the promised land where a mitre could be picked up, but also that I
would be a heavy charge Ior him. I Ielt that he was grieved himselI at the sorry present his patronage seemed
likely to prove.
I enquired whether he had a good library, whether there were any literary men, or any good society in which
one could spend a Iew agreeable hours. He smiled and answered that throughout his diocese there was not one
man who could boast oI writing decently, and still less oI any taste or knowledge in literature; that there was not a
single bookseller, nor any person caring even Ior the newspapers. But he promised me that we would Iollow our
literary tastes together, as soon as he received the books he had ordered Irom Naples.
That was all very well, but was this the place Ior a young man oI eighteen to live in, without a good library,
without good society, without emulation and literacy intercourse? The good bishop, seeing me Iull oI sad
thoughts, and almost astounded at the prospect oI the miserable liIe I should have to lead with him, tried to give
me courage by promising to do everything in his power to secure my happiness.
The next day, the bishop having to oIIiciate in his pontiIical robes, I had an opportunity oI seeing all the clergy,
and all the IaithIul oI the diocese, men and women, oI whom the cathedral was Iull; the sight made me resolve at
once to leave Martorano. I thought I was gazing upon a troop oI brutes Ior whom my external appearance was a
cause oI scandal. How ugly were the women! What a look oI stupidity and coarseness in the men! When I
returned to the bishop's house I told the prelate that I did not Ieel in me the vocation to die within a Iew months a
martyr in this miserable city.
"Give me your blessing," I added, "and let me go; or, rather, come with me. I promise you that we shall make
a Iortune somewhere else."
The proposal made him laugh repeatedly during the day. Had he agreed to it he would not have died two
years aIterwards in the prime oI manhood. The worthy man, Ieeling how natural was my repugnance, begged me
to Iorgive him Ior having summoned me to him, and, considering it his duty to send me back to Venice, having no
money himselI and not being aware that I had any, he told me that he would give me an introduction to a worthy
citizen oI Naples who would lend me sixty ducati-di-regno to enable me to reach my native city. I accepted his
oIIer with gratitude, and going to my room I took out oI my trunk the case oI Iine razors which the Greek had
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given me, and I begged his acceptance of it as a souvenir of me. I had great difficulty in forcing it upon him, for it
was worth the sixty ducats, and to conquer his resistance I had to threaten to remain with him if he refused my
present. He gave me a very flattering letter of recommendation for the Archbishop of Cosenza, in which he
requested him to forward me as far as Naples without any expense to myself. It was thus I left Martorano sixty
hours after my arrival, pitying the bishop whom I was leaving behind, and who wept as he was pouring heartfelt
blessings upon me.
The Archbishop of Cosenza, a man of wealth and of intelligence, offered me a room in his palace. During the
dinner I made, with an overflowing heart, the eulogy of the Bishop of Martorano; but I railed mercilessly at his
diocese and at the whole of Calabria in so cutting a manner that I greatly amused the archbishop and all his
guests, amongst whom were two ladies, his relatives, who did the honours of the dinner-table. The youngest,
however, objected to the satirical style in which I had depicted her country, and declared war against me; but I
contrived to obtain peace again by telling her that Calabria would be a delightful country if one-fourth only of its
inhabitants were like her. Perhaps it was with the idea of proving to me that I had been wrong in my opinion that
the archbishop gave on the following day a splendid supper.
Cosenza is a city in which a gentleman can find plenty of amusement; the nobility are wealthy, the women are
pretty, and men generally well-informed, because they have been educated in Naples or in Rome. I left Cosenza
on the third day with a letter from the archbishop for the far-famed Genovesi.
I had five travelling companions, whom I judged, from their appearance, to be either pirates or banditti, and I
took very good care not to let them see or guess that I had a well-filled purse. I likewise thought it prudent to go
to bed without undressing during the whole journeyan excellent measure of prudence for a young man
travelling in that part of the country.
I reached Naples on the 16th of September, 1743, and I lost no time in presenting the letter of the Bishop of
Martorano. It was addressed to a M. Gennaro Polo at St. Anne's. This excellent man, whose duty was only to
give me the sum of sixty ducats, insisted, after perusing the bishop's letter, upon receiving me in his house,
because he wished me to make the acquaintance of his son, who was a poet like myself. The bishop had
represented my poetry as sublime. After the usual ceremonies, I accepted his kind invitation, my trunk was sent
for, and I was a guest in the house of M. Gennaro Polo.
CHAPTER I
My Stay in Naples; It Is Short but HappyDon Antonio
CasanovaDon Lelio CaraffaI Go to Rome in Very Agreeable
Company, and Enter the Service of Cardinal Acquaviva
BarbaraTestaccioFrascati
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I had diffic i aeig he ai ei hich Dc Gea addeed e, b I a
ied, ad ee dieaed, a he ca ea f aghe ih hich he eceied ae. The ie
decii f ieabe Caabia, ad he ice f he ad iai f he Bih f Maa, aeaed
e e ie ca fh ea ha ecie hiai, ad, ecig ha e ificai a beig aed
e, I a e ea geig ag he, becig e ced, he d e ih feeig ha I
id ece hi; ha hi aghe a a dieae hich eeed be edeic i hi fai, f e f hi ce
died f i.
"Wha!" I ecaied, "died f aghig!"
"Ye. Thi dieae, hich a Hicae, i caed i fai."
"Wha d ea? De a hchdiac affeci, hich cae ade ad e i a he h
ffe f i, ede cheef?"
"Ye, becae, ie, fai, iead f ifecig he hchdi, affec ee, hich
hicia ae be he ga f aghe. I i ie a dice."
"Y ae iae; i i a e acie i, ad i i he fci hich i acibed he ee i
aia gaiai."
"We, e dic he ae a egh, f I he i eai ih a fe ee."
"I ih I cd, b I eae Nae - he da afe."
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"Have you got any money?"
"I rely upon the sixty ducats you have to give me."
At these words, his peals oI laughter began again, and as he could see that I was annoyed, he said, "I am
amused at the idea that I can keep you here as long as I like. But be good enough to see my son; he writes pretty
verses enough."
And truly his son, although only Iourteen, was already a great poet.
A servant took me to the apartment oI the young man whom I Iound possessed oI a pleasing countenance and
engaging manners. He gave me a polite welcome, and begged to be excused iI he could not attend to me
altogether Ior the present, as he had to Iinish a song which he was composing Ior a relative oI the Duchess de
Rovino, who was taking the veil at the Convent oI St. Claire, and the printer was waiting Ior the manuscript. I
told him that his excuse was a very good one, and I oIIered to assist him. He then read his song, and I Iound it so
Iull oI enthusiasm, and so truly in the style oI Guidi, that I advised him to call it an ode; but as I had praised all the
truly beautiIul passages, I thought I could venture to point out the weak ones, and I replaced them by verses oI
my own composition. He was delighted, and thanked me warmly, inquiring whether I was Apollo. As he was
writing his ode, I composed a sonnet on the same subject, and, expressing his admiration Ior it he begged me to
sign it, and to allow him to send it with his poetry.
While I was correcting and recopying my manuscript, he went to his Iather to Iind out who I was, which made
the old man laugh until supper-time. In the evening, I had the pleasure oI seeing that my bed had been prepared
in the young man's chamber.
Doctor Gennaro's Iamily was composed oI this son and oI a daughter unIortunately very plain, oI his wiIe and
oI two elderly, devout sisters. Amongst the guests at the supper-table I met several literary men, and the Marquis
Galiani, who was at that time annotating Vitruvius. He had a brother, an abbe whose acquaintance I made twenty
years aIter, in Paris, when he was secretary oI embassy to Count Cantillana. The next day, at supper, I was
presented to the celebrated Genovesi; I had already sent him the letter oI the Archbishop oI Cosenza. He spoke
to me oI Apostolo Zeno and oI the Abbe Conti. He remarked that it was considered a very venial sin Ior a
regular priest to say two masses in one day Ior the sake oI earning two carlini more, but that Ior the same sin a
secular priest would deserve to be burnt at the stake.
The nun took the veil on the Iollowing day, and Gennaro's ode and my sonnet had the greatest success. A
Neapolitan gentleman, whose name was the same as mine, expressed a wish to know me, and, hearing that I
resided at the doctor's, he called to congratulate him on the occasion oI his Ieast-day, which happened to Iall on
the day Iollowing the ceremony at Sainte-Claire.
Don Antonio Casanova, inIorming me oI his name, enquired whether my Iamily was originally Irom Venice.
"I am, sir," I answered modestly, "the great-grandson oI the unIortunate Marco Antonio Casanova, secretary
to Cardinal Pompeo Colonna, who died oI the plague in Rome, in the year 1528, under the pontiIicate oI
Clement VII." The words were scarcely out oI my lips when he embraced me, calling me his cousin, but we all
thought that Doctor Gennaro would actually die with laughter, Ior it seemed impossible to laugh so immoderately
without risk oI liIe. Madame Gennaro was very angry and told my newly-Iound cousin that he might have
avoided enacting such a scene beIore her husband, knowing his disease, but he answered that he never thought
the circumstance likely to provoke mirth. I said nothing, Ior, in reality, I Ielt that the recognition was very comic.
Our poor laugher having recovered his composure, Casanova, who had remained very serious, invited me to
dinner Ior the next day with my young Iriend Paul Gennaro, who had already become my alter ego.
When we called at his house, my worthy cousin showed me his Iamily tree, beginning with a Don Francisco,
brother oI Don Juan. In my pedigree, which I knew by heart, Don Juan, my direct ancestor, was a posthumous
child. It was possible that there might have been a brother oI Marco Antonio's; but when he heard that my
genealogy began with Don Francisco, Irom Aragon, who had lived in the Iourteenth century, and that
consequently all the pedigree oI the illustrious house oI the Casanovas oI Saragossa belonged to him, his joy
knew no bounds; he did not know what to do to convince me that the same blood was Ilowing in his veins and in
mine.
He expressed some curiosity to know what lucky accident had brought me to Naples; I told him that, having
embraced the ecclesiastical proIession, I was going to Rome to seek my Iortune. He then presented me to his
Iamily, and I thought that I could read on the countenance oI my cousin, his dearly beloved wiIe, that she was not
much pleased with the newly-Iound relationship, but his pretty daughter, and a still prettier niece oI his, might very
easily have given me Iaith in the doctrine that blood is thicker than water, however Iabulous it may be.
AIter dinner, Don Antonio inIormed me that the Duchess de Bovino had expressed a wish to know the Abbe
Casanova who had written the sonnet in honour oI her relative, and that he would be very happy to introduce me
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to her as his own cousin. As we were alone at that moment, I begged he would not insist on presenting me, as I
was only provided with travelling suits, and had to be careful of my purse so as not to arrive in Rome without
money. Delighted at my confidence, and approving my economy, he said, "I am rich, and you must not scruple to
come with me to my tailor;" and he accompanied his offer with an assurance that the circumstance would not be
known to anyone, and that he would feel deeply mortified if I denied him the pleasure of serving me. I shook him
warmly by the hand, and answered that I was ready to do anything he pleased. We went to a tailor who took my
measure, and who brought me on the following day everything necessary to the toilet of the most elegant abbe.
Don Antonio called on me, and remained to dine with Don Gennaro, after which he took me and my friend Paul
to the duchess. This lady, according to the Neapolitan fashion, called me thou in her very first compliment of
welcome. Her daughter, then only ten or twelve years old, was very handsome, and a few years later became
Duchess de Matalona. The duchess presented me with a snuff-box in pale tortoise-shell with arabesque
incrustations in gold, and she invited us to dine with her on the morrow, promising to take us after dinner to the
Convent of St. Claire to pay a visit to the new nun.
As we came out of the palace of the duchess, I left my friends and went alone to Panagiotti's to claim the
barrel of muscatel wine. The manager was kind enough to have the barrel divided into two smaller casks of equal
capacity, and I sent one to Don Antonio, and the other to Don Gennaro. As I was leaving the shop I met the
worthy Panagiotti, who was glad to see me. Was I to blush at the sight of the good man I had at first deceived?
No, for in his opinion I had acted very nobly towards him.
Don Gennaro, as I returned home, managed to thank me for my handsome present without laughing, and the
next day Don Antonio, to make up for the muscatel wine I had sent him, offered me a gold-headed cane, worth
at least fifteen ounces, and his tailor brought me a travelling suit and a blue great coat, with the buttonholes in gold
lace. I therefore found myself splendidly equipped.
At the Duchess de Bovino's dinner I made the acquaintance of the wisest and most learned man in Naples, the
illustrious Don Lelio Caraffa, who belonged to the ducal family of Matalona, and whom King Carlos honoured
with the title of friend.
I spent two delightful hours in the convent parlour, coping successfully with the curiosity of all the nuns who
were pressing against the grating. Had destiny allowed me to remain in Naples my fortune would have been
made; but, although I had no fixed plan, the voice of fate summoned me to Rome, and therefore I resisted all the
entreaties of my cousin Antonio to accept the honourable position of tutor in several houses of the highest order.
Don Antonio gave a splendid dinner in my honour, but he was annoyed and angry because he saw that his
wife looked daggers at her new cousin. I thought that, more than once, she cast a glance at my new costume, and
then whispered to the guest next to her. Very likely she knew what had taken place. There are some positions in
life to which I could never be reconciled. If, in the most brilliant circle, there is one person who affects to stare at
me I lose all presence of mind. Self-dignity feels outraged, my wit dies away, and I play the part of a dolt. It is a
weakness on my part, but a weakness I cannot overcome.
Don Lelio Caraffa offered me a very liberal salary if I would undertake the education of his nephew, the Duke
de Matalona, then ten years of age. I expressed my gratitude, and begged him to be my true benefactor in a
different mannernamely, by giving me a few good letters of introduction for Rome, a favour which he granted
at once. He gave me one for Cardinal Acquaviva, and another for Father Georgi.
I found out that the interest felt towards me by my friends had induced them to obtain for me the honour of
kissing the hand of Her Majesty the Queen, and I hastened my preparations to leave Naples, for the queen
would certainly have asked me some questions, and I could not have avoided telling her that I had just left
Martorano and the poor bishop whom she had sent there. The queen likewise knew my mother; she would very
likely have alluded to my mother's profession in Dresden; it would have mortified Don Antonio, and my pedigree
would have been covered with ridicule. I knew the force of prejudice! I should have been ruined, and I felt I
should do well to withdraw in good time. As I took leave of him, Don Antonio presented me with a fine gold
watch and gave me a letter for Don Gaspar Vidaldi, whom he called his best friend. Don Gennaro paid me the
sixty ducats, and his son, swearing eternal friendship, asked me to write to him. They all accompanied me to the
coach, blending their tears with mine, and loading me with good wishes and blessings.
From my landing in Chiozza up to my arrival in Naples, fortune had seemed bent upon frowning on me; in
Naples it began to shew itself less adverse, and on my return to that city it entirely smiled upon me. Naples has
always been a fortunate place for me, as the reader of my memoirs will discover. My readers must not forget that
in Portici I was on the point of disgracing myself, and there is no remedy against the degradation of the mind, for
nothing can restore it to its former standard. It is a case of disheartening atony for which there is no possible cure.
I was not ungrateful to the good Bishop of Martorano, for, if he had unwittingly injured me by summoning me
to his diocese, I felt that to his letter for M. Gennaro I was indebted for all the good fortune which had just
befallen me. I wrote to him from Rome.
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I was wholly engaged in drying my tears as we were driving through the beautiful street of Toledo, and it was
only after we had left Naples that I could find time to examine the countenance of my travelling companions.
Next to me, I saw a man of from forty to fifty, with a pleasing face and a lively air, but, opposite to me, two
charming faces delighted my eyes. They belonged to two ladies, young and pretty, very well dressed, with a look
of candour and modesty. This discovery was most agreeable, but I felt sad and I wanted calm and silence. We
reached Avessa without one word being exchanged, and as the vetturino stopped there only to water his mules,
we did not get out of the coach. From Avessa to Capua my companions conversed almost without interruption,
and, wonderful to relate! I did not open my lips once. I was amused by the Neapolitan jargon of the gentleman,
and by the pretty accent of the ladies, who were evidently Romans. It was a most wonderful feat for me to
remain five hours before two charming women without addressing one word to them, without paying them one
compliment.
At Capua, where we were to spend the night, we put up at an inn, and were shown into a room with two beds
a very usual thing in Italy. The Neapolitan, addressing himself to me, said,
"Am I to have the honour of sleeping with the reverend gentleman?"
I answered in a very serious tone that it was for him to choose or to arrange it otherwise, if he liked. The
answer made the two ladies smile, particularly the one whom I preferred, and it seemed to me a good omen.
We were five at supper, for it is usual for the vetturino to supply his travellers with their meals, unless some
private agreement is made otherwise, and to sit down at table with them. In the desultory talk which went on
during the supper, I found in my travelling companions decorum, propriety, wit, and the manners of persons
accustomed to good society. I became curious to know who they were, and going down with the driver after
supper, I asked him.
"The gentleman," he told me, "is an advocate, and one of the ladies is his wife, but I do not know which of the
two."
I went back to our room, and I was polite enough to go to bed first, in order to make it easier for the ladies to
undress themselves with freedom; I likewise got up first in the morning, left the room, and only returned when I
was called for breakfast. The coffee was delicious. I praised it highly, and the lady, the one who was my
favourite, promised that I should have the same every morning during our journey. The barber came in after
breakfast; the advocate was shaved, and the barber offered me his services, which I declined, but the rogue
declared that it was slovenly to wear one's beard.
When we had resumed our seats in the coach, the advocate made some remark upon the impudence of
barbers in general.
"But we ought to decide first," said the lady, "whether or not it is slovenly to go bearded."
"Of course it is," said the advocate. "Beard is nothing but a dirty excrescence."
"You may think so," I answered, "but everybody does not share your opinion. Do we consider as a dirty
excrescence the hair of which we take so much care, and which is of the same nature as the beard? Far from it;
we admire the length and the beauty of the hair."
"Then," remarked the lady, "the barber is a fool."
"But after all," I asked, "have I any beard?"
"I thought you had," she answered.
"In that case, I will begin to shave as soon as I reach Rome, for this is the first time that I have been convicted
of having a beard."
"My dear wife," exclaimed the advocate, "you should have held your tongue; perhaps the reverend abbe is
going to Rome with the intention of becoming a Capuchin friar."
The pleasantry made me laugh, but, unwilling that he should have the last word, I answered that he had
guessed rightly, that such had been my intention, but that I had entirely altered my mind since I had seen his wife.
"Oh! you are wrong," said the joyous Neapolitan, "for my wife is very fond of Capuchins, and if you wish to
please her, you had better follow your original vocation." Our conversation continued in the same tone of
pleasantry, and the day passed off in an agreeable manner; in the evening we had a very poor supper at Garillan,
but we made up for it by cheerfulness and witty conversation. My dawning inclination for the advocate's wife
borrowed strength from the affectionate manner she displayed towards me.
The next day she asked me, after we had resumed our journey, whether I intended to make a long stay in
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Rome beIore returning to Venice. I answered that, having no acquaintances in Rome, I was aIraid my liIe there
would be very dull.
"Strangers are liked in Rome," she said, "I Ieel certain that you will be pleased with your residence in that city."
"May I hope, madam, that you will allow me to pay you my respects?"
"We shall be honoured by your calling on us," said the advocate.
My eyes were Iixed upon his charming wiIe. She blushed, but I did not appear to notice it. I kept up the
conversation, and the day passed as pleasantly as the previous one. We stopped at Terracina, where they gave
us a room with three beds, two single beds and a large one between the two others. It was natural that the two
sisters should take the large bed; they did so, and undressed themselves while the advocate and I went on talking
at the table, with our backs turned to them. As soon as they had gone to rest, the advocate took the bed on
which he Iound his nightcap, and I the other, which was only about one Ioot distant Irom the large bed. I
remarked that the lady by whom I was captivated was on the side nearest my couch, and, without much vanity, I
could suppose that it was not owing only to chance.
I put the light out and laid down, revolving in my mind a project which I could not abandon, and yet durst not
execute. In vain did I court sleep. A very Iaint light enabled me to perceive the bed in which the pretty woman
was lying, and my eyes would, in spite oI myselI, remain open. It would be diIIicult to guess what I might have
done at last (I had already Iought a hard battle with myselI Ior more than an hour), when I saw her rise, get out oI
her bed, and go and lay herselI down near her husband, who, most likely, did not wake up, and continued to
sleep in peace, Ior I did not hear any noise.
Vexed, disgusted.... I tried to compose myselI to sleep, and I woke only at day-break. Seeing the beautiIul
wandering star in her own bed, I got up, dressed myselI in haste, and went out, leaving all my companions Iast
asleep. I returned to the inn only at the time Iixed Ior our departure, and I Iound the advocate and the two ladies
already in the coach, waiting Ior me.
The lady complained, in a very obliging manner, oI my not having cared Ior her coIIee; I pleaded as an excuse
a desire Ior an early walk, and I took care not to honour her even with a look; I Ieigned to be suIIering Irom the
toothache, and remained in my corner dull and silent. At Piperno she managed to whisper to me that my
toothache was all sham; I was pleased with the reproach, because it heralded an explanation which I craved Ior,
in spite oI my vexation.
During the aIternoon I continued my policy oI the morning. I was morose and silent until we reached
Serinonetta, where we were to pass the night. We arrived early, and the weather being Iine, the lady said that she
could enjoy a walk, and asked me politely to oIIer her my arm. I did so, Ior it would have been rude to reIuse;
besides I had had enough oI my sulking Iit. An explanation could alone bring matters back to their original
standing, but I did not know how to Iorce it upon the lady. Her husband Iollowed us at some distance with the
sister.
When we were Iar enough in advance, I ventured to ask her why she had supposed my toothache to have
been Ieigned.
"I am very candid," she said; "it is because the diIIerence in your manner was so marked, and because you
were so careIul to avoid looking at me through the whole day. A toothache would not have prevented you Irom
being polite, and thereIore I thought it had been Ieigned Ior some purpose. But I am certain that not one oI us can
possibly have given you any grounds Ior such a rapid change in your manner."
"Yet something must have caused the change, and you, madam, are only halI sincere."
"You are mistaken, sir, I am entirely sincere; and iI I have given you any motive Ior anger, I am, and must
remain, ignorant oI it. Be good enough to tell me what I have done."
"Nothing, Ior I have no right to complain."
"Yes, you have; you have a right, the same that I have myselI; the right which good society grants to every one
oI its members. Speak, and shew yourselI as sincere as I am."
"You are certainly bound not to know, or to pretend not to know the real cause, but you must acknowledge
that my duty is to remain silent."
"Very well; now it is all over; but iI your duty bids you to conceal the cause oI your bad humour, it also bids
you not to shew it. Delicacy sometimes enIorces upon a polite gentleman the necessity oI concealing certain
Ieelings which might implicate either himselI or others; it is a restraint Ior the mind, I conIess, but it has some
advantage when its eIIect is to render more amiable the man who Iorces himselI to accept that restraint." Her
close argument made me blush Ior shame, and carrying her beautiIul hand to my lips, I conIessed my selI in the
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wrong.
"You would see me at your feet," I exclaimed, "in token of my repentance, were I not afraid of injuring you-
"
"Do not let us allude to the matter any more," she answered.
And, pleased with my repentance, she gave me a look so expressive of forgiveness that, without being afraid
of augmenting my guilt, I took my lips off her hand and I raised them to her half-open, smiling mouth. Intoxicated
with rapture, I passed so rapidly from a state of sadness to one of overwhelming cheerfulness that during our
supper the advocate enjoyed a thousand jokes upon my toothache, so quickly cured by the simple remedy of a
walk. On the following day we dined at Velletri and slept in Marino, where, although the town was full of troops,
we had two small rooms and a good supper. I could not have been on better terms with my charming Roman;
for, although I had received but a rapid proof of her regard, it had been such a true onesuch a tender one! In
the coach our eyes could not say much; but I was opposite to her, and our feet spoke a very eloquent language.
The advocate had told me that he was going to Rome on some ecclesiastical business, and that he intended to
reside in the house of his mother-in-law, whom his wife had not seen since her marriage, two years ago, and her
sister hoped to remain in Rome, where she expected to marry a clerk at the Spirito Santo Bank. He gave me
their address, with a pressing invitation to call upon them, and I promised to devote all my spare time to them.
We were enjoying our dessert, when my beautiful lady-love, admiring my snuff-box, told her husband that she
wished she had one like it.
"I will buy you one, dear."
"Then buy mine," I said; "I will let you have it for twenty ounces, and you can give me a note of hand payable
to bearer in payment. I owe that amount to an Englishman, and I will give it him to redeem my debt."
"Your snuff-box, my dear abbe, is worth twenty ounces, but I cannot buy it unless you agree to receive
payment in cash; I should be delighted to see it in my wife's possession, and she would keep it as a remembrance
of you."
His wife, thinking that I would not accept his offer, said that she had no objection to give me the note of hand.
"But," exclaimed the advocate, "can you not guess the Englishman exists only in our friend's imagination? He
would never enter an appearance, and we would have the snuff-box for nothing. Do not trust the abbe, my dear,
he is a great cheat."
"I had no idea," answered his wife, looking at me, "that the world contained rogues of this species."
I affected a melancholy air, and said that I only wished myself rich enough to be often guilty of such cheating.
When a man is in love very little is enough to throw him into despair, and as little to enhance his joy to the
utmost. There was but one bed in the room where supper had been served, and another in a small closet leading
out of the room, but without a door. The ladies chose the closet, and the advocate retired to rest before me. I bid
the ladies good night as soon as they had gone to bed; I looked at my dear mistress, and after undressing myself
I went to bed, intending not to sleep through the night. But the reader may imagine my rage when I found, as I
got into the bed, that it creaked loud enough to wake the dead. I waited, however, quite motionless, until my
companion should be fast asleep, and as soon as his snoring told me that he was entirely under the influence of
Morpheus, I tried to slip out of the bed; but the infernal creaking which took place whenever I moved, woke my
companion, who felt about with his hand, and, finding me near him, went to sleep again. Half an hour after, I tried
a second time, but with the same result. I had to give it up in despair.
Love is the most cunning of gods; in the midst of obstacles he seems to be in his own element, but as his very
existence depends upon the enjoyment of those who ardently worship him, the shrewd, all-seeing, little blind god
contrives to bring success out of the most desperate case.
I had given up all hope for the night, and had nearly gone to sleep, when suddenly we hear a dreadful noise.
Guns are fired in the street, people, screaming and howling, are running up and down the stairs; at last there is a
loud knocking at our door. The advocate, frightened out of his slumbers, asks me what it can all mean; I pretend
to be very indifferent, and beg to be allowed to sleep. But the ladies are trembling with fear, and loudly calling for
a light. I remain very quiet, the advocate jumps out of bed, and runs out of the room to obtain a candle; I rise at
once, I follow him to shut the door, but I slam it rather too hard, the double spring of the lock gives way, and the
door cannot be reopened without the key.
I approach the ladies in order to calm their anxiety, telling them that the advocate would soon return with a
light, and that we should then know the cause of the tumult, but I am not losing my time, and am at work while I
am speaking. I meet with very little opposition, but, leaning rather too heavily upon my fair lady, I break through
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the bottom of the bedstead, and we suddenly find ourselves, the two ladies and myself, all together in a heap on
the floor. The advocate comes back and knocks at the door; the sister gets up, I obey the prayers of my
charming friend, and, feeling my way, reach the door, and tell the advocate that I cannot open it, and that he must
get the key. The two sisters are behind me. I extend my hand; but I am abruptly repulsed, and judge that I have
addressed myself to the wrong quarter; I go to the other side, and there I am better received. But the husband
returns, the noise of the key in the lock announces that the door is going to be opened, and we return to our
respective beds.
The advocate hurries to the bed of the two frightened ladies, thinking of relieving their anxiety, but, when he
sees them buried in their broken-down bedstead, he bursts into a loud laugh. He tells me to come and have a
look at them, but I am very modest, and decline the invitation. He then tells us that the alarm has been caused by
a German detachment attacking suddenly the Spanish troops in the city, and that the Spaniards are running away.
In a quarter of an hour the noise has ceased, and quiet is entirely re-established.
The advocate complimented me upon my coolness, got into bed again, and was soon asleep. As for me, I was
careful not to close my eyes, and as soon as I saw daylight I got up in order to perform certain ablutions and to
change my shirt; it was an absolute necessity.
I returned for breakfast, and while we were drinking the delicious coffee which Donna Lucrezia had made, as
I thought, better than ever, I remarked that her sister frowned on me. But how little I cared for her anger when I
saw the cheerful, happy countenance, and the approving looks of my adored Lucrezia! I felt a delightful sensation
run through the whole of my body.
We reached Rome very early. We had taken breakfast at the Tour, and the advocate being in a very gay
mood I assumed the same tone, loading him with compliments, and predicting that a son would be born to him, I
compelled his wife to promise it should be so. I did not forget the sister of my charming Lucrezia, and to make
her change her hostile attitude towards me I addressed to her so many pretty compliments, and behaved in such
a friendly manner, that she was compelled to forgive the fall of the bed. As I took leave of them, I promised to
give them a call on the following day.
I was in Rome! with a good wardrobe, pretty well supplied with money and jewellery, not wanting in
experience, and with excellent letters of introduction. I was free, my own master, and just reaching the age in
which a man can have faith in his own fortune, provided he is not deficient in courage, and is blessed with a face
likely to attract the sympathy of those he mixes with. I was not handsome, but I had something better than beauty
a striking expression which almost compelled a kind interest in my favour, and I felt myself ready for anything.
I knew that Rome is the one city in which a man can begin from the lowest rung, and reach the very top of the
social ladder. This knowledge increased my courage, and I must confess that a most inveterate feeling of self-
esteem which, on account of my inexperience, I could not distrust, enhanced wonderfully my confidence in
myself.
The man who intends to make his fortune in this ancient capital of the world must be a chameleon susceptible
of reflecting all the colours of the atmosphere that surrounds hima Proteus apt to assume every form, every
shape. He must be supple, flexible, insinuating; close, inscrutable, often base, sometimes sincere, some times
perfidious, always concealing a part of his knowledge, indulging in one tone of voice, patient, a perfect master of
his own countenance as cold as ice when any other man would be all fire; and if unfortunately he is not religious
at hearta very common occurrence for a soul possessing the above requisiteshe must have religion in his
mind, that is to say, on his face, on his lips, in his manners; he must suffer quietly, if he be an honest man the
necessity of knowing himself an arrant hypocrite. The man whose soul would loathe such a life should leave
Rome and seek his fortune elsewhere. I do not know whether I am praising or excusing myself, but of all those
qualities I possessed but onenamely, flexibility; for the rest, I was only an interesting, heedless young fellow, a
pretty good blood horse, but not broken, or rather badly broken; and that is much worse.
I began by delivering the letter I had received from Don Lelio for Father Georgi. The learned monk enjoyed
the esteem of everyone in Rome, and the Pope himself had a great consideration for him, because he disliked the
Jesuits, and did not put a mask on to tear the mask from their faces, although they deemed themselves powerful
enough to despise him.
He read the letter with great attention, and expressed himself disposed to be my adviser; and that
consequently I might make him responsible for any evil which might befall me, as misfortune is not to be feared
by a man who acts rightly. He asked me what I intended to do in Rome, and I answered that I wished him to tell
me what to do.
"Perhaps I may; but in that case you must come and see me often, and never conceal from me anything, you
understand, not anything, of what interests you, or of what happens to you."
"Don Lelio has likewise given me a letter for the Cardinal Acquaviva."
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"I congratulate you; the cardinal's inIluence in Rome is greater even than that oI the Pope."
"Must I deliver the letter at once?"
"No; I will see him this evening, and prepare him Ior your visit. Call on me to-morrow morning, and I will then
tell you where and when you are to deliver your letter to the cardinal. Have you any money?"
"Enough Ior all my wants during one year."
"That is well. Have you any acquaintances?"
"Not one."
"Do not make any without Iirst consulting me, and, above all, avoid coIIee-houses and ordinaries, but iI you
should happen to Irequent such places, listen and never speak. Be careIul to Iorm your judgment upon those who
ask any questions Irom you, and iI common civility obliges you to give an answer, give only an evasive one, iI any
other is likely to commit you. Do you speak French?"
"Not one word."
"I am sorry Ior that; you must learn French. Have you been a student?"
"A poor one, but I have a suIIicient smattering to converse with ordinary company."
"That is enough; but be very prudent, Ior Rome is the city in which smatterers unmask each other, and are
always at war amongst themselves. I hope you will take your letter to the cardinal, dressed like a modest abbe,
and not in this elegant costume which is not likely to conjure Iortune. Adieu, let me see you to-morrow."
Highly pleased with the welcome I had received at his hands, and with all he had said to me, I leIt his house
and proceeded towards Campo-di-Fiore to deliver the letter oI my cousin Antonio to Don Gaspar Vivaldi, who
received me in his library, where I met two respectable-looking priests. He gave me the most Iriendly welcome,
asked Ior my address, and invited me to dinner Ior the next day. He praised Father Georgi most highly, and,
accompanying me as Iar as the stairs, he told me that he would give me on the morrow the amount his Iriend Don
Antonio requested him to hand me.
More money which my generous cousin was bestowing on me! It is easy enough to give away when one
possesses suIIicient means to do it, but it is not every man who knows how to give. I Iound the proceeding oI
Don Antonio more delicate even than generous; I could not reIuse his present; it was my duty to prove my
gratitude by accepting it.
Just aIter I had leIt M. Vivaldi's house I Iound myselI Iace to Iace with Stephano, and this extraordinary
original loaded me with Iriendly caresses. I inwardly despised him, yet I could not Ieel hatred Ior him; I looked
upon him as the instrument which Providence had been pleased to employ in order to save me Irom ruin. AIter
telling me that he had obtained Irom the Pope all he wished, he advised me to avoid meeting the Iatal constable
who had advanced me two sequins in Seraval, because he had Iound out that I had deceived him, and had sworn
revenge against me. I asked Stephano to induce the man to leave my acknowledgement oI the debt in the hands
oI a certain merchant whom we both knew, and that I would call there to discharge the amount. This was done,
and it ended the aIIair.
That evening I dined at the ordinary, which was Irequented by Romans and Ioreigners; but I careIully Iollowed
the advice oI Father Georgi. I heard a great deal oI harsh language used against the Pope and against the
Cardinal Minister, who had caused the Papal States to be inundated by eighty thousand men, Germans as well as
Spaniards. But I was much surprised when I saw that everybody was eating meat, although it was Saturday. But
a stranger during the Iirst Iew days aIter his arrival in Rome is surrounded with many things which at Iirst cause
surprise, and to which he soon gets accustomed. There is not a Catholic city in the world in which a man is halI
so Iree on religious matters as in Rome. The inhabitants oI Rome are like the men employed at the Government
tobacco works, who are allowed to take gratis as much tobacco as they want Ior their own use. One can live in
Rome with the most complete Ireedom, except that the 'ordini santissimi' are as much to be dreaded as the
Iamous Lettres-de-cachet beIore the Revolution came and destroyed them, and shewed the whole world the
general character oI the French nation.
The next day, the 1st oI October, 1743, I made up my mind to be shaved. The down on my chin had become
a beard, and I judged that it was time to renounce some oI the privileges enjoyed by adolescence. I dressed
myselI completely in the Roman Iashion, and Father Georgi was highly pleased when he saw me in that costume,
which had been made by the tailor oI my dear cousin, Don Antonio.
Father Georgi invited me to take a cup oI chocolate with him, and inIormed me that the cardinal had been
apprised oI my arrival by a letter Irom Don Lelio, and that his eminence would receive me at noon at the Villa
Negroni, where he would be taking a walk. I told Father Georgi that I had been invited to dinner by M. Vivaldi,
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and he advised me to cultivate his acquaintance.
I proceeded to the Villa Negroni; the moment he saw me the cardinal stopped to receive my letter, allowing
two persons who accompanied him to walk Iorward. He put the letter in his pocket without reading it, examined
me Ior one or two minutes, and enquired whether I Ielt any taste Ior politics. I answered that, until now, I had not
Ielt in me any but Irivolous tastes, but that I would make bold to answer Ior my readiness to execute all the
orders which his eminence might be pleased to lay upon me, iI he should judge me worthy oI entering his service.
"Come to my oIIice to-morrow morning," said the cardinal, "and ask Ior the Abbe Gama, to whom I will give
my instructions. You must apply yourselI diligently to the study oI the French language; it is indispensable." He
then enquired aIter Don Leilo's health, and aIter kissing his hand I took my leave.
I hastened to the house oI M. Gaspar Vivaldi, where I dined amongst a well-chosen party oI guests. M.
Vivaldi was not married; literature was his only passion. He loved Latin poetry even better than Italian, and
Horace, whom I knew by heart, was his Iavourite poet. AIter dinner, we repaired to his study, and he handed me
one hundred Roman crowns, and Don Antonio's present, and assured me that I would be most welcome
whenever I would call to take a cup oI chocolate with him.
AIter I had taken leave oI Don Gaspar, I proceeded towards the Minerva, Ior I longed to enjoy the surprise
oI my dear Lucrezia and oI her sister; I inquired Ior Donna Cecilia Monti, their mother, and I saw, to my great
astonishment, a young widow who looked like the sister oI her two charming daughters. There was no need Ior
me to give her my name; I had been announced, and she expected me. Her daughters soon came in, and their
greeting caused me some amusement, Ior I did not appear to them to be the same individual. Donna Lucrezia
presented me to her youngest sister, only eleven years oI age, and to her brother, an abbe oI IiIteen, oI charming
appearance. I took care to behave so as to please the mother; I was modest, respectIul, and shewed a deep
interest in everything I saw. The good advocate arrived, and was surprised at the change in my appearance. He
launched out in his usual jokes, and I Iollowed him on that ground, yet I was careIul not to give to my
conversation the tone oI levity which used to cause so much mirth in our travelling coach; so that, to, pay me a
compliment, he told nee that, iI I had had the sign oI manhood shaved Irom my Iace, I had certainly transIerred it
to my mind. Donna Lucrezia did not know what to think oI the change in my manners.
Towards evening I saw, coming in rapid succession, Iive or six ordinary-looking ladies, and as many abbes,
who appeared to me some oI the volumes with which I was to begin my Roman education. They all listened
attentively to the most insigniIicant word I uttered, and I was very careIul to let them enjoy their conjectures
about me. Donna Cecilia told the advocate that he was but a poor painter, and that his portraits were not like the
originals; he answered that she could not judge, because the original was shewing under a mask, and I pretended
to be mortiIied by his answer. Donna Lucrezia said that she Iound me exactly the same, and her sister was oI
opinion that the air oI Rome gave strangers a peculiar appearance. Everybody applauded, and Angelique turned
red with satisIaction. AIter a visit oI Iour hours I bowed myselI out, and the advocate, Iollowing me, told me that
his mother-in-law begged me to consider myselI as a Iriend oI the Iamily, and to be certain oI a welcome at any
hour I liked to call. I thanked him grateIully and took my leave, trusting that I had pleased this amiable society as
much as it had pleased me.
The next day I presented myselI to the Abbe Gama. He was a Portuguese, about Iorty years old, handsome,
and with a countenance Iull oI candour, wit, and good temper. His aIIability claimed and obtained conIidence.
His manners and accent were quite Roman. He inIormed me, in the blandest manner, that his eminence had
himselI given his instructions about me to his majordomo, that I would have a lodging in the cardinal's palace, that
I would have my meals at the secretaries' table, and that, until I learned French, I would have nothing to do but
make extracts Irom letters that he would supply me with. He then gave me the address oI the French teacher to
whom he had already spoken in my behalI. He was a Roman advocate, Dalacqua by name, residing precisely
opposite the palace.
AIter this short explanation, and an assurance that I could at all times rely upon his Iriendship, he had me taken
to the major-domo, who made me sign my name at the bottom oI a page in a large book, already Iilled with other
names, and counted out sixty Roman crowns which he paid me Ior three months salary in advance. AIter this he
accompanied me, Iollowed by a 'staIIiere' to my apartment on the third Iloor, which I Iound very comIortably
Iurnished. The servant handed me the key, saying that he would come every morning to attend upon me, and the
major-domo accompanied me to the gate to make me known to the gate-keeper. I immediately repaired to my
inn, sent my luggage to the palace, and Iound myselI established in a place in which a great Iortune awaited me, iI
I had only been able to lead a wise and prudent liIe, but unIortunately it was not in my nature. 'Volentem ducit,
nolentem trahit.'
I naturally Ielt it my duty to call upon my mentor, Father Georgi, to whom I gave all my good news. He said I
was on the right road, and that my Iortune was in my hands.
"Recollect," added the good Iather, "that to lead a blameless liIe you must curb your passions, and that
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whatever misIortune may beIall you it cannot be ascribed by any one to a want oI good luck, or attributed to
Iate; those words are devoid oI sense, and all the Iault will rightly Iall on your own head."
"I Ioresee, reverend Iather, that my youth and my want oI experience will oIten make it necessary Ior me to
disturb you. I am aIraid oI proving myselI too heavy a charge Ior you, but you will Iind me docile and obedient."
"I suppose you will oIten think me rather too severe; but you are not likely to conIide everything to me."
"Everything, without any exception."
"Allow me to Ieel somewhat doubtIul; you have not told me where you spent Iour hours yesterday."
"Because I did not think it was worth mentioning. I made the acquaintance oI those persons during my
journey; I believe them to be worthy and respectable, and the right sort oI people Ior me to visit, unless you
should be oI a diIIerent opinion."
"God Iorbid! It is a very respectable house, Irequented by honest people. They are delighted at having made
your acquaintance; you are much liked by everybody, and they hope to retain you as a Iriend; I have heard all
about it this morning; but you must not go there too oIten and as a regular guest."
"Must I cease my visits at once, and without cause?"
"No, it would be a want oI politeness on your part. You may go there once or twice every week, but do not
be a constant visitor. You are sighing, my son?"
"No, I assure you not. I will obey you."
"I hope it may not be only a matter oI obedience, and I trust your heart will not Ieel it a hardship, but, iI
necessary, your heart must be conquered. Recollect that the heart is the greatest enemy oI reason."
"Yet they can be made to agree."
"We oIten imagine so; but distrust the animism oI your dear Horace. You know that there is no middle course
with it: 'nisi paret, imperat'."
"I know it, but in the Iamily oI which we were speaking there is no danger Ior my heart."
"I am glad oI it, because in that case it will be all the easier Ior you to abstain Irom Irequent visits. Remember
that I shall trust you."
"And I, reverend Iather; will listen to and Iollow your good advice. I will visit Donna Cecilia only now and
then." Feeling most unhappy, I took his hand to press it against my lips, but he Iolded me in his arms as a Iather
might have done, and turned himselI round so as not to let me see that he was weeping.
I dined at the cardinal's palace and sat near the Abbe Gama; the table was laid Ior twelve persons, who all
wore the costume oI priests, Ior in Rome everyone is a priest or wishes to be thought a priest and as there is no
law to Iorbid anyone to dress like an ecclesiastic that dress is adopted by all those who wish to be respected
(noblemen excepted) even iI they are not in the ecclesiastical proIession.
I Ielt very miserable, and did not utter a word during the dinner; my silence was construed into a prooI oI my
sagacity. As we rose Irom the table, the Abbe Gama invited me to spend the day with him, but I declined under
pretence oI letters to be written, and I truly did so Ior seven hours. I wrote to Don Lelio, to Don Antonio, to my
young Iriend Paul, and to the worthy Bishop oI Martorano, who answered that he heartily wished himselI in my
place.
Deeply enamoured oI Lucrezia and happy in my love, to give her up appeared to me a shameIul action. In
order to insure the happiness oI my Iuture liIe, I was beginning to be the executioner oI my present Ielicity, and
the tormentor oI my heart. I revolted against such a necessity which I judged Iictitious, and which I could not
admit unless I stood guilty oI vileness beIore the tribunal oI my own reason. I thought that Father Georgi, iI he
wished to Iorbid my visiting that Iamily, ought not to have said that it was worthy oI respect; my sorrow would
not have been so intense. The day and the whole oI the night were spent in painIul thoughts.
In the morning the Abbe Gama brought me a great book Iilled with ministerial letters Irom which I was to
compile Ior my amusement. AIter a short time devoted to that occupation, I went out to take my Iirst French
lesson, aIter which I walked towards the Strada-Condotta. I intended to take a long walk, when I heard myselI
called by my name. I saw the Abbe Gama in Iront oI a coIIee-house. I whispered to him that Minerva had
Iorbidden me the coIIee-rooms oI Rome. "Minerva," he answered, "desires you to Iorm some idea oI such
places. Sit down by me."
I heard a young abbe telling aloud, but without bitterness, a story, which attacked in a most direct manner the
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justice of His Holiness. Everybody was laughing and echoing the story. Another, being asked why he had left the
services of Cardinal B., answered that it was because his eminence did not think himself called upon to pay him
apart for certain private services, and everybody laughed outright. Another came to the Abbe Gama, and told
him that, if he felt any inclination to spend the afternoon at the Villa Medicis, he would find him there with two
young Roman girls who were satisfied with a 'quartino', a gold coin worth one-fourth of a sequin. Another abbe
read an incendiary sonnet against the government, and several took a copy of it. Another read a satire of his own
composition, in which he tore to pieces the honour of a family. In the middle of all that confusion, I saw a priest
with a very attractive countenance come in. The size of his hips made me take him for a woman dressed in men's
clothes, and I said so to Gama, who told me that he was the celebrated castrato, Bepino delta Mamana. The
abbe called him to us, and told him with a laugh that I had taken him for a girl. The impudent fellow looked me
full in the face, and said that, if I liked, he would shew me whether I had been right or wrong.
At the dinner-table everyone spoke to me, and I fancied I had given proper answers to all, but, when the
repast was over, the Abbe Gama invited me to take coffee in his own apartment. The moment we were alone, he
told me that all the guests I had met were worthy and honest men, and he asked me whether I believed that I had
succeeded in pleasing the company.
"I flatter myself I have," I answered.
"You are wrong," said the abbe, "you are flattering yourself. You have so conspicuously avoided the questions
put to you that everybody in the room noticed your extreme reserve. In the future no one will ask you any
questions."
"I should be sorry if it should turn out so, but was I to expose my own concerns?"
"No, but there is a medium in all things."
"Yes, the medium of Horace, but it is often a matter of great difficulty to hit it exactly."
"A man ought to know how to obtain affection and esteem at the same time."
"That is the very wish nearest to my heart."
"To-day you have tried for the esteem much more than for the affection of your fellow-creatures. It may be a
noble aspiration, but you must prepare yourself to fight jealousy and her daughter, calumny; if those two monsters
do not succeed in destroying you, the victory must be yours. Now, for instance, you thoroughly refuted Salicetti
to-day. Well, he is a physician, and what is more a Corsican; he must feel badly towards you."
"Could I grant that the longings of women during their pregnancy have no influence whatever on the skin of the
foetus, when I know the reverse to be the case? Are you not of my opinion?"
"I am for neither party; I have seen many children with some such marks, but I have no means of knowing with
certainty whether those marks have their origin in some longing experienced by the mother while she was
pregnant."
"But I can swear it is so."
"All the better for you if your conviction is based upon such evidence, and all the worse for Salicetti if he
denies the possibility of the thing without certain authority. But let him remain in error; it is better thus than to
prove him in the wrong and to make a bitter enemy of him."
In the evening I called upon Lucrezia. The family knew my success, and warmly congratulated me. Lucrezia
told me that I looked sad, and I answered that I was assisting at the funeral of my liberty, for I was no longer my
own master. Her husband, always fond of a joke, told her that I was in love with her, and his mother-in-law
advised him not to show so much intrepidity. I only remained an hour with those charming persons, and then took
leave of them, but the very air around me was heated by the flame within my breast. When I reached my room I
began to write, and spent the night in composing an ode which I sent the next day to the advocate. I was certain
that he would shew it to his wife, who loved poetry, and who did not yet know that I was a poet. I abstained
from seeing her again for three or four days. I was learning French, and making extracts from ministerial letters.
His eminence was in the habit of receiving every evening, and his rooms were thronged with the highest nobility
of Rome; I had never attended these receptions. The Abbe Gama told me that I ought to do so as well as he did,
without any pretension. I followed his advice and went; nobody spoke to me, but as I was unknown everyone
looked at me and enquired who I was. The Abbe Gama asked me which was the lady who appeared to me the
most amiable, and I shewed one to him; but I regretted having done so, for the courtier went to her, and of
course informed her of what I had said. Soon afterwards I saw her look at me through her eye-glass and smile
kindly upon me. She was the Marchioness G, whose 'cicisbeo' was Cardinal S C.
On the very day I had fixed to spend the evening with Donna Lucrezia the worthy advocate called upon me.
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He told me that if I thought I was going to prove I was not in love with his wife by staying away I was very much
mistaken, and he invited me to accompany all the family to Testaccio, where they intended to have luncheon on
the following Thursday. He added that his wife knew my ode by heart, and that she had read it to the intended
husband of Angelique, who had a great wish to make my acquaintance. That gentleman was likewise a poet, and
would be one of the party to Testaccio. I promised the advocate I would come to his house on the Thursday
with a carriage for two.
At that time every Thursday in the month of October was a festival day in Rome. I went to see Donna Cecilia
in the evening, and we talked about the excursion the whole time. I felt certain that Donna Lucrezia looked
forward to it with as much pleasure as I did myself. We had no fixed plan, we could not have any, but we trusted
to the god of love, and tacitly placed our confidence in his protection.
I took care that Father Georgi should not hear of that excursion before I mentioned it to him myself, and I
hastened to him in order to obtain his permission to go. I confess that, to obtain his leave, I professed the most
complete indifference about it, and the consequence was that the good man insisted upon my going, saying that it
was a family party, and that it was quite right for me to visit the environs of Rome and to enjoy myself in a
respectable way.
I went to Donna Cecilia's in a carriage which I hired from a certain Roland, a native of Avignon, and if I insist
here upon his name it is because my readers will meet him again in eighteen years, his acquaintance with me
having had very important results. The charming widow introduced me to Don Francisco, her intended son-in-
law, whom she represented as a great friend of literary men, and very deeply learned himself. I accepted it as
gospel, and behaved accordingly; yet I thought he looked rather heavy and not sufficiently elated for a young man
on the point of marrying such a pretty girl as Angelique. But he had plenty of good-nature and plenty of money,
and these are better than learning and gallantry.
As we were ready to get into the carriages, the advocate told me that he would ride with me in my carriage,
and that the three ladies would go with Don Francisco in the other. I answered at once that he ought to keep
Don Francisco company, and that I claimed the privilege of taking care of Donna Cecilia, adding that I should
feel dishonoured if things were arranged differently. Thereupon I offered my arm to the handsome widow, who
thought the arrangement according to the rules of etiquette and good breeding, and an approving look of my
Lucrezia gave me the most agreeable sensation. Yet the proposal of the advocate struck me somewhat
unpleasantly, because it was in contradiction with his former behaviour, and especially with what he had said to
me in my room a few days before. "Has he become jealous?" I said to myself; that would have made me almost
angry, but the hope of bringing him round during our stay at Testaccio cleared away the dark cloud on my mind,
and I was very amiable to Donna Cecilia. What with lunching and walking we contrived to pass the afternoon
very pleasantly; I was very gay, and my love for Lucrezia was not once mentioned; I was all attention to her
mother. I occasionally addressed myself to Lucrezia, but not once to the advocate, feeling this the best way to
shew him that he had insulted me.
As we prepared to return, the advocate carried off Donna Cecilia and went with her to the carriage in which
were already seated Angelique and Don Francisco. Scarcely able to control my delight, I offered my arm to
Donna Lucrezia, paying her some absurd compliment, while the advocate laughed outright, and seemed to enjoy
the trick he imagined he had played me.
How many things we might have said to each other before giving ourselves up to the material enjoyment of our
love, had not the instants been so precious! But, aware that we had only half an hour before us, we were sparing
of the minutes. We were absorbed in voluptuous pleasure when suddenly Lucrezia exclaims,-
"Oh! dear, how unhappy we are!"
She pushes me back, composes herself, the carriage stops, and the servant opens the door. "What is the
matter?" I enquire. "We are at home." Whenever I recollect the circumstance, it seems to me fabulous, for it is
not possible to annihilate time, and the horses were regular old screws. But we were lucky all through. The night
was dark, and my beloved angel happened to be on the right side to get out of the carriage first, so that, although
the advocate was at the door of the brougham as soon as the footman, everything went right, owing to the slow
manner in which Lucrezia alighted. I remained at Donna Cecilia's until midnight.
When I got home again, I went to bed; but how could I sleep? I felt burning in me the flame which I had not
been able to restore to its original source in the too short distance from Testaccio to Rome. It was consuming
me. Oh! unhappy are those who believe that the pleasures of Cythera are worth having, unless they are enjoyed
in the most perfect accord by two hearts overflowing with love!
I only rose in time for my French lesson. My teacher had a pretty daughter, named Barbara, who was always
present during my lessons, and who sometimes taught me herself with even more exactitude than her father. A
good-looking young man, who likewise took lessons, was courting her, and I soon perceived that she loved him.
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This young man called oIten upon me, and I liked him, especially on account oI his reserve, Ior, although I made
him conIess his love Ior Barbara, he always changed the subject, iI I mentioned it in our conversation.
I had made up my mind to respect his reserve, and had not alluded to his aIIection Ior several days. But all at
once I remarked that he had ceased his visits both to me and to his teacher, and at the same time I observed that
the young girl was no longer present at my lessons; I Ielt some curiosity to know what had happened, although it
was not, aIter all, any concern oI mine.
A Iew days aIter, as I was returning Irom church, I met the young man, and reproached him Ior keeping away
Irom us all. He told me that great sorrow had beIallen him, which had Iairly turned his brain, and that he was a
prey to the most intense despair. His eyes were wet with tears. As I was leaving him, he held me back, and I told
him that I would no longer be his Iriend unless he opened his heart to me. He took me to one oI the cloisters, and
he spoke thus:
"I have loved Barbara Ior the last six months, and Ior three months she has given me indisputable prooIs oI her
aIIection. Five days ago, we were betrayed by the servant, and the Iather caught us in a rather delicate position.
He leIt the room without saying one word, and I Iollowed him, thinking oI throwing myselI at his Ieet; but, as I
appeared beIore him, he took hold oI me by the arm, pushed me roughly to the door, and Iorbade me ever to
present myselI again at his house. I cannot claim her hand in marriage, because one oI my brothers is married,
and my Iather is not rich; I have no proIession, and my mistress has nothing. Alas, now that I have conIessed all
to you, tell me, I entreat you, how she is. I am certain that she is as miserable as I am myselI. I cannot manage to
get a letter delivered to her, Ior she does not leave the house, even to attend church. Unhappy wretch! What
shall I do?"
I could but pity him, Ior, as a man oI honour, it was impossible Ior me to interIere in such a business. I told him
that I had not seen Barbara Ior Iive days, and, not knowing what to say, I gave him the advice which is tendered
by all Iools under similar circumstances; I advised him to Iorget his mistress.
We had then reached the quay oI Ripetta, and, observing that he was casting dark looks towards the Tiber, I
Ieared his despair might lead him to commit some Ioolish attempt against his own liIe, and, in order to calm his
excited Ieelings, I promised to make some enquiries Irom the Iather about his mistress, and to inIorm him oI all I
heard. He Ielt quieted by my promise, and entreated me not to Iorget him.
In spite oI the Iire which had been raging through my veins ever since the excursion to Testaccio, I had not
seen my Lucrezia Ior Iour days. I dreaded Father Georgi's suave manner, and I was still more aIraid oI Iinding he
had made up his mind to give me no more advice. But, unable to resist my desires, I called upon Lucrezia aIter
my French lesson, and Iound her alone, sad and dispirited.
"Ah!" she exclaimed, as soon as I was by her side, "I think you might Iind time to come and see me!"
"My beloved one, it is not that I cannot Iind time, but I am so jealous oI my love that I would rather die than let
it be known publicly. I have been thinking oI inviting you all to dine with me at Frascati. I will send you a phaeton,
and I trust that some lucky accident will smile upon our love."
"Oh! yes, do, dearest! I am sure your invitation will be accepted:"
In a quarter oI an hour the rest oI the Iamily came in, and I proIIered my invitation Ior the Iollowing Sunday,
which happened to be the Festival oI St. Ursula, patroness oI Lucrezia's youngest sister. I begged Donna Cecilia
to bring her as well as her son. My proposal being readily accepted, I gave notice that the phaeton would be at
Donna Cecilia's door at seven o'clock, and that I would come myselI with a carriage Ior two persons.
The next day I went to M. Dalacqua, and, aIter my lesson, I saw Barbara who, passing Irom one room to
another, dropped a paper and earnestly looked at me. I Ielt bound to pick it up, because a servant, who was at
hand, might have seen it and taken it. It was a letter, enclosing another addressed to her lover. The note Ior me
ran thus: "II you think it to be a sin to deliver the enclosed to your Iriend, burn it. Have pity on an unIortunate girl,
and be discreet."
The enclosed letter which was unsealed, ran as Iollows: "II you love me as deeply as 'I love you, you cannot
hope to be happy without me; we cannot correspond in any other way than the one I am bold enough to adopt. I
am ready to do anything to unite our lives until death. Consider and decide."
The cruel situation oI the poor girl moved me almost to tears; yet I determined to return her letter the next day,
and I enclosed it in a note in which I begged her to excuse me iI I could not render her the service she required at
my hands. I put it in my pocket ready Ior delivery. The next day I went Ior my lesson as usual, but, not seeing
Barbara, I had no opportunity oI returning her letter, and postponed its delivery to the Iollowing day.
UnIortunately, just aIter I had returned to my room, the unhappy lover made his appearance. His eyes were red
Irom weeping, his voice hoarse; he drew such a vivid picture oI his misery, that, dreading some mad action
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counselled by despair, I could not withhold from him the consolation which I knew it was in my power to give.
This was my first error in this fatal business; I was the victim of my own kindness.
The poor fellow read the letter over and over; he kissed it with transports of joy; he wept, hugged me, and
thanked me for saving his life, and finally entreated me to take charge of his answer, as his beloved mistress must
be longing for consolation as much as he had been himself, assuring me that his letter could not in any way
implicate me, and that I was at liberty to read it.
And truly, although very long, his letter contained nothing but the assurance of everlasting love, and hopes
which could not be realized. Yet I was wrong to accept the character of Mercury to the two young lovers. To
refuse, I had only to recollect that Father Georgi would certainly have disapproved of my easy compliance.
The next day I found M. Dalacqua ill in bed; his daughter gave me my lesson in his room, and I thought that
perhaps she had obtained her pardon. I contrived to give her her lover's letter, which she dextrously conveyed to
her pocket, but her blushes would have easily betrayed her if her father had been looking that way. After the
lesson I gave M. Dalacqua notice that I would not come on the morrow, as it was the Festival of St. Ursula, one
of the eleven thousand princesses and martyr-virgins.
In the evening, at the reception of his eminence, which I attended regularly, although persons of distinction
seldom spoke to me, the cardinal beckoned to me. He was speaking to the beautiful Marchioness G, to
whom Gama had indiscreetly confided that I thought her the handsomest woman amongst his eminence's guests.
"Her grace," said the Cardinal, "wishes to know whether you are making rapid progress in the French
language, which she speaks admirably."
I answered in Italian that I had learned a great deal, but that I was not yet bold enough to speak.
"You should be bold," said the marchioness, "but without showing any pretension. It is the best way to disarm
criticism."
My mind having almost unwittingly lent to the words "You should be bold" a meaning which had very likely
been far from the idea of the marchioness, I turned very red, and the handsome speaker, observing it, changed
the conversation and dismissed me.
The next morning, at seven o'clock, I was at Donna Cecilia's door. The phaeton was there as well as the
carriage for two persons, which this time was an elegant vis-a-vis, so light and well-hung that Donna Cecilia
praised it highly when she took her seat.
"I shall have my turn as we return to Rome," said Lucrezia; and I bowed to her as if in acceptance of her
promise.
Lucrezia thus set suspicion at defiance in order to prevent suspicion arising. My happiness was assured, and I
gave way to my natural flow of spirits. I ordered a splendid dinner, and we all set out towards the Villa Ludovisi.
As we might have missed each other during our ramblings, we agreed to meet again at the inn at one o'clock. The
discreet widow took the arm of her son-in-law, Angelique remained with her sister, and Lucrezia was my
delightful share; Ursula and her brother were running about together, and in less than a quarter of an hour I had
Lucrezia entirely to myself.
"Did you remark," she said, "with what candour I secured for us two hours of delightful 'tete-a-tete', and a
'tete-a-tete' in a 'vis-a-vis', too! How clever Love is!"
"Yes, darling, Love has made but one of our two souls. I adore you, and if I have the courage to pass so many
days without seeing you it is in order to be rewarded by the freedom of one single day like this."
"I did not think it possible. But you have managed it all very well. You know too much for your age, dearest."
"A month ago, my beloved, I was but an ignorant child, and you are the first woman who has initiated me into
the mysteries of love. Your departure will kill me, for I could not find another woman like you in all Italy."
"What! am I your first love? Alas! you will never be cured of it. Oh! why am I not entirely your own? You are
also the first true love of my heart, and you will be the last. How great will be the happiness of my successor! I
should not be jealous of her, but what suffering would be mine if I thought that her heart was not like mine!"
Lucrezia, seeing my eyes wet with tears, began to give way to her own, and, seating ourselves on the grass,
our lips drank our tears amidst the sweetest kisses. How sweet is the nectar of the tears shed by love, when that
nectar is relished amidst the raptures of mutual ardour! I have often tasted themthose delicious tears, and I can
say knowingly that the ancient physicians were right, and that the modern are wrong.
In a moment of calm, seeing the disorder in which we both were, I told her that we might be surprised.
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"Do not Iear, my best beloved," she said, "we are under the guardianship oI our good angels."
We were resting and reviving our strength by gazing into one another's eyes, when suddenly Lucrezia, casting
a glance to the right, exclaimed,
"Look there! idol oI my heart, have I not told you so? Yes, the angels are watching over us! Ah! how he
stares at us! He seems to try to give us conIidence. Look at that little demon; admire him! He must certainly be
your guardian spirit or mine."
I thought she was delirious.
"What are you saying, dearest? I do not understand you. What am I to admire?"
"Do you not see that beautiIul serpent with the blazing skin, which liIts its head and seems to worship us?"
I looked in the direction she indicated, and saw a serpent with changeable colours about three Ieet in length,
which did seem to be looking at us. I was not particularly pleased at the sight, but I could not show myselI less
courageous than she was.
"What!" said I, "are you not aIraid?"
"I tell you, again, that the sight is delightIul to me, and I Ieel certain that it is a spirit with nothing but the shape,
or rather the appearance, oI a serpent."
"And iI the spirit came gliding along the grass and hissed at you?"
"I would hold you tighter against my bosom, and set him at deIiance. In your arms Lucrezia is saIe. Look! the
spirit is going away. Quick, quick! He is warning us oI the approach oI some proIane person, and tells us to seek
some other retreat to renew our pleasures. Let us go."
We rose and slowly advanced towards Donna Cecilia and the advocate, who were just emerging Irom a
neighbouring alley. Without avoiding them, and without hurrying, just as iI to meet one another was a very natural
occurrence, I enquired oI Donna Cecilia whether her daughter had any Iear oI serpents.
"In spite oI all her strength oI mind," she answered, "she is dreadIully aIraid oI thunder, and she will scream
with terror at the sight oI the smallest snake. There are some here, but she need not be Irightened, Ior they are
not venomous."
I was speechless with astonishment, Ior I discovered that I had just witnessed a wonderIul love miracle. At
that moment the children came up, and, without ceremony, we again parted company.
"Tell me, wonderIul being, bewitching woman, what would you have done iI, instead oI your pretty serpent,
you had seen your husband and your mother?"
"Nothing. Do you not know that, in moments oI such rapture, lovers see and Ieel nothing but love? Do you
doubt having possessed me wholly, entirely?"
Lucrezia, in speaking thus, was not composing a poetical ode; she was not Ieigning Iictitious sentiments; her
looks, the sound oI her voice, were truth itselI!
"Are you certain," I enquired, "that we are not suspected?"
"My husband does not believe us to be in love with each other, or else he does not mind such triIling pleasures
as youth is generally wont to indulge in. My mother is a clever woman, and perhaps she suspects the truth, but
she is aware that it is no longer any concern oI hers. As to my sister, she must know everything, Ior she cannot
have Iorgotten the broken-down bed; but she is prudent, and besides, she has taken it into her head to pity me.
She has no conception oI the nature oI my Ieelings towards you. II I had not met you, my beloved, I should
probably have gone through liIe without realizing such Ieelings myselI; Ior what I Ieel Ior my husband.... well, I
have Ior him the obedience which my position as a wiIe imposes upon me."
"And yet he is most happy, and I envy him! He can clasp in his arms all your lovely person whenever he likes!
There is no hateIul veil to hide any oI your charms Irom his gaze."
"Oh! where art thou, my dear serpent? Come to us, come and protect us against the surprise oI the uninitiated,
and this very instant I IulIil all the wishes oI him I adore!"
We passed the morning in repeating that we loved each other, and in exchanging over and over again
substantial prooIs oI our mutual passion.
We had a delicious dinner, during which I was all attention Ior the amiable Donna Cecilia. My pretty tortoise-
shell box, Iilled with excellent snuII, went more than once round the table. As it happened to be in the hands oI
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Lucrezia who was sitting on my leIt, her husband told her that, iI I had no objection, she might give me her ring
and keep the snuII-box in exchange. Thinking that the ring was not oI as much value as my box, I immediately
accepted, but I Iound the ring oI greater value. Lucrezia would not, however, listen to anything on that subject.
She put the box in her pocket, and thus compelled me to keep her ring.
Dessert was nearly over, the conversation was very animated, when suddenly the intended husband oI
Angelique claimed our attention Ior the reading oI a sonnet which he had composed and dedicated to me. I
thanked him, and placing the sonnet in my pocket promised to write one Ior him. This was not, however, what he
wished; he expected that, stimulated by emulation, I would call Ior paper and pen, and sacriIice to Apollo hours
which it was much more to my taste to employ in worshipping another god whom his cold nature knew only by
name. We drank coIIee, I paid the bill, and we went about rambling through the labyrinthine alleys oI the Villa
Aldobrandini.
What sweet recollections that villa has leIt in my memory! It seemed as iI I saw my divine Lucrezia Ior the Iirst
time. Our looks were Iull oI ardent love, our hearts were beating in concert with the most tender impatience, and
a natural instinct was leading us towards a solitary asylum which the hand oI Love seemed to have prepared on
purpose Ior the mysteries oI its secret worship. There, in the middle oI a long avenue, and under a canopy oI
thick Ioliage, we Iound a wide soIa made oI grass, and sheltered by a deep thicket; Irom that place our eyes
could range over an immense plain, and view the avenue to such a distance right and leIt that we were perIectly
secure against any surprise. We did not require to exchange one word at the sight oI this beautiIul temple so
Iavourable to our love; our hearts spoke the same language.
Without a word being spoken, our ready hands soon managed to get rid oI all obstacles, and to expose in a
state oI nature all the beauties which are generally veiled by troublesome wearing apparel. Two whole hours
were devoted to the most delightIul, loving ecstasies. At last we exclaimed together in mutual ecstasy, "O Love,
we thank thee!"
We slowly retraced our steps towards the carriages, revelling in our intense happiness. Lucrezia inIormed me
that Angelique's suitor was wealthy, that he owned a splendid villa at Tivoli, and that most likely he would invite
us all to dine and pass the night there. "I pray the god oI love," she added, "to grant us a night as beautiIul as this
day has been." Then, looking sad, she said, "But alas! the ecclesiastical lawsuit which has brought my husband to
Rome is progressing so Iavourably that I am mortally aIraid he will obtain judgment all too soon."
The journey back to the city lasted two hours; we were alone in my vis-a-vis and we overtaxed nature,
exacting more than it can possibly give. As we were getting near Rome we were compelled to let the curtain Iall
beIore the denouement oI the drama which we had perIormed to the complete satisIaction oI the actors.
I returned home rather Iatigued, but the sound sleep which was so natural at my age restored my Iull vigour,
and in the morning I took my French lesson at the usual hour.
CHAPTER
Benedict XIVExcursion to TivoliDeparture of Lucrezia
The Marchioness G.Barbara DalacquaMy Misfortunes
I Leave Rome
M. Dalacqua being very ill, his daughter Barbara gave me my lesson. When it was over, she seized an
opportunity oI slipping a letter into my pocket, and immediately disappeared, so that I had no chance oI reIusing.
The letter was addressed to me, and expressed Ieelings oI the warmest gratitude. She only desired me to inIorm
her lover that her Iather had spoken to her again, and that most likely he would engage a new servant as soon as
he had recovered Irom his illness, and she concluded her letter by assuring me that she never would implicate me
in this business.
Her Iather was compelled to keep his bed Ior a Iortnight, and Barbara continued to give me my lesson every
day. I Ielt Ior her an interest which, Irom me towards a young and pretty girl, was, indeed, quite a new sentiment.
It was a Ieeling oI pity, and I was proud oI being able to help and comIort her. Her eyes never rested upon mine,
her hand never met mine, I never saw in her toilet the slightest wish to please me. She was very pretty, and I
knew she had a tender, loving nature; but nothing interIered with the respect and the regard which I was bound in
honour and in good Iaith to Ieel towards her, and I was proud to remark that she never thought me capable oI
taking advantage oI her weakness or oI her position.
When the Iather had recovered he dismissed his servant and engaged another. Barbara entreated me to inIorm
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her friend of the circumstance, and likewise of her hope to gain the new servant to their interests, at least
sufficientl to secure the possibilit of carring on some correspondence. I promised to do so, and as a mark of
her gratitude she took m hand to carr it to her lips, but quickl withdrawing it I tried to kiss her; she turned her
face awa, blushing deepl. I was much pleased with her modest.
Barbara having succeeded in gaining the new servant over, I had nothing more to do with the intrigue, and I
was ver glad of it, for I knew m interference might have brought evil on m own head. Unfortunatel, it was
alread too late.
I seldom visited Don Gaspar; the stud of the French language took up all m mornings, and it was onl in the
morning that I could see him; but I called ever evening upon Father Georgi, and, although I went to him onl as
one of his 'proteges', it gave me some reputation. I seldom spoke before his guests, et I never felt wear, for in
his circle his friends would criticise without slandering, discuss politics without stubbornness, literature without
passion, and I profited b all. After m visit to the sagacious monk, I used to attend the assembl of the cardinal,
m master, as a matter of dut. Almost ever evening, when she happened to see me at her card-table, the
beautiful marchioness would address to me a few gracious words in French, and I alwas answered in Italian, not
caring to make her laugh before so man persons. M feelings for her were of a singular kind. I must leave them
to the analsis of the reader. I thought that woman charming, et I avoided her; it was not because I was afraid of
falling in love with her; I loved Lucreia, and I firml believed that such an affection was a shield against an other
attachment, but it was because I feared that she might love me or have a passing fanc for me. Was it self-
conceit or modest, vice or virtue? Perhaps neither one nor the other.
One evening she desired the Abbe Gama to call me to her; she was standing near the cardinal, m patron, and
the moment I approached her she caused me a strange feeling of surprise b asking me in Italian a question which
I was far from anticipating:
"How did ou like Frascati?"
"Ver much, madam; I have never seen such a beautiful place."
"But our compan was still more beautiful, and our vis-a-vis was ver smart."
I onl bowed low to the marchioness, and a moment after Cardinal Acquaviva said to me, kindl,
"You are astonished at our adventure being known?"
"No, m lord; but I am surprised that people should talk of it. I could not have believed Rome to be so much
like a small village."
"The longer ou live in Rome," said his eminence, "the more ou will find it so. You have not et presented
ourself to kiss the foot of our Hol Father?"
"Not et, m lord."
"Then ou must do so."
I bowed in compliance to his wishes.
The Abbe Gama told me to present mself to the Pope on the morrow, and he added,
"Of course ou have alread shewn ourself in the Marchioness G.'s palace?"
"No, I have never been there."
"You astonish me; but she often speaks to ou!"
"I have no objection to go with ou."
"I never visit at her palace."
"Yet she speaks to ou likewise."
"Yes, but.... You do not know Rome; go alone; believe me, ou ought to go."
"Will she receive me?"
"You are joking, I suppose. Of course it is out of the question for ou to be announced. You will call when the
doors are wide open to everbod. You will meet there all those who pa homage to her."
"Will she see me?"
"No doubt of it."
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On the Iollowing day I proceeded to Monte-Cavallo, and I was at once led into the room where the Pope
was alone. I threw myselI on my knees and kissed the holy cross on his most holy slipper. The Pope enquiring
who I was, I told him, and he answered that he knew me, congratulating me upon my being in the service oI so
eminent a cardinal. He asked me how I had succeeded in gaining the cardinal's Iavour; I answered with a IaithIul
recital oI my adventures Irom my arrival at Martorano. He laughed heartily at all I said respecting the poor and
worthy bishop, and remarked that, instead oI trying to address him in Tuscan, I could speak in the Venetian
dialect, as he was himselI speaking to me in the dialect oI Bologna. I Ielt quite at my ease with him, and I told him
so much news and amused him so well that the Holy Father kindly said that he would be glad to see me
whenever I presented myselI at Monte-Cavallo. I begged his permission to read all Iorbidden books, and he
granted it with his blessing, saying that I should have the permission in writing, but he Iorgot it.
Benedict XIV, was a learned man, very amiable, and Iond oI a joke. I saw him Ior the second time at the Villa
Medicis. He called me to him, and continued his walk, speaking oI triIling things. He was then accompanied by
Cardinal Albani and the ambassador Irom Venice. A man oI modest appearance approached His Holiness, who
asked what he required; the man said a Iew words in a low voice, and, aIter listening to him, the Pope answered,
"You are right, place your trust in God;" and he gave him his blessing. The poor Iellow went away very dejected,
and the Holy Father continued his walk.
"This man," I said, "most Holy Father, has not been pleased with the answer oI Your Holiness."
"Why?"
"Because most likely he had already addressed himselI to God beIore he ventured to apply to you; and when
Your Holiness sends him to God again, he Iinds himselI sent back, as the proverb says, Irom Herod to Pilate."
The Pope, as well as his two companions, laughed heartily; but I kept a serious countenance.
"I cannot," continued the Pope, "do any good without God's assistance."
"Very true, Holy Father; but the man is aware that you are God's prime minister, and it is easy to imagine his
trouble now that the minister sends him again to the master. His only resource is to give money to the beggars oI
Rome, who Ior one 'bajocco' will pray Ior him. They boast oI their inIluence beIore the throne oI the Almighty,
but as I have Iaith only in your credit, I entreat Your Holiness to deliver me oI the heat which inIlames my eyes by
granting me permission to eat meat."
"Eat meat, my son."
"Holy Father, give me your blessing."
He blessed me, adding that I was not dispensed Irom Iasting.
That very evening, at the cardinal's assembly, I Iound that the news oI my dialogue with the Pope was already
known. Everybody was anxious to speak to me. I Ielt Ilattered, but I was much more delighted at the joy which
Cardinal Acquaviva tried in vain to conceal.
As I wished not to neglect Gama's advice, I presented myselI at the mansion oI the beautiIul marchioness at
the hour at which everyone had Iree access to her ladyship. I saw her, I saw the cardinal and a great many
abbes; but I might have supposed myselI invisible, Ior no one honoured me with a look, and no one spoke to me.
I leIt aIter having perIormed Ior halI an hour the character oI a mute. Five or six days aIterwards, the
marchioness told me graciously that she had caught a sight oI me in her reception-rooms.
"I was there, it is true, madam; but I had no idea that I had had the honour to be seen by your ladyship."
"Oh! I see everybody. They tell me that you have wit."
"II it is not a mistake on the part oI your inIormants, your ladyship gives me very good news."
"Oh! they are excellent judges."
"Then, madam, those persons must have honoured me with their conversation; otherwise, it is not likely that
they would have been able to express such an opinion."
"No doubt; but let me see you oIten at my receptions."
Our conversation had been overheard by those who were around; his excellency the cardinal told me that,
when the marchioness addressed herselI particularly to me in French, my duty was to answer her in the same
language, good or bad. The cunning politician Gama took me apart, and remarked that my repartees were too
smart, too cutting, and that, aIter a time, I would be sure to displease. I had made considerable progress in
French; I had given up my lessons, and practice was all I required. I was then in the habit oI calling sometimes
upon Lucrezia in the morning, and oI visiting in the evening Father Georgi, who was acquainted with the
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excursion to Frascati, and had not expressed any dissatisfaction.
Two days after the sort of command laid upon me by the marchioness, I presented myself at her reception. As
soon as she saw me, she favoured me with a smile which I acknowledged by a deep reverence; that was all. In a
quarter of an hour afterwards I left the mansion. The marchioness was beautiful, but she was powerful, and I
could not make up my mind to crawl at the feet of power, and, on that head, I felt disgusted with the manners of
the Romans.
One morning towards the end of November the advocate, accompanied by Angelique's intended, called on
me. The latter gave me a pressing invitation to spend twenty-four hours at Tivoli with the friends I had entertained
at Frascati. I accepted with great pleasure, for I had found no opportunity of being alone with Lucrezia since the
Festival of St. Ursula. I promised to be at Donna Cecilia's house at day-break with the same 'is-a-vis'. It was
necessary to start very early, because Tivoli is sixteen miles from Rome, and has so many objects of interest that
it requires many hours to see them all. As I had to sleep out that night, I craved permission to do so from the
cardinal himself, who, hearing with whom I was going, told me that I was quite right not to lose such an
opportunity of visiting that splendid place in such good society.
The first dawn of day found me with my 'vis-a-vis' and four at the door of Donna Cecilia, who came with me
as before. The charming widow, notwithstanding her strict morality, was delighted at my love for her daughter.
The family rode in a large phaeton hired by Don Francisco, which gave room for six persons.
At half-past seven in the morning we made a halt at a small place where had been prepared, by Don
Franciso's orders, an excellent breakfast, which was intended to replace the dinner, and we all made a hearty
meal, as we were not likely to find time for anything but supper at Tivoli. I wore on my finger the beautiful ring
which Lucrezia had given me. At the back of the ring I had had a piece of enamel placed, on it was delineated a
saduceus, with one serpent between the letters Alpha and Omega. This ring was the subject of conversation
during breakfast, and Don Francisco, as well as the advocate, exerted himself in vain to guess the meaning of the
hieroglyphs; much to the amusement of Lucrezia, who understood the mysterious secret so well. We continued
our road, and reached Tivoli at ten o'clock.
We began by visiting Don Francisco's villa. It was a beautiful little house, and we spent the following six hours
in examining together the antiquities of Tivoli. Lucrezia having occasion to whisper a few words to Don
Francisco, I seized the opportunity of telling Angelique that after her marriage I should be happy to spend a few
days of the fine season with her.
"Sir," she answered, "I give you fair notice that the moment I become mistress in this house you will be the
very first person to be excluded."
"I feel greatly obliged to you, signora, for your timely notice."
But the most amusing part of the affair was that I construed Angelique's wanton insult into a declaration of
love. I was astounded. Lucrezia, remarking the state I was in, touched my arm, enquiring what ailed me. I told
her, and she said at once,
"My darling, my happiness cannot last long; the cruel moment of our separation is drawing near. When I have
gone, pray undertake the task of compelling her to acknowledge her error. Angelique pities me, be sure to
avenge me."
I have forgotten to mention that at Don Francisco's villa I happened to praise a very pretty room opening upon
the orange-house, and the amiable host, having heard me, came obligingly to me, and said that it should be my
room that night. Lucrezia feigned not to hear, but it was to her Ariadne's clue, for, as we were to remain
altogether during our visit to the beauties of Tivoli, we had no chance of a tete-a-tete through the day.
I have said that we devoted six hours to an examination of the antiquities of Tivoli, but I am bound to confess
here that I saw, for my part, very little of them, and it was only twenty-eight years later that I made a thorough
acquaintance with the beautiful spot.
We returned to the villa towards evening, fatigued and very hungry, but an hour's rest before suppera repast
which lasted two hours, the most delicious dishes, the most exquisite wines, and particularly the excellent wine of
Tivolirestored us so well that everybody wanted nothing more than a good bed and the freedom to enjoy the
bed according to his own taste.
As everybody objected to sleep alone, Lucrezia said that she would sleep with Angelique in one of the rooms
leading to the orange-house, and proposed that her husband should share a room with the young abbe, his
brother-in-law, and that Donna Cecilia should take her youngest daughter with her.
The arrangement met with general approbation, and Don Francisco, taking a candle, escorted me to my pretty
little room adjoining the one in which the two sisters were to sleep, and, after shewing me how I could lock
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myselI in, he wished me good night and leIt me alone.
Angelique had no idea that I was her near neighbour, but Lucrezia and I, without exchanging a single word on
the subject, had perIectly understood each other.
I watched through the key-hole and saw the two sisters come into their room, preceded by the polite Don
Francisco, who carried a taper, and, aIter lighting a night-lamp, bade them good night and retired. Then my two
beauties, their door once locked, sat down on the soIa and completed their night toilet, which, in that Iortunate
climate, is similar to the costume oI our Iirst mother. Lucrezia, knowing that I was waiting to come in, told her
sister to lie down on the side towards the window, and the virgin, having no idea that she was exposing her most
secret beauties to my proIane eyes, crossed the room in a state oI complete nakedness. Lucrezia put out the
lamp and lay down near her innocent sister.
Happy moments which I can no longer enjoy, but the sweet remembrance oI which death alone can make me
lose! I believe I never undressed myselI as quickly as I did that evening.
I open the door and Iall into the arms oI my Lucrezia, who says to her sister, "It is my angel, my love; never
mind him, and go to sleep."
What a delightIul picture I could oIIer to my readers iI it were possible Ior me to paint voluptuousness in its
most enchanting colours! What ecstasies oI love Irom the very onset! What delicious raptures succeed each
other until the sweetest Iatigue made us give way to the soothing inIluence oI Morpheus!
The Iirst rays oI the sun, piercing through the crevices oI the shutters, wake us out oI our reIreshing slumbers,
and like two valorous knights who have ceased Iighting only to renew the contest with increased ardour, we lose
no time in giving ourselves up to all the intensity oI the Ilame which consumes us.
"Oh, my beloved Lucrezia! how supremely happy I am! But, my darling, mind your sister; she might turn round
and see us."
"Fear nothing, my liIe; my sister is kind, she loves me, she pities me; do you not love me, my dear Angelique?
Oh! turn round, see how happy your sister is, and know what Ielicity awaits you when you own the sway oI
love."
Angelique, a young maiden oI seventeen summers, who must have suIIered the torments oI Tantalus during the
night, and who only wishes Ior a pretext to shew that she has Iorgiven her sister, turns round, and covering her
sister with kisses, conIesses that she has not closed her eyes through the night.
"Then Iorgive likewise, darling Angelique, Iorgive him who loves me, and whom I adore," says Lucrezia.
UnIathomable power oI the god who conquers all human beings!
"Angelique hates me," I say, "I dare not...."
"No, I do not hate you!" answers the charming girl.
"Kiss her, dearest," says Lucrezia, pushing me towards her sister, and pleased to see her in my arms
motionless and languid.
But sentiment, still more than love, Iorbids me to deprive Lucrezia oI the prooI oI my gratitude, and I turn to
her with all the rapture oI a beginner, Ieeling that my ardour is increased by Angelique's ecstasy, as Ior the Iirst
time she witnesses the amorous contest. Lucrezia, dying oI enjoyment, entreats me to stop, but, as I do not listen
to her prayer, she tricks me, and the sweet Angelique makes her Iirst sacriIice to the mother oI love. It is thus,
very likely, that when the gods inhabited this earth, the voluptuous Arcadia, in love with the soIt and pleasing
breath oI Zephyrus, one day opened her arms, and was Iecundated.
Lucrezia was astonished and delighted, and covered us both with kisses. Angelique, as happy as her sister,
expired deliciously in my arms Ior the third time, and she seconded me with so much loving ardour, that it seemed
to me I was tasting happiness Ior the Iirst time.
Phoebus had leIt the nuptial couch, and his rays were already diIIusing light over the universe; and that light,
reaching us through the closed shutters, gave me warning to quit the place; we exchanged the most loving adieus,
I leIt my two divinities and retired to my own room. A Iew minutes aIterwards, the cheerIul voice oI the advocate
was heard in the chamber oI the sisters; he was reproaching them Ior sleeping too long! Then he knocked at my
door, threatening to bring the ladies to me, and went away, saying that he would send me the hair-dresser.
AIter many ablutions and a careIul toilet, I thought I could skew my Iace, and I presented myselI coolly in the
drawing-room. The two sisters were there with the other members oI our society, and I was delighted with their
rosy cheeks. Lucrezia was Irank and gay, and beamed with happiness; Angelique, as Iresh as the morning dew,
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was more radiant than usual, but Iidgety, and careIully avoided looking me in the Iace. I saw that my useless
attempts to catch her eyes made her smile, and I remarked to her mother, rather mischievously, that it was a pity
Angelique used paint Ior her Iace. She was duped by this stratagem, and compelled me to pass a handkerchieI
over her Iace, and was then obliged to look at me. I oIIered her my apologies, and Don Francisco appeared
highly pleased that the complexion oI his intended had met with such triumph.
AIter breakIast we took a walk through the garden, and, Iinding myselI alone with Lucrezia, I expostulated
tenderly with her Ior having almost thrown her sister in my arms.
"Do not reproach me," she said, "when I deserve praise. I have brought light into the darkness oI my charming
sister's soul; I have initiated her in the sweetest oI mysteries, and now, instead oI pitying me, she must envy me.
Far Irom having hatred Ior you, she must love you dearly, and as I am so unhappy as to have to part Irom you
very soon, my beloved, I leave her to you; she will replace me."
"Ah, Lucrezia! how can I love her?"
"Is she not a charming girl?"
"No doubt oI it; but my adoration Ior you is a shield against any other love. Besides Don Francisco must, oI
course, entirely monopolize her, and I do not wish to cause coolness between them, or to ruin the peace oI their
home. I am certain your sister is not like you, and I would bet that, even now, she upbraids herselI Ior having
given way to the ardour oI her temperament:"
"Most likely; but, dearest, I am sorry to say my husband expects to obtain judgment in the course oI this
week, and then the short instants oI happiness will Ior ever be lost to me."
This was sad news indeed, and to cause a diversion at the breakIast-table I took much notice oI the generous
Don Francisco, and promised to compose a nuptial song Ior his wedding-day, which had been Iixed Ior the early
part oI January.
We returned to Rome, and Ior the three hours that she was with me in my vis-a-vis, Lucrezia had no reason to
think that my ardour was at all abated. But when we reached the city I was rather Iatigued, and proceeded at
once to the palace.
Lucrezia had guessed rightly; her husband obtained his judgment three or Iour days aIterwards, and called
upon me to announce their departure Ior the day aIter the morrow; he expressed his warm Iriendship Ior me, and
by his invitation I spent the two last evenings with Lucrezia, but we were always surrounded by the Iamily. The
day oI her departure, wishing to cause her an agreeable surprise, I leIt Rome beIore them and waited Ior them at
the place where I thought they would put up Ior the night, but the advocate, having been detained by several
engagements, was detained in Rome, and they only reached the place next day Ior dinner. We dined together,
we exchanged a sad, painIul Iarewell, and they continued their journey while I returned to Rome.
AIter the departure oI this charming woman, I Iound myselI in sort oI solitude very natural to a young man
whose heart is not Iull oI hope.
I passed whole days in my room, making extracts Irom the French letters written by the cardinal, and his
eminence was kind enough to tell me that my extracts were judiciously made, but that he insisted upon my not
working so hard. The beautiIul marchioness was present when he paid me that compliment.
Since my second visit to her, I had not presented myselI at her house; she was consequently rather cool to me,
and, glad oI an opportunity oI making me Ieel her displeasure, she remarked to his eminence that very likely
work was a consolation to me in the great void caused by the departure oI Donna Lucrezia.
"I candidly conIess, madam, that I have Ielt her loss deeply. She was kind and generous; above all, she was
indulgent when I did not call oIten upon her. My Iriendship Ior her was innocent."
"I have no doubt oI it, although your ode was the work oI a poet deeply in love."
"Oh!" said the kindly cardinal, "a poet cannot possibly write without proIessing to be in love."
"But," replied the marchioness, "iI the poet is really in love, he has no need oI proIessing a Ieeling which he
possesses."
As she was speaking, the marchioness drew out oI her pocket a paper which she oIIered to his eminence.
"This is the ode," she said, "it does great honour to the poet, Ior it is admitted to be a masterpiece by all the
literati in Rome, and Donna Lucrezia knows it by heart."
The cardinal read it over and returned it, smiling, and remarking that, as he had no taste Ior Italian poetry, she
must give herselI the pleasure oI translating it into French rhyme iI she wished him to admire it.
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"I only write French prose," answered the marchioness, "and a prose translation destroys half the beauty of
poetry. I am satisfied with writing occasionally a little Italian poetry without any pretension to poetical fame."
Those words were accompanied by a very significant glance in my direction.
"I should consider myself fortunate, madam, if I could obtain the happiness of admiring some of your poetry."
"Here is a sonnet of her ladyship's," said Cardinal S. C.
I took it respectfully, and I prepared to read it, but the amiable marchioness told me to put it in my pocket and
return it to the cardinal the next day, although she did not think the sonnet worth so much trouble. "If you should
happen to go out in the morning," said Cardinal S. C., "you could bring it back, and dine with me." Cardinal
Aquaviva immediately answered for me: "He will be sure to go out purposely."
With a deep reverence, which expressed my thanks, I left the room quietly and returned to my apartment, very
impatient to read the sonnet. Yet, before satisfying my wish, I could not help making some reflections on the
situation. I began to think myself somebody since the gigantic stride I had made this evening at the cardinal's
assembly. The Marchioness de G. had shewn in the most open way the interest she felt in me, and, under cover
of her grandeur, had not hesitated to compromise herself publicly by the most flattering advances. But who would
have thought of disapproving? A young abbe like me, without any importance whatever, who could scarcely
pretend to her high protection! True, but she was precisely the woman to grant it to those who, feeling
themselves unworthy of it, dared not shew any pretensions to her patronage. On that head, my modesty must be
evident to everyone, and the marchioness would certainly have insulted me had she supposed me capable of
sufficient vanity to fancy that she felt the slightest inclination for me. No, such a piece of self-conceit was not in
accordance with my nature. Her cardinal himself had invited me to dinner. Would he have done so if he had
admitted the possibility of the beautiful marchioness feeling anything for me? Of course not, and he gave me an
invitation to dine with him only because he had understood, from the very words of the lady, that I was just the
sort of person with whom they could converse for a few hours without any risk; to be sure, without any risk
whatever. Oh, Master Casanova! do you really think so?
Well, why should I put on a mask before my readers? They may think me conceited if they please, but the fact
of the matter is that I felt sure of having made a conquest of the marchioness. I congratulated myself because she
had taken the first, most difficult, and most important step. Had she not done so, I should never have dared-to
lay siege to her even in the most approved fashion; I should never have even ventured to dream of winning her. It
was only this evening that I thought she might replace Lucrezia. She was beautiful, young, full of wit and talent;
she was fond of literary pursuits, and very powerful in Rome; what more was necessary? Yet I thought it would
be good policy to appear ignorant of her inclination for me, and to let her suppose from the very next day that I
was in love with her, but that my love appeared to me hopeless. I knew that such a plan was infallible, because it
saved her dignity. It seemed to me that Father Georgi himself would be compelled to approve such an
undertaking, and I had remarked with great satisfaction that Cardinal Acquaviva had expressed his delight at
Cardinal S. C.'s invitationan honour which he had never yet bestowed on me himself. This affair might have
very important results for me.
I read the marchioness's sonnet, and found it easy, flowing, and well written. It was composed in praise of the
King of Prussia, who had just conquered Silesia by a masterly stroke. As I was copying it, the idea struck me to
personify Silesia, and to make her, in answer to the sonnet, bewail that Love (supposed to be the author of the
sonnet of the marchioness) could applaud the man who had conquered her, when that conqueror was the sworn
enemy of Love.
It is impossible for a man accustomed to write poetry to abstain when a happy subject smiles upon his
delighted imagination. If he attempted to smother the poetical flame running through his veins it would consume
him. I composed my sonnet, keeping the same rhymes as in the original, and, well pleased with my muse, I went
to bed.
The next morning the Abbe Gama came in just as I had finished recopying my sonnet, and said he would
breakfast with me. He complimented me upon the honour conferred on me by the invitation of Cardinal S. C.
"But be prudent," he added, "for his eminence has the reputation of being jealous:"
I thanked him for his friendly advice, taking care to assure him that I had nothing to fear, because I did not feel
the slightest inclination for the handsome marchioness.
Cardinal S. C. received me with great kindness mingled with dignity, to make me realize the importance of the
favour he was bestowing upon me.
"What do you think," he enquired, "of the sonnet?"
"Monsignor, it is perfectly written, and, what is more, it is a charming composition. Allow me to return it to you
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with my thanks."
"She has much talent. I wish to shew you ten stanzas oI her composition, my dear abbe, but you must promise
to be very discreet about it."
"Your eminence may rely on me."
He opened his bureau and brought Iorth the stanzas oI which he was the subject. I read them, Iound them well
written, but devoid oI enthusiasm; they were the work oI a poet, and expressed love in the words oI passion, but
were not pervaded by that peculiar Ieeling by which true love is so easily discovered. The worthy cardinal was
doubtless guilty oI a very great indiscretion, but selI-love is the cause oI so many injudicious steps! I asked his
eminence whether he had answered the stanzas.
"No," he replied, "I have not; but would you Ieel disposed to lend me your poetical pen, always under the seal
oI secrecy?"
"As to secrecy, monsignor, I promise it IaithIully; but I am aIraid the marchioness will remark the diIIerence
between your style and mine."
"She has nothing oI my composition," said the cardinal; "I do not think she supposes me a Iine poet, and Ior
that reason your stanzas must be written in such a manner that she will not esteem them above my abilities."
"I will write them with pleasure, monsignor, and your eminence can Iorm an opinion; iI they do not seem good
enough to be worthy oI you, they need not be given to the marchioness."
"That is well said. Will you write them at once?"
"What! now, monsignor? It is not like prose."
"Well, well! try to let me have them to-morrow."
We dined alone, and his eminence complimented me upon my excellent appetite, which he remarked was as
good as his own; but I was beginning to understand my eccentric host, and, to Ilatter him, I answered that he
praised me more than I deserved, and that my appetite was inIerior to his. The singular compliment delighted him,
and I saw all the use I could make oI his eminence.
Towards the end oI the dinner, as we were conversing, the marchioness made her appearance, and, as a
matter oI course, without being announced. Her looks threw me into raptures; I thought her a perIect beauty. She
did not give the cardinal time to meet her, but sat down near him, while I remained standing, according to
etiquette.
Without appearing to notice me, the marchioness ran wittily over various topics until coIIee was brought in.
Then, addressing herselI to me, she told me to sit down, just as iI she was bestowing charity upon me.
"By-the-by, abbe," she said, a minute aIter, "have you read my sonnet?"
"Yes, madam, and I have had the honour to return it to his eminence. I have Iound it so perIect that I am
certain it must have cost you a great deal oI time."
"Time?" exclaimed the cardinal; "Oh! you do not know the marchioness."
"Monsignor," I replied, "nothing can be done well without time, and that is why I have not dared to chew to
your eminence an answer to the sonnet which I have written in halI an hour."
"Let us see it, abbe," said the marchioness; "I want to read it."
"Answer oI Silesia to Love." This title brought the most Iascinating blushes on her countenance. "But Love is
not mentioned in the sonnet," exclaimed the cardinal. "Wait," said the marchioness, "we must respect the idea oI
the poet:"
She read the sonnet over and over, and thought that the reproaches addressed by Silesia to Love were very
just. She explained my idea to the cardinal, making him understand why Silesia was oIIended at having been
conquered by the King oI Prussia.
"Ah, I see, I see!" exclaimed the cardinal, Iull oI joy; "Silesia is a woman.... and the King oI Prussia.... Oh! oh!
that is really a Iine idea!" And the good cardinal laughed heartily Ior more than a quarter oI an hour. "I must copy
that sonnet," he added, "indeed I must have it."
"The abbe," said the obliging marchioness, "will save you the trouble: I will dictate it to him."
I prepared to write, but his eminence suddenly exclaimed, "My dear marchioness, this is wonderIul; he has
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kept the same rhymes as in your own sonnet: did you observe it?"
The beautiIul marchioness gave me then a look oI such expression that she completed her conquest. I
understood that she wanted me to know the cardinal as well as she knew him; it was a kind oI partnership in
which I was quite ready to play my part.
As soon as I had written the sonnet under the charming woman's dictation, I took my leave, but not beIore the
cardinal had told me that he expected me to dinner the next day.
I had plenty oI work beIore me, Ior the ten stanzas I had to compose were oI the most singular character, and
I lost no time in shutting myselI up in my room to think oI them. I had to keep my balance between two points oI
equal diIIiculty, and I Ielt that great care was indispensable. I had to place the marchioness in such a position that
she could pretend to believe the cardinal the author oI the stanzas, and, at the same time, compel her to Iind out
that I had written them, and that I was aware oI her knowing it. It was necessary to speak so careIully that not
one expression should breathe even the Iaintest hope on my part, and yet to make my stanzas blaze with the
ardent Iire oI my love under the thin veil oI poetry. As Ior the cardinal, I knew well enough that the better the
stanzas were written, the more disposed he would be to sign them. All I wanted was clearness, so diIIicult to
obtain in poetry, while a little doubtIul darkness would have been accounted sublime by my new Midas. But,
although I wanted to please him, the cardinal was only a secondary consideration, and the handsome
marchioness the principal object.
As the marchioness in her verses had made a pompous enumeration oI every physical and moral quality oI his
eminence, it was oI course natural that he should return the compliment, and here my task was easy. At last
having mastered my subject well, I began my work, and giving Iull career to my imagination and to my Ieelings I
composed the ten stanzas, and gave the Iinishing stroke with these two beautiIul lines Irom Ariosto:
Le angelicche bellee nate al cielo
Non si ponno celar sotto alcum velo.
Rather pleased with my production, I presented it the next day to the cardinal, modestly saying that I doubted
whether he would accept the authorship oI so ordinary a composition. He read the stanzas twice over without
taste or expression, and said at last that they were indeed not much, but exactly what he wanted. He thanked me
particularly Ior the two lines Irom Ariosto, saying that they would assist in throwing the authorship upon himselI,
as they would prove to the lady Ior whom they were intended that he had not been able to write them without
borrowing. And, as to oIIer me some consolation, he told me that, in recopying the lines, he would take care to
make a Iew mistakes in the rhythm to complete the illusion.
We dined earlier than the day beIore, and I withdrew immediately aIter dinner so as to give him leisure to
make a copy oI the stanzas beIore the arrival oI the lady.
The next evening I met the marchioness at the entrance oI the palace, and oIIered her my arm to come out oI
her carriage. The instant she alighted, she said to me,
"II ever your stanzas and mine become known in Rome, you may be sure oI my enmity."
"Madam, I do not understand what you mean."
"I expected you to answer me in this manner," replied the marchioness, "but recollect what I have said."
I leIt her at the door oI the reception-room, and thinking that she was really angry with me, I went away in
despair. "My stanzas," I said to myselI, "are too Iiery; they compromise her dignity, and her pride is oIIended at
my knowing the secret oI her intrigue with Cardinal S. C. Yet, I Ieel certain that the dread she expresses oI my
want oI discretion is only Ieigned, it is but a pretext to turn me out oI her Iavour. She has not understood my
reserve! What would she have done, iI I had painted her in the simple apparel oI the golden age, without any oI
those veils which modesty imposes upon her sex!" I was sorry I had not done so. I undressed and went to bed.
My head was scarcely on the pillow when the Abbe Gama knocked at my door. I pulled the door-string, and
coming in, he said,
"My dear sir, the cardinal wishes to see you, and I am sent by the beautiIul marchioness and Cardinal S. C.,
who desire you to come down."
"I am very sorry, but I cannot go; tell them the truth; I am ill in bed."
As the abbe did not return, I judged that he had IaithIully acquitted himselI oI the commission, and I spent a
quiet night. I was not yet dressed in the morning, when I received a note Irom Cardinal S. C. inviting me to
dinner, saying that he had just been bled, and that he wanted to speak to me: he concluded by entreating me to
come to him early, even iI I did not Ieel well.
The invitation was pressing; I could not guess what had caused it, but the tone oI the letter did not Iorebode
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anything unpleasant. I went to church, where I was sure that Cardinal Acquaviva would see me, and he did.
AIter mass, his eminence beckoned to me.
"Are you truly ill?" he enquired.
"No, monsignor, I was only sleepy."
"I am very glad to hear it; but you are wrong, Ior you are loved. Cardinal S. C. has been bled this morning."
"I know it, monsignor. The cardinal tells me so in this note, in which he invites me to dine with him, with your
excellency's permission."
"Certainly. But this is amusing! I did not know that he wanted a third person."
"Will there be a third person?"
"I do not know, and I have no curiosity about it."
The cardinal leIt me, and everybody imagined that his eminence had spoken to me oI state aIIairs.
I went to my new Maecenas, whom I Iound in bed.
"I am compelled to observe strict diet," he said to me; "I shall have to let you dine alone, but you will not lose
by it as my cook does not know it. What I wanted to tell you is that your stanzas are, I am aIraid, too pretty, Ior
the marchioness adores them. II you had read them to me in the same way that she does, I could never have
made up my mind to oIIer them." "But she believes them to be written by your eminence?"
"OI course."
"That is the essential point, monsignor."
"Yes; but what should I do iI she took it into her head to compose some new stanzas Ior me?"
"You would answer through the same pen, Ior you can dispose oI me night and day, and rely upon the utmost
secrecy."
"I beg oI you to accept this small present; it is some negrillo snuII Irom Habana, which Cardinal Acquaviva has
given me."
The snuII was excellent, but the object which contained it was still better. It was a splendid gold-enamelled
box. I received it with respect, and with the expression oI the deepest gratitude.
II his eminence did not know how to write poetry, at least he knew how to be generous, and in a delicate
manner, and that science is, at least in my estimation, superior to the other Ior a great nobleman.
At noon, and much to my surprise, the beautiIul marchioness made her appearance in the most elegant
morning toilet.
"II I had known you were in good company," she said to the cardinal, "I would not have come."
"I am sure, dear marchioness, you will not Iind our dear abbe in the way."
"No, Ior I believe him to be honest and true."
I kept at a respectIul distance, ready to go away with my splendid snuII-box at the Iirst jest she might hurl at
me.
The cardinal asked her iI she intended to remain to dinner.
"Yes," she answered; "but I shall not enjoy my dinner, Ior I hate to eat alone."
"II you would honour him so Iar, the abbe would keep you company."
She gave me a gracious look, but without uttering one word.
This was the Iirst time I had anything to do with a woman oI quality, and that air oI patronage, whatever
kindness might accompany it, always put me out oI temper, Ior I thought it made love out oI the question.
However, as we were in the presence oI the cardinal, I Iancied that she might be right in treating me in that
Iashion.
The table was laid out near the cardinal's bed, and the marchioness, who ate hardly anything, encouraged me
in my good appetite.
"I have told you that the abbe is equal to me in that respect," said S. C.
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"I truly believe," answered the marchioness, "that he does not remain far behind you; but," added she with
flattery, "you are more dainty in your tastes."
"Would her ladyship be so good as to tell me in what I have appeared to her to be a mere glutton? For in all
things I like only dainty and exquisite morsels."
"Explain what you mean by saying in all things," said the cardinal. Taking the liberty of laughing, I composed a
few impromptu verses in which I named all I thought dainty and exquisite. The marchioness applauded, saying
that she admired my courage.
"My courage, madam, is due to you, for I am as timid as a hare when I am not encouraged; you are the author
of my impromptu."
"I admire you. As for myself, were I encouraged by Apollo himself, I could not compose four lines without
paper and ink."
"Only give way boldly to your genius, madam, and you will produce poetry worthy of heaven."
"Thatis my opinion, too," said the cardinal. "I entreat you to give me permission to skew your ten stanzas to
the abbe."
"They are not very good, but I have no objection provided it remains between us."
The cardinal gave me, then, the stanzas composed by the marchioness, and I read them aloud with all the
expression, all the feeling necessary to such reading.
"How well you have read those stanzas!" said the marchioness; "I can hardly believe them to be my own
composition; I thank you very much. But have the goodness to give the benefit of your reading to the stanzas
which his eminence has written in answer to mine. They surpass them much."
"Do not believe it, my dear abbe," said the cardinal, handing them to me. "Yet try not to let them lose anything
through your reading."
There was certainly no need of his eminence enforcing upon me such a recommendation; it was my own
poetry. I could not have read it otherwise than in my best style, especially when I had before me the beautiful
woman who had inspired them, and when, besides, Bacchus was in me giving courage to Apollo as much as the
beautiful eyes of the marchioness were fanning into an ardent blaze the fire already burning through my whole
being.
I read the stanzas with so much expression that the cardinal was enraptured, but I brought a deep carnation
tint upon the cheeks of the lovely marchioness when I came to the description of those beauties which the
imagination of the poet is allowed to guess at, but which I could not, of course, have gazed upon. She snatched
the paper from my hands with passion, saying that I was adding verses of my own; it was true, but I did not
confess it. I was all aflame, and the fire was scorching her as well as me.
The cardinal having fallen asleep, she rose and went to take a seat on the balcony; I followed her. She had a
rather high seat; I stood opposite to her, so that her knee touched the fob-pocket in which was my watch. What
a position! Taking hold gently of one of her hands, I told her that she had ignited in my soul a devouring flame,
that I adored her, and that, unless some hope was left to me of finding her sensible to my sufferings, I was
determined to fly away from her for ever.
"Yes, beautiful marchioness, pronounce my sentence."
"I fear you are a libertine and an unfaithful lover."
"I am neither one nor the other."
With these words I folded her in my arms, and I pressed upon her lovely lips, as pure as a rose, an ardent kiss
which she received with the best possible grace. This kiss, the forerunner of the most delicious pleasures, had
imparted to my hands the greatest boldness; I was on the point of.... but the marchioness, changing her position,
entreated me so sweetly to respect her, that, enjoying new voluptuousness through my very obedience, I not only
abandoned an easy victory, but I even begged her pardon, which I soon read in the most loving look.
She spoke of Lucrezia, and was pleased with my discretion. She then alluded to the cardinal, doing her best to
make me believe that there was nothing between them but a feeling of innocent friendship. Of course I had my
opinion on that subject, but it was my interest to appear to believe every word she uttered. We recited together
lines from our best poets, and all the time she was still sitting down and I standing before her, with my looks rapt
in the contemplation of the most lovely charms, to which I remained insensible in appearance, for I had made up
my mind not to press her that evening for greater favours than those I had already received.
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The cardinal, waking Irom his long and peaceIul siesta, got up and joined us in his night-cap, and good-
naturedly enquired whether we had not Ielt impatient at his protracted sleep. I remained until dark and went
home highly pleased with my day's work, but determined to keep my ardent desires in check until the opportunity
Ior complete victory oIIered itselI.
From that day, the charming marchioness never ceased to give me the marks oI her particular esteem, without
the slightest constraint; I was reckoning upon the carnival, which was close at hand, Ieeling certain that the more I
should spare her delicacy, the more she would endeavour to Iind the opportunity oI rewarding my loyalty, and oI
crowning with happiness my loving constancy. But Iate ordained otherwise; Dame Fortune turned her back upon
me at the very moment when the Pope and Cardinal Acquaviva were thinking oI giving me a really good position.
The Holy Father had congratulated me upon the beautiIul snuII-box presented to me by Cardinal S. C., but he
had been careIul never to name the marchioness. Cardinal Acquaviva expressed openly his delight at his brother-
cardinal having given me a taste oI his negrillo snuII in so splendid an envelope; the Abbe Gama, Iinding me so
Iorward on the road to success, did not venture to counsel me any more, and the virtuous Father Georgi gave me
but one piece oI advice-namely, to cling to the lovely marchioness and not to make any other acquaintances.
Such was my position-truly a brilliant one, when, on Christmas Day, the lover oI Barbara Dalacqua entered
my room, locked the door, and threw himselI on the soIa, exclaiming that I saw him Ior the last time.
"I only come to beg oI you some good advice."
"On what subject can I advise you?"
"Take this and read it; it will explain everything."
It was a letter Irom his mistress; the contents were these:
"I am pregnant oI a child, the pledge oI our mutual love; I can no longer have any doubt oI it, my beloved, and
I Iorewarn you that I have made up my mind to quit Rome alone, and to go away to die where it may please
God, iI you reIuse to take care oI me and save me. I would suIIer anything, do anything, rather than let my Iather
discover the truth."
"II you are a man oI honour," I said, "you cannot abandon the poor girl. Marry her in spite oI your Iather, in
spite oI her own, and live together honestly. The eternal Providence oI God will watch over you and help you in
your diIIiculties:"
My advice seemed to bring calm to his mind, and he leIt me more composed.
At the beginning oI January, 1744, he called again, looking very cheerIul. "I have hired," he said, "the top Iloor
oI the house next to Barbara's dwelling; she knows it, and to-night I will gain her apartment through one oI the
windows oI the garret, and we will make all our arrangements to enable me to carry her oII. I have made up my
mind; I have decided upon taking her to Naples, and I will take with us the servant who, sleeping in the garret,
had to be made a conIidante oI."
"God speed you, my Iriend!"
A week aIterwards, towards eleven o'clock at night, he entered my room accompanied by an abbe.
"What do you want so late?"
"I wish to introduce you to this handsome abbe."
I looked up, and to my consternation I recognized Barbara.
"Has anyone seen you enter the house?" I enquired.
"No; and iI we had been seen, what oI it? It is only an abbe. We now pass every night together."
"I congratulate you."
"The servant is our Iriend; she has consented to Iollow us, and all our arrangements are completed."
"I wish you every happiness. Adieu. I beg you to leave me."
Three or Iour days aIter that visit, as I was walking with the Abbe Gama towards the Villa Medicis, he told me
deliberately that there would be an execution during the night in the Piazza di Spagna.
"What kind oI execution?"
"The bargello or his lieutenant will come to execute some 'ordine santissimo', or to visit some suspicious
dwelling in order to arrest and carry oII some person who does not expect anything oI the sort."
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"How do you know it?"
"His eminence has to know it, for the Pope would not venture to encroach upon his jurisdiction without asking
his permission."
"And his eminence has given it?"
"Yes, one of the Holy Father's auditors came for that purpose this morning."
"But the cardinal might have refused?"
"Of course; but such a permission is never denied."
"And if the person to be arrested happened to be under the protection of the cardinalwhat then?"
"His eminence would give timely warning to that person."
We changed the conversation, but the news had disturbed me. I fancied that the execution threatened Barbara
and her lover, for her father's house was under the Spanish jurisdiction. I tried to see the young man but I could
not succeed in meeting him, and I was afraid lest a visit at his home or at M. Dalacqua's dwelling might implicate
me. Yet it is certain that this last consideration would not have stopped me if I had been positively sure that they
were threatened; had I felt satisfied of their danger, I would have braved everything.
About midnight, as I was ready to go to bed, and just as I was opening my door to take the key from outside,
an abbe rushed panting into my room and threw himself on a chair. It was Barbara; I guessed what had taken
place, and, foreseeing all the evil consequences her visit might have for me, deeply annoyed and very anxious, I
upbraided her for having taken refuge in my room, and entreated her to go away.
Fool that I was! Knowing that I was only ruining myself without any chance of saving her, I ought to have
compelled her to leave my room, I ought to have called for the servants if she had refused to withdraw. But I had
not courage enough, or rather I voluntarily obeyed the decrees of destiny.
When she heard my order to go away, she threw herself on her knees, and melting into tears, she begged, she
entreated my pity!
Where is the heart of steel which is not softened by the tears, by the prayers of a pretty and unfortunate
woman? I gave way, but I told her that it was ruin for both of us.
"No one," she replied, "has seen me, I am certain, when I entered the mansion and came up to your room, and
I consider my visit here a week ago as most fortunate; otherwise, I never could have known which was your
room."
"Alas! how much better if you had never come! But what has become of your lover?"
"The 'sbirri' have carried him off, as well as the servant. I will tell you all about it. My lover had informed me
that a carriage would wait to-night at the foot of the flight of steps before the Church of Trinita del Monte, and
that he would be there himself. I entered his room through the garret window an hour ago. There I put on this
disguise, and, accompanied by the servant, proceeded to meet him. The servant walked a few yards before me,
and carried a parcel of my things. At the corner of the street, one of the buckles of my shoes being unfastened, I
stopped an instant, and the servant went on, thinking that I was following her. She reached the carriage, got into
it, and, as I was getting nearer, the light from a lantern disclosed to me some thirty sbirri; at the same instant, one
of them got on the driver's box and drove off at full speed, carrying off the servant, whom they must have
mistaken for me, and my lover who was in the coach awaiting me. What could I do at such a fearful moment? I
could not go back to my father's house, and I followed my first impulse which brought me here. And here I am!
You tell me that my presence will cause your ruin; if it is so, tell me what to do; I feel I am dying; but find some
expedient and I am ready to do anything, even to lay my life down, rather than be the cause of your ruin."
But she wept more bitterly than ever.
Her position was so sad that I thought it worse even than mine, although I could almost fancy I saw ruin before
me despite my innocence.
"Let me," I said, "conduct you to your father; I feel sure of obtaining your pardon."
But my proposal only enhanced her fears.
"I am lost," she exclaimed; "I know my father. Ah! reverend sir, turn me out into the street, and abandon me to
my miserable fate."
No doubt I ought to have done so, and I would have done it if the consciousness of what was due to my own
interest had been stronger than my feeling of pity. But her tears! I have often said it, and those amongst my
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readers who have experienced it, must be oI the same opinion; there is nothing on earth more irresistible than two
beautiIul eyes shedding tears, when the owner oI those eyes is handsome, honest, and unhappy. I Iound myselI
physically unable to send her away.
"My poor girl," I said at last, "when daylight comes, and that will not be long, Ior it is past midnight, what do
you intend to do?"
"I must leave the palace," she replied, sobbing. "In this disguise no one can recognize me; I will leave Rome,
and I will walk straight beIore me until I Iall on the ground, dying with grieI and Iatigue."
With these words she Iell on the Iloor. She was choking; I could see her Iace turn blue; I was in the greatest
distress.
I took oII her neck-band, unlaced her stays under the abbe's dress, I threw cold water in her Iace, and I Iinally
succeeded in bringing her back to consciousness.
The night was extremely cold, and there was no Iire in my room. I advised her to get into my bed, promising to
respect her.
"Alas! reverend sir, pity is the only Ieeling with which I can now inspire anyone."
And, to speak the truth I was too deeply moved, and, at the same time, too Iull oI anxiety, to leave room in me
Ior any desire. Having induced her to go to bed, and her extreme weakness preventing her Irom doing anything
Ior herselI, I undressed her and put her to bed, thus proving once more that compassion will silence the most
imperious requirements oI nature, in spite oI all the charms which would, under other circumstances, excite to the
highest degree the senses oI a man. I lay down near her in my clothes, and woke her at day-break. Her strength
was somewhat restored, she dressed herselI alone, and I leIt my room, telling her to keep quiet until my return. I
intended to proceed to her Iather's house, and to solicit her pardon, but, having perceived some suspicious-
looking men loitering about the palace, I thought it wise to alter my mind, and went to a coIIeehouse.
I soon ascertained that a spy was watching my movements at a distance; but I did not appear to notice him,
and having taken some chocolate and stored a Iew biscuits in my pocket, I returned towards the palace,
apparently without any anxiety or hurry, always Iollowed by the same individual. I judged that the bargello,
having Iailed in his project, was now reduced to guesswork, and I was strengthened in that view oI the case
when the gate-keeper oI the palace told me, without my asking any question, as I came in, that an arrest had
been attempted during the night, and had not succeeded. While he was speaking, one oI the auditors oI the
Vicar-General called to enquire when he could see the Abby Gama. I saw that no time was to be lost, and went
up to my room to decide upon what was to be done.
I began by making the poor girl eat a couple oI biscuits soaked in some Canary wine, and I took her
aIterwards to the top story oI the palace, where, leaving her in a not very decent closet which was not used by
anyone, I told her to wait Ior me.
My servant came soon aIter, and I ordered him to lock the door oI my room as soon as he Iinished cleaning it,
and to bring me the key at the Abbe Gama's apartment, where I was going. I Iound Gama in conversation with
the auditor sent by the Vicar-General. As soon as he had dismissed him, he came to me, and ordered his servant
to serve the chocolate. When we were leIt alone he gave me an account oI his interview with the auditor, who
had come to entreat his eminence to give orders to turn out oI his palace a person who was supposed to have
taken reIuge in it about midnight. "We must wait," said the abbe, "until the cardinal is visible, but I am quite
certain that, iI anyone has taken reIuge here unknown to him, his eminence will compel that person to leave the
palace." We then spoke oI the weather and other triIles until my servant brought my key. Judging that I had at
least an hour to spare, I bethought myselI oI a plan which alone could save Barbara Irom shame and misery.
Feeling certain that I was unobserved, I went up to my poor prisoner and made her write the Iollowing words
in French:
"I am an honest girl, monsignor, though I am disguised in the dress oI an abbe. I entreat your eminence to
allow me to give my name only to you and in person. I hope that, prompted by the great goodness oI your soul,
your eminence will save me Irom dishonour." I gave her the necessary instructions, as to sending the note to the
cardinal, assuring her that he would have her brought to him as soon as he read it.
"When you are in his presence," I added, "throw yourselI on your knees, tell him everything without any
concealment, except as regards your having passed the night in my room. You must be sure not to mention that
circumstance, Ior the cardinal must remain in complete ignorance oI my knowing anything whatever oI this
intrigue. Tell him that, seeing your lover carried oII, you rushed to his palace and ran upstairs as Iar as you could
go, and that aIter a most painIul night Heaven inspired you with the idea oI writing to him to entreat his pity. I Ieel
certain that, one way or the other, his eminence will save you Irom dishonour, and it certainly is the only chance
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you have oI being united to the man you love so dearly."
She promised to Iollow 'my instructions IaithIully, and, coming down, I had my hair dressed and went to
church, where the cardinal saw me. I then went out and returned only Ior dinner, during which the only subject oI
conversation was the adventure oI the night. Gama alone said nothing, and I Iollowed his example, but I
understood Irom all the talk going on round the table that the cardinal had taken my poor Barbara under his
protection. That was all I wanted, and thinking that I had nothing more to Iear I congratulated myselI, in petto,
upon my stratagem, which had, I thought, proved a master-stroke. AIter dinner, Iinding myselI alone with Gama,
I asked him what was the meaning oI it all, and this is what he told me:
"A Iather, whose name I do not know yet, had requested the assistance oI the Vicar-General to prevent his
son Irom carrying oII a young girl, with whom he intended to leave the States oI the Church; the pair had
arranged to meet at midnight in this very square, and the Vicar, having previously obtained the consent oI our
cardinal, as I told you yesterday, gave orders to the bargello to dispose his men in such a way as to catch the
young people in the very act oI running away, and to arrest them. The orders were executed, but the 'sbirri' Iound
out, when they returned to the bargello, that they had met with only a halI success, the woman who got out oI the
carriage with the young man not belonging to that species likely to be carried oII. Soon aIterwards a spy
inIormed the bargello that, at the very moment the arrest was executed, he had seen a young abbe run away very
rapidly and take reIuge in this palace, and the suspicion immediately arose that it might be the missing young lady
in the disguise oI an ecclesiastic. The bargello reported to the Vicar-General the Iailure oI his men, as well as the
account given by the spy, and the Prelate, sharing the suspicion oI the police, sent to his eminence, our master,
requesting him to have the person in question, man or woman, turned out oI the palace, unless such persons
should happen to be known to his excellency, and thereIore above suspicion. Cardinal Acquaviva was made
acquainted with these circumstances at nine this morning through the auditor you met in my room, and he
promised to have the person sent away unless she belonged to his household.
"According to his promise, the cardinal ordered the palace to be searched, but, in less than a quarter oI an
hour, the major-domo received orders to stop, and the only reason Ior these new instructions must be this:
"I am told by the major-domo that at nine o'clock exactly a very handsome, young abbe, whom he
immediately judged to be a girl in disguise, asked him to deliver a note to his eminence, and that the cardinal,
aIter reading it, had desired the said abbe be brought to his apartment, which he has not leIt since. As the order
to stop searching the palace was given immediately aIter the introduction oI the abbe to the cardinal, it is easy
enough to suppose that this ecclesiastic is no other than the young girl missed by the police, who took reIuge in
the palace in which she must have passed the whole night."
"I suppose," said I, "that his eminence will give her up to-day, iI not to the bargello, at least to the Vicar-
General."
"No, not even to the Pope himselI," answered Gama. "You have not yet a right idea oI the protection oI our
cardinal, and that protection is evidently granted to her, since the young person is not only in the palace oI his
eminence, but also in his own apartment and under his own guardianship."
The whole aIIair being in itselI very interesting, my attention could not appear extraordinary to Gama, however
suspicious he might be naturally, and I was certain that he would not have told me anything iI he had guessed the
share I had taken in the adventure, and the interest I must have Ielt in it.
The next day, Gama came to my room with a radiant countenance, and inIormed me that the Cardinal-Vicar
was aware oI the ravisher being my Iriend, and supposed that I was likewise the Iriend oI the girl, as she was the
daughter oI my French teacher. "Everybody," he added, "is satisIied that you knew the whole aIIair, and it is
natural to suspect that the poor girl spent the night in your room. I admire your prudent reserve during our
conversation oI yesterday. You kept so well on your guard that I would have sworn you knew nothing whatever
oI the aIIair."
"And it is the truth," I answered, very seriously; "I have only learned all the circumstances Irom you this
moment. I know the girl, but I have not seen her Ior six weeks, since I gave up my French lessons; I am much
better acquainted with the young man, but he never conIided his project to me. However, people may believe
whatever they please. You say that it is natural Ior the girl to have passed the night in my room, but you will not
mind my laughing in the Iace oI those who accept their own suppositions as realities."
"That, my dear Iriend," said the abbe, "is one oI the vices oI the Romans; happy those who can aIIord to laugh
at it; but this slander may do you harm, even in the mind oI our cardinal."
As there was no perIormance at the Opera that night, I went to the cardinal's reception; I Iound no diIIerence
towards me either in the cardinal's manners, or in those oI any other person, and the marchioness was even more
gracious than usual.
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AIter dinner, on the Iollowing day, Gama inIormed me that the cardinal had sent the young girl to a convent in
which she would be well treated at his eminence's expense, and that he was certain that she would leave it only to
become the wiIe oI the young doctor.
"I should be very happy iI it should turn out so," I replied; "Ior they are both most estimable people."
Two days aIterwards, I called upon Father Georgi, and he told me, with an air oI sorrow, that the great news
oI the day in Rome was the Iailure oI the attempt to carry oII Dalacqua's daughter, and that all the honour oI the
intrigue was given to me, which displeased him much. I told him what I had already told Gama, and he appeared
to believe me, but he added that in Rome people did not want to know things as they truly were, but only as they
wished them to be.
"It is known, that you have been in the habit oI going every morning to Dalacqua's house; it is known that the
young man oIten called on you; that is quite enough. People do not care, to know the circumstances which might
counteract the slander, but only those, likely to give it new Iorce Ior slander is vastly relished in the Holy City.
Your innocence will not prevent the whole adventure being booked to your account, iI, in Iorty years time you
were proposed as pope in the conclave."
During the Iollowing days the Iatal adventure began to cause me more annoyance than I could express, Ior
everyone mentioned it to me, and I could see clearly that people pretended to believe what I said only because
they did not dare to do otherwise. The marchioness told me jeeringly that the Signora Dalacqua had contracted
peculiar obligations towards me, but my sorrow was very great when, during the last days oI the carnival, I
remarked that Cardinal Acquaviva's manner had become constrained, although I was the only person who
observed the change.
The noise made by the aIIair was, however, beginning to subside, when, in the Iirst days oI Lent, the cardinal
desired me to come to his private room, and spoke as Iollows:
"The aIIair oI the girl Dalacqua is now over; it is no longer spoken oI, but the verdict oI the public is that you
and I have proIited by the clumsiness oI the young man who intended to carry her oII. In reality I care little Ior
such a verdict, Ior, under similar circumstances, I should always act in a similar manner, and I do not wish to
know that which no one can compel you to conIess, and which, as a man oI honour, you must not admit. II you
had no previous knowledge oI the intrigue, and had actually turned the girl out oI your room (supposing she did
come to you), you would have been guilty oI a wrong and cowardly action, because you would have sealed her
misery Ior the remainder oI her days, and it would not have caused you to escape the suspicion oI being an
accomplice, while at the same time it would have attached to you the odium oI dastardly treachery.
Notwithstanding all I have just said, you can easily imagine that, in spite oI my utter contempt Ior all gossiping
Iools, I cannot openly deIy them. I thereIore Ieel myselI compelled to ask you not only to quit my service, but
even to leave Rome. I undertake to supply you with an honourable pretext Ior your departure, so as to insure
you the continuation oI the respect which you may have secured through the marks oI esteem I have bestowed
upon you. I promise you to whisper in the ear oI any person you may choose, and even to inIorm everybody,
that you are going on an important mission which I have entrusted to you. You have only to name the country
where you want to go; I have Iriends everywhere, and can recommend you to such purpose that you will be sure
to Iind employment. My letters oI recommendation will be in my own handwriting, and nobody need know where
you are going. Meet me to-morrow at the Villa Negroni, and let me know where my letters are to be addressed.
You must be ready to start within a week. Believe me, I am sorry to lose you; but the sacriIice is Iorced upon me
by the most absurd prejudice. Go now, and do not let me witness your grieI."
He spoke the last words because he saw my eyes Iilling with tears, and he did not give me time to answer.
BeIore leaving his room, I had the strength oI mind to compose myselI, and I put on such an air oI cheerIulness
that the Abbe Gama, who took me to his room to drink some coIIee, complimented me upon my happy looks.
"I am sure," he said, "that they are caused by the conversation you have had with his eminence."
"You are right; but you do not know the sorrow at my heart which I try not to shew outwardly."
"What sorrow?"
"I am aIraid oI Iailing in a diIIicult mission which the cardinal has entrusted me with this morning. I am
compelled to conceal how little conIidence I Ieel in myselI in order not to lessen the good opinion his eminence is
pleased to entertain oI me."
"II my advice can be oI any service to you, pray dispose oI me; but you are quite right to chew yourselI calm
and cheerIul. Is it any business to transact in Rome?"
"No; it is a journey I shall have to undertake in a week or ten days."
"Which way?"
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"Towards the west."
"Oh! I am not curious to know."
I went out alone and took a walk in the Villa Borghese, where I spent two hours wrapped in dark despair. I
liked Rome, I was on the high road to Iortune, and suddenly I Iound myselI in the abyss, without knowing where
to go, and with all my hopes scattered to the winds. I examined my conduct, I judged myselI severely, I could
not Iind myselI guilty oI any crime save oI too much kindness, but I perceived how right the good Father Georgi
had been. My duty was not only to take no part in the intrigue oI the two love, but also to change my French
teacher the moment I beard oI it; but this was like calling in a doctor aIter death has struck the patient. Besides,
young as I was, having no experience yet oI misIortune, and still less oI the wickedness oI society, it was very
diIIicult Ior me to have that prudence which a man gains only by long intercourse with the world.
"Where shall I go?" This was the question which seemed to me impossible oI solution. I thought oI it all
through the night, and through the morning, but I thought in vain; aIter Rome, I was indiIIerent where I went to!
In the evening, not caring Ior any supper, I had gone to my room; the Abbe Gama came to me with a request
Irom the cardinal not to accept any invitation to dinner Ior the next day, as he wanted to speak to me. I thereIore
waited upon his eminence the next day at the Villa Negroni; he was walking with his secretary, whom he
dismissed the moment he saw me. As soon as we were alone, I gave him all the particulars oI the intrigue oI the
two lovers, and I expressed in the most vivid manner the sorrow I Ielt at leaving his service.
"I have no hope oI success," I added, "Ior I am certain that Fortune will smile upon me only as long as I am
near your eminence."
For nearly an hour I told him all the grieI with which my heart was bursting, weeping bitterly; yet I could not
move him Irom his decision. Kindly, but Iirmly he pressed me to tell him to what part oI Europe I wanted to go,
and despair as much as vexation made me name Constantinople.
"Constantinople!" he exclaimed, moving back a step or two.
"Yes, monsignor, Constantinople," I repeated, wiping away my tears.
The prelate, a man oI great wit, but a Spaniard to the very back-bone, aIter remaining silent a Iew minutes,
said, with a smile,
"I am glad you have not chosen Ispahan, as I should have Ielt rather embarrassed. When do you wish to go?"
"This day week, as your eminence has ordered me."
"Do you intend to sail Irom Naples or Irom Venice?"
"From Venice."
"I will give you such a passport as will be needed, Ior you will Iind two armies in winter-quarters in the
Romagna. It strikes me that you may tell everybody that I sent you to Constantinople, Ior nobody will believe
you."
This diplomatic suggestion nearly made me smile. The cardinal told me that I should dine with him, and he leIt
me to join his secretary.
When I returned to the palace, thinking oI the choice I had made, I said to myselI, "Either I am mad, or I am
obeying the impulse oI a mysterious genius which sends me to Constantinople to work out my Iate." I was only
astonished that the cardinal had so readily accepted my choice. "Without any doubt," I thought, "he did not wish
me to believe that he had boasted oI more than he could achieve, in telling me that he had Iriends everywhere.
But to whom can he recommend me in Constantinople? I have not the slightest idea, but to Constantinople I must
go."
I dined alone with his eminence; he made a great show oI peculiar kindness and I oI great satisIaction, Ior my
selI-pride, stronger even than my sorrow, Iorbade me to let anyone guess that I was in disgrace. My deepest
grieI was, however, to leave the marchioness, with whom I was in love, and Irom whom I had not obtained any
important Iavour.
Two days aIterwards, the cardinal gave me a passport Ior Venice, and a sealed letter addressed to Osman
Bonneval, Pacha oI Caramania, in Constantinople. There was no need oI my saying anything to anyone, but, as
the cardinal had not Iorbidden me to do it, I shewed the address on the letter to all my acquaintances.
The Chevalier de Lezze, the Venetian Ambassador, gave me a letter Ior a wealthy Turk, a very worthy man
who had been his Iriend; Don Gaspar and Father Georgi asked me to write to them, but the Abbe Gams,
laughed, and said he was quite sure I was not going to Constantinople.
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I went to take my Iarewell oI Donna Cecilia, who had just received a letter Irom Lucrezia, imparting the news
that she would soon be a mother. I also called upon Angelique and Don Francisco, who had lately been married
and had not invited me to the wedding.
When I called to take Cardinal Acquaviva's Iinal instructions he gave me a purse containing one hundred
ounces, worth seven hundred sequins. I had three hundred more, so that my Iortune amounted to one thousand
sequins; I kept two hundred, and Ior the rest I took a letter oI exchange upon a Ragusan who was established in
Ancona. I leIt Rome in the coach with a lady going to Our Lady oI Loretto, to IulIil a vow made during a severe
illness oI her daughter, who accompanied her. The young lady was ugly; my journey was a rather tedious one.
CHAPTER I
My Short But Rather Too Gay Visit To AnconaCecilia,
Marina, Bellinothe Greek Slave of the LazzarettoBellino
Discovers Himself
I arrived in Ancona on the 25th oI February, 1744, and put up at the best inn. Pleased with my room, I told
mine host to prepare Ior me a good meat dinner; but he answered that during Lent all good Catholics eat nothing
but Iish.
"The Holy Father has granted me permission to eat meat."
"Let me see your permission."
"He gave it to me by word oI mouth."
"Reverend sir, I am not obliged to believe you."
"You are a Iool."
"I am master in my own house, and I beg you will go to some other inn."
Such an answer, coupled to a most unexpected notice to quit, threw me into a violent passion. I was swearing,
raving, screaming, when suddenly a grave-looking individual made his appearance in my room, and said to me:
"Sir, you are wrong in calling Ior meat, when in Ancona Iish is much better; you are wrong in expecting the
landlord to believe you on your bare word; and iI you have obtained the permission Irom the Pope, you have
been wrong in soliciting it at your age; you have been wrong in not asking Ior such permission in writing; you are
wrong in calling the host a Iool, because it is a compliment that no man is likely to accept in his own house; and,
Iinally, you are wrong in making such an uproar."
Far Irom increasing my bad temper, this individual, who had entered my room only to treat me to a sermon,
made me laugh.
"I willingly plead guilty, sir," I answered, "to all the counts which you allege against me; but it is raining, it is
getting late, I am tired and hungry, and thereIore you will easily understand that I do not Ieel disposed to change
my quarters. Will you give me some supper, as the landlord reIuses to do so?"
"No," he replied, with great composure, "because I am a good Catholic and Iast. But I will undertake to make
it all right Ior you with the landlord, who will give you a good supper."
Thereupon he went downstairs, and I, comparing my hastiness to his calm, acknowledged the man worthy oI
teaching me some lessons. He soon came up again, inIormed me that peace was signed, and that I would be
served immediately.
"Will you not take supper with me?"
"No, but I will keep you company."
I accepted his oIIer, and to learn who he was, I told him my name, giving myselI the title oI secretary to
Cardinal Acquaviva.
"My name is Sancio Pico," he said; "I am a Castilian, and the 'proveditore' oI the army oI H. C. M., which is
commanded by Count de Gages under the orders oI the generalissimo, the Duke oI Modem."
My excellent appetite astonished him, and he enquired whether I had dined. "No," said I; and I saw his
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countenance assume an air oI satisIaction.
"Are you not aIraid such a supper will hurt you?" he said.
"On the contrary, I hope it will do me a great deal oI good."
"Then you have deceived the Pope?"
"No, Ior I did not tell him that I had no appetite, but only that I liked meat better than Iish."
"II you Ieel disposed to hear some good music," he said a moment aIter, "Iollow me to the next room; the
prima donna oI Ancona lives there."
The words prima donna interested me at once, and I Iollowed him. I saw, sitting beIore a table, a woman
already somewhat advanced in age, with two young girls and two boys, but I looked in vain Ior the actress,
whom Don Sancio Pico at last presented to me in the shape oI one oI the two boys, who was remarkably
handsome and might have been seventeen. I thought he was a 'castrato' who, as is the custom in Rome,
perIormed all the parts oI a prima donna. The mother presented to, me her other son, likewise very good-
looking, but more manly than the 'castrato', although younger. His name was Petronio, and, keeping up the
transIormations oI the Iamily, he was the Iirst Iemale dancer at the opera. The eldest girl, who was also
introduced to me, was named Cecilia, and studied music; she was twelve years old; the youngest, called Marina,
was only eleven, and like her brother Petronio was consecrated to the worship oI Terpsichore. Both the girls
were very pretty.
The Iamily came Irom Bologna and lived upon the talent oI its members; cheerIulness and amiability replaced
wealth with them. Bellino, such was the name oI the castrato, yielding to the entreaties oI Don Sancio, rose Irom
the table, went to the harpiscord, and sang with the voice oI an angel and with delightIul grace. The Castilian
listened with his eyes closed in an ecstasy oI enjoyment, but I, Iar Irom closing my eyes, gazed into Bellino's,
which seemed to dart amorous lightnings upon me. I could discover in him some oI the Ieatures oI Lucrezia and
the graceIul manner oI the marchioness, and everything betrayed a beautiIul woman, Ior his dress concealed but
imperIectly the most splendid bosom. The consequence was that, in spite oI his having been introduced as a man,
I Iancied that the so-called Bellino was a disguised beauty, and, my imagination taking at once the highest Ilight, I
became thoroughly enamoured.
We spent two very pleasant hours, and I returned to my room accompanied by the Castilian. "I intend to leave
very early to-morrow morning," he said, "Ior Sinigaglia, with the Abbe Vilmarcati, but I expect to return Ior
supper the day aIter to-morrow." I wished him a happy journey, saying that we would most 'likely meet on the
road, as I should probably leave Ancona myselI on the same day, aIter paying a visit to my banker.
I went to bed thinking oI Bellino and oI the impression he had made upon me; I was sorry to go away without
having proved to him that I was not the dupe oI his disguise. Accordingly, I was well pleased to see him enter my
room in the morning as soon as I had opened my door. He came to oIIer me the services oI his young brother
Petronio during my stay in Ancona, instead oI my engaging a valet de place. I willingly agreed to the proposal,
and sent Petronio to get coIIee Ior all the Iamily.
I asked Bellino to sit on my bed with the intention oI making love to him, and oI treating him like a girl, but the
two young sisters ran into my room and disturbed my plans. Yet the trio Iormed beIore me a very pleasing sight;
they represented natural beauty and artless cheerIulness oI three diIIerent kinds; unobtrusive Iamiliarity, theatrical
wit, pleasing playIulness, and pretty Bolognese manners which I witnessed Ior the Iirst time; all this would have
suIIiced to cheer me iI I had been downcast. Cecilia and Marina were two sweet rosebuds, which, to bloom in
all their beauty, required only the inspiration oI love, and they would certainly have had the preIerence over
Bellino iI I had seen in him only the miserable outcast oI mankind, or rather the pitiIul victim oI sacerdotal cruelty,
Ior, in spite oI their youth, the two amiable girls oIIered on their dawning bosom the precious image oI
womanhood.
Petronio came with the coIIee which he poured out, and I sent some to the mother, who never leIt her room.
Petronio was a true male harlot by taste and by proIession. The species is not scare in Italy, where the oIIence is
not regarded with the wild and Ierocious intolerance oI England and Spain. I had given him one sequin to pay Ior
the coIIee, and told him to keep the change, and, to chew me his gratitude, he gave me a voluptuous kiss with
halI-open lips, supposing in me a taste which I was very Iar Irom entertaining. I disabused him, but he did not
seem the least ashamed. I told him to order dinner Ior six persons, but he remarked that he would order it only
Ior Iour, as he had to keep his dear mother company; she always took her dinner in bed. Everyone to his taste, I
thought, and I let him do as he pleased.
Two minutes aIter he had gone, the landlord came to my room and said, "Reverend sir, the persons you have
invited here have each the appetite oI two men at least; I give you notice oI it, because I must charge
accordingly." "All right," I replied, "but let us have a good dinner."
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When I was dressed, I thought I ought to pay my compliments to the compliant mother. I went to her room,
and congratulated her upon her children. She thanked me Ior the present I had given to Petronio, and began to
make me the conIidant oI her distress. "The manager oI the theatre," she said, "is a miser who has given us only
IiIty Roman crowns Ior the whole carnival. We have spent them Ior our living, and, to return to Bologna, we shall
have to walk and beg our way." Her conIidence moved my pity, so I took a gold quadruple Irom my purse and
oIIered it to her; she wept Ior joy and gratitude.
"I promise you another gold quadruple, madam," I said, "iI you will conIide in me entirely. ConIess that Bellino
is a pretty woman in disguise."
"I can assure you it is not so, although he has the appearance oI a woman."
"Not only the appearance, madam, but the tone, the manners; I am a good judge."
"Nevertheless, he is a boy, Ior he has had to be examined beIore he could sing on the stage here."
"And who examined him?"
"My lord bishop's chaplain."
"A chaplain?"
"Yes, and you may satisIy yourselI by enquiring Irom him."
"The only way to clear my doubts would be to examine him myselI."
"You may, iI he has no objection, but truly I cannot interIere, as I do not know what your intentions are."
"They are quite natural."
I returned to my room and sent Petronio Ior a bottle oI Cyprus wine. He brought the wine and seven sequins,
the change Ior the doubloon I had given him. I divided them between Bellino, Cecilia and Marina, and begged
the two young girls to leave me alone with their brother.
"Bellino, I am certain that your natural conIormation is diIIerent Irom mine; my dear, you are a girl."
"I am a man, but a castrato; I have been examined."
"Allow me to examine you likewise, and I will give you a doubloon."
"I cannot, Ior it is evident that you love me, and such love is condemned by religion."
"You did not raise these objections with the bishop's chaplain."
"He was an elderly priest, and besides, he only just glanced at me."
"I will know the truth," said I, extending my hand boldly.
But he repulsed me and rose Irom his chair. His obstinacy vexed me, Ior I had already spent IiIteen or sixteen
sequins to satisIy my curiosity.
I began my dinner with a very bad humour, but the excellent appetite oI my pretty guests brought me round,
and I soon thought that, aIter all, cheerIulness was better than sulking, and I resolved to make up Ior my
disappointment with the two charming sisters, who seemed well disposed to enjoy a Irolic.
I began by distributing a Iew innocent kisses right and leIt, as I sat between them near a good Iire, eating
chestnuts which we wetted with Cyprus wine. But very soon my greedy hands touched every part which my lips
could not kiss, and Cecilia, as well as Marina, delighted in the game. Seeing that Bellino was smiling, I kissed him
likewise, and his halI-open ruIIle attracting my hand, I ventured and went in without resistance. The chisel oI
Praxiteles had never carved a Iiner bosom!
"Oh! this is enough," I exclaimed; "I can no longer doubt that you are a beautiIully-Iormed woman!"
"It is," he replied, "the deIect oI all castrati."
"No, it is the perIection oI all handsome women. Bellino, believe me, I am enough oI a good judge to
distinguish between the deIormed breast oI a castrato, and that oI a beautiIul woman; and your alabaster bosom
belongs to a young beauty oI seventeen summers."
Who does not know that love, inIlamed by all that can excite it, never stops in young people until it is satisIied,
and that one Iavour granted kindles the wish Ior a greater one? I had begun well, I tried to go Iurther and to
smother with burning kisses that which my hand was pressing so ardently, but the Ialse Bellino, as iI he had only
just been aware oI the illicit pleasure I was enjoying, rose and ran away. Anger increased in me the ardour oI
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love, and feeling the necessity of calming myself either by satisfying my ardent desires or by evaporating them, I
begged Cecilia, Bellino's pupil, to sing a few Neapolitan airs.
I then went out to call upon the banker, from whom I took a letter of exchange at sight upon Bologna, for the
amount I had to receive from him, and on my return, after a light supper with the two young sisters, I prepared to
go to bed, having previously instructed Petronio to order a carriage for the morning.
I was just locking my door when Cecilia, half undressed, came in to say that Bellino begged me to take him to
Rimini, where he was engaged to sing in an opera to be performed after Easter.
"Go and tell him, my dear little seraph, that I am ready to do what he wishes, if he will only grant me in your
presence what I desire; I want to know for a certainty whether he is a man or a woman."
She left me and returned soon, saying that Bellino had gone to bed, but that if I would postpone my departure
for one day only he promised to satisfy me on the morrow.
"Tell me the truth, Cecilia, and I will give you six sequins."
"I cannot earn them, for I have never seen him naked, and I cannot swear to his being a girl. But he must be a
man, otherwise he would not have been allowed to perform here."
"Well, I will remain until the day after to-morrow, provided you keep me company tonight."
"Do you love me very much?"
"Very much indeed, if you shew yourself very kind."
"I will be very kind, for I love you dearly likewise. I will go and tell my mother."
"Of course you have a lover?"
"I never had one."
She left my room, and in a short time came back full of joy, saying that her mother believed me an honest man;
she of course meant a generous one. Cecilia locked the door, and throwing herself in my arms covered me with
kisses. She was pretty, charming, but I was not in love with her, and I was not able to say to her as to Lucrezia:
"You have made me so happy!" But she said it herself, and I did not feel much flattered, although I pretended to
believe her. When I woke up in the morning I gave her a tender salutation, and presenting her with three
doubloons, which must have particularly delighted the mother, I sent her away without losing my time in
promising everlasting constancya promise as absurd as it is trifling, and which the most virtuous man ought
never to make even to the most beautiful of women.
After breakfast I sent for mine host and ordered an excellent supper for five persons, feeling certain that Don
Sancio, whom I expected in the evening, would not refuse to honour me by accepting my invitation, and with that
idea I made up my mind to go without my dinner. The Bolognese family did not require to imitate my diet to
insure a good appetite for the evening.
I then summoned Bellino to my room, and claimed the performance of his promise but he laughed, remarked
that the day was not passed yet, and said that he was certain of traveling with me.
"I fairly warn you that you cannot accompany me unless I am fully satisfied."
"Well, I will satisfy you."
"Shall we go and take a walk together?"
"Willingly; I will dress myself."
While I was waiting for him, Marina came in with a dejected countenance, enquiring how she had deserved
my contempt.
"Cecilia has passed the night with you, Bellino will go with you to-morrow, I am the most unfortunate of us all."
"Do you want money?"
"No, for I love you."
"But, Marinetta, you are too young."
"I am much stronger than my sister."
"Perhaps you have a lover."
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"Oh! no."
"Very well, we can try this evening."
"Good! Then I will tell mother to prepare clean sheets for to-morrow morning; otherwise everybody here
would know that I slept with you."
I could not help admiring the fruits of a theatrical education, and was much amused.
Bellino came back, we went out together, and we took our walk towards the harbour. There were several
vessels at anchor, and amongst them a Venetian ship and a Turkish tartan. We went on board the first which we
visited with interest, but not seeing anyone of my acquaintance, we rowed towards the Turkish tartan, where the
most romantic surprise awaited me. The first person I met on board was the beautiful Greek woman I had left in
Ancona, seven months before, when I went away from the lazzaretto. She was seated near the old captain, of
whom I enquired, without appearing to notice his handsome slave, whether he had any fine goods to sell. He
took us to his cabin, but as I cast a glance towards the charming Greek, she expressed by her looks all her
delight at such an unexpected meeting.
I pretended not to be pleased with the goods shewn by the Turk, and under the impulse of inspiration I told
him that I would willingly buy something pretty which would take the fancy of his better-half. He smiled, and the
Greek slave-having whispered a few words to him, he left the cabin. The moment he was out of sight, this new
Aspasia threw herself in my arms, saying, "Now is your time!" I would not be found wanting in courage, and
taking the most convenient position in such a place, I did to her in one instant that which her old master had not
done in five years. I had not yet reached the goal of my wishes, when the unfortunate girl, hearing her master,
tore herself from my arms with a deep sigh, and placing herself cunningly in front of me, gave me time to repair
the disorder of my dress, which might have cost me my life, or at least all I possessed to compromise the affair.
In that curious situation, I was highly amused at the surprise of Bellino, who stood there trembling like an aspen
leaf.
The trifles chosen by the handsome slave cost me only thirty sequins. 'Spolaitis', she said to me in her own
language, and the Turk telling her that she ought to kiss me, she covered her face with her hands, and ran away. I
left the ship more sad than pleased, for I regretted that, in spite of her courage, she should have enjoyed only an
incomplete pleasure. As soon as we were in our row boat, Bellino, who had recovered from his fright, told me
that I had just made him acquainted with a phenomenon, the reality of which he could not admit, and which gave
him a very strange idea of my nature; that, as far as the Greek girl was concerned, he could not make her out,
unless I should assure him that every woman in her country was like her. "How unhappy they must be!" he
added.
"Do you think," I asked, "that coquettes are happier?"
"No, but I think that when a woman yields to love, she should not be conquered before she has fought with
her own desires; she should not give way to the first impulse of a lustful desire and abandon herself to the first
man who takes her fancy, like an animalthe slave of sense. You must confess that the Greek woman has given
you an evident proof that you had taken her fancy, but that she has at the same time given you a proof not less
certain of her beastly lust, and of an effrontery which exposed her to the shame of being repulsed, for she could
not possibly know whether you would feel as well disposed for her as she felt for you. She is very handsome,
and it all turned out well, but the adventure has thrown me into a whirlpool of agitation which I cannot yet
control."
I might easily have put a stop to Bellino's perplexity, and rectified the mistake he was labouring under; but such
a confession would not have ministered to my self-love, and I held my peace, for, if Bellino happened to be a girl,
as I suspected, I wanted her to be convinced that I attached, after all, but very little importance to the great affair,
and that it was not worth while employing cunning expedients to obtain it.
We returned to the inn, and, towards evening, hearing Don Sancio's travelling carriage roll into the yard, I
hastened to meet him, and told him that I hoped he would excuse me if I had felt certain that he would not refuse
me the honour of his company to supper with Bellino. He thanked me politely for the pleasure I was so delicately
offering him, and accepted my invitation.
The most exquisite dishes, the most delicious wines of Spain, and, more than everything else, the cheerfulness
and the charming voices of Bellino and of Cecilia, gave the Castilian five delightful hours. He left me at midnight,
saying that he could not declare himself thoroughly pleased unless I promised to sup with him the next evening
with the same guests. It would compel me to postpone my departure for another day, but I accepted.
As soon as Don Sancio had gone, I called upon Bellino to fulfil his promise, but he answered that Marinetta
was waiting for me, and that, as I was not going away the next day, he would find an opportunity of satisfying my
doubts; and wishing me a good night, he left the room.
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Marinetta, as cheerful as a lark, ran to lock the door and came back to me, her eyes beaming with ardour.
She was more formed than Cecilia, although one year younger, and seemed anxious to convince me of her
superiority, but, thinking that the fatigue of the preceding night might have exhausted my strength, she unfolded all
the amorous ideas of her mind, explained at length all she knew of the great mystery she was going to enact with
me, and of all the contrivances she had had recourse to in order to acquire her imperfect knowledge, the whole
interlarded with the foolish talk natural to her age. I made out that she was afraid of my not finding her a maiden,
and of my reproaching her about it. Her anxiety pleased me, and I gave her a new confidence by telling her that
nature had refused to many young girls what is called maidenhood, and that only a fool could be angry with a girl
for such a reason.
My science gave her courage and confidence, and I was compelled to acknowledge that she was very
superior to her sister.
"I am delighted you find me so," she said; "we must not sleep at all throughout the night."
"Sleep, my darling, will prove our friend, and our strength renewed by repose will reward you in the morning
for what you may suppose lost time."
And truly, after a quiet sleep, the morning was for her a succession of fresh triumphs, and I crowned her
happiness by sending her away with three doubloons, which she took to her mother, and which gave the good
woman an insatiable desire to contract new obligations towards Providence.
I went out to get some money from the banker, as I did not know what might happen during my journey. I had
enjoyed myself, but I had spent too much: yet there was Bellino who, if a girl, was not to find me less generous
than I had been with the two young sisters. It was to be decided during the day, and I fancied that I was sure of
the result.
There are some persons who pretend that life is only a succession of misfortunes, which is as much as to say
that life itself is a misfortune; but if life is a misfortune, death must be exactly the reverse and therefore death must
be happiness, since death is the very reverse of life. That deduction may appear too finely drawn. But those who
say that life is a succession of misfortunes are certainly either ill or poor; for, if they enjoyed good health, if they
had cheerfulness in their heart and money in their purse, if they had for their enjoyment a Cecilia, a Marinetta, and
even a more lovely beauty in perspective, they would soon entertain a very different opinion of life! I hold them to
be a race of pessimists, recruited amongst beggarly philosophers and knavish, atrabilious theologians. If pleasure
does exist, and if life is necessary to enjoy pleasure, then life is happiness. There are misfortunes, as I know by
experience; but the very existence of such misfortunes proves that the sum-total of happiness is greater. Because
a few thorns are to be found in a basket full of roses, is the existence of those beautiful flowers to be denied? No;
it is a slander to deny that life is happiness. When I am in a dark room, it pleases me greatly to see through a
window an immense horizon before me.
As supper-time was drawing near, I went to Don Sancio, whom I found in magnificently-furnished apartments.
The table was loaded with silver plate, and his servants were in livery. He was alone, but all his guests arrived
soon after meCecilia, Marina, and Bellino, who, either by caprice or from taste, was dressed as a woman. The
two young sisters, prettily arranged, looked charming, but Bellino, in his female costume, so completely threw
them into the shade, that my last doubt vanished.
"Are you satisfied," I said to Don Sancio, "that Bellino is a woman?"
"Woman or man, what do I care! I think he is a very pretty 'castrato', and 'I have seen many as good-looking
as he is."
"But are you sure he is a 'castrato'?"
"'Valgame Dios'!" answered the grave Castilian, "I have not the slightest wish to ascertain the truth."
Oh, how widely different our thoughts were! I admired in him the wisdom of which I was so much in need,
and did not venture upon any more indiscreet questions. During the supper, however, my greedy eyes could not
leave that charming being; my vicious nature caused me to feel intense voluptuousness in believing him to be of
that sex to which I wanted him to belong.
Don Sancio's supper was excellent, and, as a matter of course, superior to mine; otherwise the pride of the
Castilian would have felt humbled. As a general rule, men are not satisfied with what is good; they want the best,
or, to speak more to the point, the most. He gave us white truffles, several sorts of shell-fish, the best fish of the
Adriatic, dry champagne, peralta, sherry and pedroximenes wines.
After that supper worthy of Lucullus, Bellino sang with a voice of such beauty that it deprived us of the small
amount of reason left in us by the excellent wine. His movements, the expression of his looks, his gait, his walk,
his countenance, his voice, and, above all, my own instinct, which told me that I could not possibly feel for a
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castrato what I Ielt Ior Bellino, conIirmed me in my hopes; yet it was necessary that my eyes should ascertain the
truth.
AIter many compliments and a thousand thanks, we took leave oI the grand Spaniard, and went to my room,
where the mystery was at last to be unravelled. I called upon Bellino to keep his word, or I threatened to leave
him alone the next morning at day-break.
I took him by the hand, and we seated ourselves near the Iire. I dismissed Cecilia and Marina, and I said to
him,
"Bellino, everything must have an end; you have promised: it will soon be over. II you are what you represent
yourselI to be, I will let you go back to your own room; iI you are what I believe you to be, and iI you consent to
remain with me to-night, I will give you one hundred sequins, and we will start together tomorrow morning."
"You must go alone, and Iorgive me iI I cannot IulIil my promise. I am what I told you, and I can neither
reconcile myselI to the idea oI exposing my shame beIore you, nor lay myselI open to the terrible consequences
that might Iollow the solution oI your doubts."
"There can be no consequences, since there will be an end to it at the moment I have assured myselI that you
are unIortunate enough to be what you say, and without ever mentioning the circumstances again, I promise to
take you with me to-morrow and to leave you at Rimini."
"No, my mind is made up; I cannot satisIy your curiosity."
Driven to madness by his words, I was very near using violence, but subduing my angry Ieelings, I endeavored
to succeed by gentle means and by going straight to the spot where the mystery could be solved. I was very near
it, when his hand opposed a very strong resistance. I repeated my eIIorts, but Bellino, rising suddenly, repulsed
me, and I Iound myselI undone. AIter a Iew moments oI calm, thinking I should take him by surprise, I extended
my hand, but I drew back terriIied, Ior I Iancied that I had recognized in him a man, and a degraded man,
contemptible less on account oI his degradation than Ior the want oI Ieeling I thought I could read on his
countenance. Disgusted, conIused, and almost blushing Ior myselI, I sent him away.
His sisters came to my room, but I dismissed them, sending word to their brother that he might go with me,
without any Iear oI Iurther indiscretion on my part. Yet, in spite oI the conviction I thought I had acquired,
Bellino, even such as I believe him to be, Iilled my thoughts; I could not make it out.
Early the next morning I leIt Ancona with him, distracted by the tears oI the two charming sisters and loaded
with the blessings oI the mother who, with beads in hand, mumbled her 'paternoster', and repeated her constant
theme: 'Dio provedera'.
The trust placed in Providence by most oI those persons who earn their living by some proIession Iorbidden
by religion is neither absurd, nor Ialse, nor deceitIul; it is real and even godly, Ior it Ilows Irom an excellent
source. Whatever may be the ways oI Providence, human beings must always acknowledge it in its action, and
those who call upon Providence independently oI all external consideration must, at the bottom, be worthy,
although guilty oI transgressing its laws.
'Pcha Laea,
Da ihi faee; da j ace idei;
Nce eccai, e fadib bjice be.'
Such was the way in which, in the days oI Horace, robbers addressed their goddess, and I recollect a Jesuit
who told me once that Horace would not have known his own language, iI he had said justo sanctoque: but there
were ignorant men even amongst the Jesuits, and robbers most likely have but little respect Ior the rules oI
grammar.
The next morning I started with Bellino, who, believing me to be undeceived, could suppose that I would not
shew any more curiosity about him, but we had not been a quarter oI an hour together when he Iound out his
mistake, Ior I could not let my looks Iall upon his splendid eyes without Ieeling in me a Iire which the sight oI a
man could not have ignited. I told him that all his Ieatures were those oI a woman, and that I wanted the
testimony oI my eyes beIore I could Ieel perIectly satisIied, because the protuberance I had Ielt in a certain place
might be only a Ireak oI nature. "Should it be the case," I added, "I should have no diIIiculty in passing over a
deIormity which, in reality, is only laughable. Bellino, the impression you produce upon me, this sort oI
magnetism, your bosom worthy oI Venus herselI, which you have once abandoned to my eager hand, the sound
oI your voice, every movement oI yours, assure me that you do not belong to my sex. Let me see Ior myselI,
and, iI my conjectures are right, depend upon my IaithIul love; iI, on the contrary, I Iind that I have been
mistaken, you can rely upon my Iriendship. II you reIuse me, I shall be compelled to believe that you are cruelly
enjoying my misery, and that you have learned in the most accursed school that the best way oI preventing a
young man Irom curing himselI oI an amorous passion is to excite it constantly; but you must agree with me that,
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to put such tyranny in practice, it is necessary to hate the person it is practised upon, and, iI that be so, I ought to
call upon my reason to give me the strength necessary to hate you likewise."
I went on speaking Ior a long time; Bellino did not answer, but he seemed deeply moved. At last I told him
that, in the IearIul state to which I was reduced by his resistance, I should be compelled to treat him without any
regard Ior his Ieelings, and Iind out the truth by Iorce. He answered with much warmth and dignity: "Recollect
that you are not my master, that I am in your hands, because I had Iaith in your promise, and that, iI you use
violence, you will be guilty oI murder. Order the postillion to stop, I will get out oI the carriage, and you may rely
upon my not complaining oI your treatment."
Those Iew words were Iollowed by a torrent oI tears, a sight which I never could resist. I Ielt myselI moved in
the inmost recesses oI my soul, and I almost thought that I had been wrong. I say almost, because, had I been
convinced oI it, I would have thrown myselI at his Ieet entreating pardon; but, not Ieeling myselI competent to
stand in judgment in my own cause, I satisIied myselI by remaining dull and silent, and I never uttered one word
until we were only halI a mile Irom Sinigaglia, where I intended to take supper and to remain Ior the night. Having
Iought long enough with my own Ieelings, I said to him;
"We might have spent a little time in Rimini like good Iriends, iI you had Ielt any Iriendship Ior me, Ior, with a
little kind compliance, you could have easily cured me oI my passion."
"It would not cure you," answered Bellino, courageously, but with a sweetness oI tone which surprised me;
"no, you would not be cured, whether you Iound me to be man or woman, Ior you are in love with me
independently oI my sex, and the certainty you would acquire would make you Iurious. In such a state, should
you Iind me inexorable, you would very likely give way to excesses which would aIterwards cause you deep
sorrow."
"You expect to make me admit that you are right, but you are completely mistaken, Ior I Ieel that I should
remain perIectly calm, and that by complying with my wishes you would gain my Iriendship."
"I tell you again that you would become Iurious."
"Bellino, that which has made me Iurious is the sight oI your charms, either too real or too completely
deceiving, the power oI which you cannot aIIect to ignore. You have not been aIraid to ignite my amorous Iury,
how can you expect me to believe you now, when you pretend to Iear it, and when I am only asking you to let
me touch a thing, which, iI it be as you say, will only disgust me?"
"Ah! disgust you; I am quite certain oI the contrary. Listen to me. Were I a girl, I Ieel I could not resist loving
you, but, being a man, it is my duty not to grant what you desire, Ior your passion, now very natural, would then
become monstrous. Your ardent nature would be stronger than your reason, and your reason itselI would easily
come to the assistance oI your senses and oI your nature. That violent clearing-up oI the mystery, were you to
obtain it, would leave you deprived oI all control over yourselI. Disappointed in not Iinding what you had
expected, you would satisIy your passion upon that which you would Iind, and the result would, oI course, be an
abomination. How can you, intelligent as you are, Ilatter yourselI that, Iinding me to be a man, you could all at
once cease to love me? Would the charms which you now see in me cease to exist then? Perhaps their power
would, on the contrary, be enhanced, and your passion, becoming brutal, would lead you to take any means your
imagination suggested to gratiIy it. You would persuade yourselI that you might change me into a woman, or,
what is worse, that you might change yourselI into one. Your passion would invent a thousand sophisms to justiIy
your love, decorated with the Iine appellation oI Iriendship, and you would not Iail to allege hundreds oI similarly
disgusting cases in order to excuse your conduct. You would certainly never Iind me compliant; and how am I to
know that you would not threaten me with death?"
"Nothing oI the sort would happen, Bellino," I answered, rather tired oI the length oI his argument, "positively
nothing, and I am sure you are exaggerating your Iears. Yet I am bound to tell you that, even iI all you say should
happen, it seems to me that to allow what can strictly be considered only as a temporary Iit oI insanity, would
prove a less evil than to render incurable a disease oI the mind which reason would soon cut short."
Thus does a poor philosopher reason when he takes it into his head to argue at those periods during which a
passion raging in his soul makes all its Iaculties wander. To reason well, we must be under the sway neither oI
love nor oI anger, Ior those two passions have one thing in common which is that, in their excess, they lower us
to the condition oI brutes acting only under the inIluence oI their predominating instinct, and, unIortunately, we are
never more disposed to argue than when we Ieel ourselves under the inIluence oI either oI those two powerIul
human passions.
We arrived at Sinigaglia late at night, and I went to the best inn, and, aIter choosing a comIortable room,
ordered supper. As there was but one bed in the room, I asked Bellino, in as calm a tone as I could assume,
whether he would have a Iire lighted in another chamber, and my surprise may be imagined when he answered
quietly that he had no objection to sleep in the same bed with me. Such an answer, however, unexpected, was
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necessary to dispel the angry Ieelings under which I was labouring. I guessed that I was near the denouement oI
the romance, but I was very Iar Irom congratulating myselI, Ior I did not know whether the denouement would
prove agreeable or not. I Ielt, however, a real satisIaction at having conquered, and was sure oI my selI-control,
in case the senses, my natural instinct, led me astray. But iI I Iound myselI in the right, I thought I could expect the
most precious Iavours.
We sat down to supper opposite each other, and during the meal, his words, his countenance, the expression
oI his beautiIul eyes, his sweet and voluptuous smile, everything seemed to announce that he had had enough oI
playing a part which must have proved as painIul to him as to me.
A weight was liIted oII my mind, and I managed to shorten the supper as much as possible. As soon as we
had leIt the table, my amiable companion called Ior a night-lamp, undressed himselI, and went to bed. I was not
long in Iollowing him, and the reader will soon know the nature oI a denouement so long and so ardently desired;
in the mean time I beg to wish him as happy a night as the one which was then awaiting me.
CHAPTER II
Bellino's HistoryI Am Put Under ArrestI Run Away Against
My WillMy Return To Rimini, and My Arrival In Bologna
Dear reader, I said enough at the end oI the last chapter to make you guess what happened, but no language
would be powerIul enough to make you realize all the voluptuousness which that charming being had in store Ior
me. She came close to me the moment I was in bed. Without uttering one word our lips met, and I Iound myselI
in the ecstasy oI enjoyment beIore I had had time to seek Ior it. AIter so complete a victory, what would my eyes
and my Iingers have gained Irom investigations which could not give me more certainty than I had already
obtained? I could not take my gaze oII that beautiIul Iace, which was all aIlame with the ardour oI love.
AIter a moment oI quiet rapture, a spark lighted up in our veins a Iresh conIlagration which we drowned in a
sea oI new delights. Bellino Ielt bound to make me Iorget my suIIerings, and to reward me by an ardour equal to
the Iire kindled by her charms.
The happiness I gave her increased mine twoIold, Ior it has always been my weakness to compose the Iour-
IiIths oI my enjoyment Irom the sum-total oI the happiness which I gave the charming being Irom whom I derived
it. But such a Ieeling must necessarily cause hatred Ior old age which can still receive pleasure, but can no longer
give enjoyment to another. And youth runs away Irom old age, because it is its most cruel enemy.
An interval oI repose became necessary, in consequence oI the activity oI our enjoyment. Our senses were not
tired out, but they required the rest which renews their sensitiveness and restores the buoyancy necessary to
active service.
Bellino was the Iirst to break our silence.
"Dearest," she said, "are you satisIied now? Have you Iound me truly loving?"
"Truly loving? Ah! traitress that you are! Do you, then, conIess that I was not mistaken when I guessed that
you were a charming woman? And iI you truly loved me, tell me how you could contrive to deIer your happiness
and mine so long? But is it quite certain that I did not make a mistake?"
"I am yours all over; see Ior yourselI."
Oh, what delightIul survey! what charming beauties! what an ocean oI enjoyment! But I could not Iind any
trace oI the protuberance which had so much terriIied and disgusted me.
"What has become," I said, "oI that dreadIul monstrosity?"
"Listen to me," she replied, "and I will tell you everything.
"My name is Therese. My Iather, a poor clerk in the Institute oI Bologna, had let an apartment in his house to
the celebrated Salimberi, a castrato, and a delightIul musician. He was young and handsome, he became attached
to me, and I Ielt Ilattered by his aIIection and by the praise he lavished upon me. I was only twelve years oI age;
he proposed to teach me music, and Iinding that I had a Iine voice, he cultivated it careIully, and in less than a
year I could accompany myselI on the harpsichord. His reward was that which his love Ior me induced him to
ask, and I granted the reward without Ieeling any humiliation, Ior I worshipped him. OI course, men like yourselI
are much above men oI his species, but Salimberi was an exception. His beauty, his manners, his talent, and the
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rare qualities oI his soul, made him superior in my eyes to all the men I had seen until then. He was modest and
reserved, rich and generous, and I doubt whether he could have Iound a woman able to resist him; yet I never
heard him boast oI having seduced any. The mutilation practised upon his body had made him a monster, but he
was an angel by his rare qualities and endowments.
"Salimberi was at that time educating a boy oI the same age as myselI, who was in Rimini with a music teacher.
The Iather oI the boy, who was poor and had a large Iamily, seeing himselI near death, had thought oI having his
unIortunate son maimed so that he should become the support oI his brothers with his voice. The name oI the
boy was Bellino; the good woman whom you have just seen in Ancona was his mother, and everybody believes
that she is mine.
"I had belonged to Salimberi Ior about a year, when he announced to me one day, weeping bitterly, that he
was compelled to leave me to go to Rome, but he promised to see me again. The news threw me into despair.
He had arranged everything Ior the continuation oI my musical education, but, as he was preparing himselI Ior his
departure, my Iather died very suddenly, aIter a short illness, and I was leIt an orphan.
"Salimberi had not courage enough to resist my tears and my entreaties; he made up his mind to take me to
Rimini, and to place me in the same house where his young 'protege' was educated. We reached Rimini, and put
up at an inn; aIter a short rest, Salimberi leIt me to call upon the teacher oI music, and to make all necessary
arrangements respecting me with him; but he soon returned, looking sad and unhappy; Bellino had died the day
beIore.
"As he was thinking oI the grieI which the loss oI the young man would cause his mother, he was struck with
the idea oI bringing me back to Bologna under the name oI Bellino, where he could arrange Ior my board with
the mother oI the deceased Bellino, who, being very poor, would Iind it to her advantage to keep the secret. 'I
will give her,' he said, 'everything necessary Ior the completion oI your musical education, and in Iour years, I will
take you to Dresden (he was in the service oI the Elector oI Saxony, King oI Poland), not as a girl, but as a
castrato. There we will live together without giving anyone cause Ior scandal, and you will remain with me and
minister to my happiness until I die. All we have to do is to represent you as Bellino, and it is very easy, as
nobody knows you in Bologna. Bellino's mother will alone know the secret; her other children have seen their
brother only when he was very young, and can have no suspicion. But iI you love me you must renounce your
sex, lose even the remembrance oI it, and leave immediately Ior Bologna, dressed as a boy, and under the name
oI Bellino. You must be very careIul lest anyone should Iind out that you are a girl; you must sleep alone, dress
yourselI in private, and when your bosom is Iormed, as it will be in a year or two, it will only be thought a
deIormity not uncommon amongst 'castrati'. Besides, beIore leaving you, I will give you a small instrument, and
teach how to Iix it in such manner that, iI you had at any time to submit to an examination, you would easily be
mistaken Ior a man. II you accept my plan, I Ieel certain that we can live together in Dresden without losing the
good graces oI the queen, who is very religious. Tell me, now, whether you will accept my proposal?
"He could not entertain any doubt oI my consent, Ior I adored him. As soon as he had made a boy oI me we
leIt Rimini Ior Bologna, where we arrived late in the evening. A little gold made everything right with Bellino's
mother; I gave her the name oI mother, and she kissed me, calling me her dear son. Salimberi leIt us, and
returned a short time aIterwards with the instrument which would complete my transIormation. He taught me, in
the presence oI my new mother, how to Iix it with some tragacanth gum, and I Iound myselI exactly like my
Iriend. I would have laughed at it, had not my heart been deeply grieved at the departure oI my beloved
Salimberi, Ior he bade me Iarewell as soon as the curious operation was completed. People laugh at Iorebodings;
I do not believe in them myselI, but the Ioreboding oI evil, which almost broke my heart as he gave me his
Iarewell kiss, did not deceive me. I Ielt the cold shivering oI death run through me; I Ielt I was looking at him Ior
the last time, and I Iainted away. Alas! my Iears proved only too prophetic. Salimberi died a year ago in the
Tyrol in the prime oI liIe, with the calmness oI a true philosopher. His death compelled me to earn my living with
the assistance oI my musical talent. My mother advised me to continue to give myselI out as a castrato, in the
hope oI being able to take me to Rome. I agreed to do so, Ior I did not Ieel suIIicient energy to decide upon any
other plan. In the meantime she accepted an oIIer Ior the Ancona Theatre, and Petronio took the part oI Iirst
Iemale dancer; in this way we played the comedy oI 'The World Turned Upside Down.'
"AIter Salimberi, you are the only man I have known, and, iI you like, you can restore me to my original state,
and make me give up the name oI Bellino, which I hate since the death oI my protector, and which begins to
inconvenience me. I have only appeared at two theatres, and each time I have been compelled to submit to the
scandalous, degrading examination, because everywhere I am thought to have too much the appearance oI a girl,
and I am admitted only aIter the shameIul test has brought conviction. Until now, Iortunately, I have had to deal
only with old priests who, in their good Iaith, have been satisIied with a very slight examination, and have made a
Iavourable report to the bishop; but I might Iall into the hands oI some young abbe, and the test would then
become a more severe one. Besides, I Iind myselI exposed to the daily persecutions oI two sorts oI beings: those
who, like you, cannot and will not believe me to be a man, and those who, Ior the satisIaction oI their disgusting
propensities, are delighted at my being so, or Iind it advantageous to suppose me so. The last particularly annoy
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me! Thei ae ae o infamo, hei habi o lo, ha I fea I hall mde one of hem ome da, hen I can
no longe conol he age in hich hei obcene langage ho me. O of pi, m beloed angel, be
geneo; and, if o loe me, oh! fee me fom hi ae of hame and degadaion! Take me ih o. I do no
ak o become o ife, ha old be oo mch happine; I ill onl be o fiend, o mie, a I old
hae been Salimbei'; m hea i pe and innocen, I feel ha I can emain faihfl o m loe hogh m
hole life. Do no abandon me. The loe I hae fo o i incee; m affecion fo Salimbei a innocen; i
a bon of m inepeience and of m gaide, and i i onl ih o ha I hae fel melf l a oman."
He emoion, an inepeible cham hich eemed o flo fom he lip and o enfoce conicion, made me
hed ea of loe and mpah. I blended m ea ih hoe falling fom he beaifl ee, and deepl
moed, I pomied no o abandon he and o make he he hae of m fae. Ineeed in he hio, a
ingla a eaodina, ha he had j naaed, and haing een nohing in i ha did no bea he amp of
h, I fel eall dipoed o make he happ b I cold no beliee ha I had inpied he ih a e deep
paion ding m ho a in Ancona, man cicmance of hich migh, on he cona, hae had an
oppoie effec pon he hea.
"If o loed me l," I aid, "ho cold o le me leep ih o ie, o of pie a o eiance?"
"Ala, deae! hink of o gea poe, and ho difficl i a fo me o dicoe melf. I loed o; b
a i no naal ha I hold ppoe o inclinaion fo me onl a paing capice? When I a o go o
eail fom Cecilia o Mainea, I hogh ha o old ea me in he ame manne a oon a o deie
ee aified, I a likeie confimed in m opinion of o an of conanc and of he lile impoance o
aached o he delicac of he enimen of loe, hen I ineed ha o did on boad he Tkih eel
iho being hindeed b m peence; had o loed me, I hogh m being peen old hae made o
ncomfoable. I feaed o be oon depied, and God kno ho mch I ffeed! Yo hae inled me,
daling, in man diffeen a, b m hea pleaded in o fao, becae I kne o ee ecied, ang,
and hiing fo eenge. Did o no heaen me hi e da in o caiage? I confe o geal fighened
me, b do no fanc ha I gae melf o o o of fea. No, I had made p m mind o be o fom he
momen o en me od b Cecilia ha o old ake me o Rimini, and o conol oe o on feeling
ding a pa of o jone confimed me in m eolion, fo I hogh I cold melf o o hono, o
o delicac."
"Tho p," I aid, "he engagemen o hae in Rimini; le poceed on o jone, and, afe emaining a
cople of da in Bologna, o ill go ih me o Venice; deed a a oman, and ih anohe name, I old
challenge he manage hee o find o o."
"I accep. Yo ill hall ala be m la. I am m on mie, and I gie melf o o iho an
eee o eicion; m hea belong o o, and I o keep o."
Man ha in himelf a moal foce of acion hich ala make him oeep he line on hich he i anding. I
had obained eehing, I aned moe. "She me," I aid, "ho o ee hen I miook o fo a man." She
go o of bed, opened he nk, ook o he inmen and fied i ih he gm: I a compelled o admie
he ingeni of he coniance. M cioi a aified, and I paed a mo delighfl nigh in he am.
When I oke p in he moning, I admied he loel face hile he a leeping: all I kne of he came back
o m mind; he od hich had been poken b he beiching moh, he ae alen, he cando, he feeling
o fll of delicac, and he mifone, he heaie of hich m hae been he fale chaace he had been
compelled o ame, and hich epoed he o hmiliaion and hame, eehing enghened m eolion o
make he he companion of m dein, haee i migh be, o o follo he fae, fo o poiion ee e
neal he ame; and ihing l o aach melf eiol o ha ineeing being, I deemined o gie o o
nion he ancion of eligion and of la, and o ake he legall fo m ife. Sch a ep, a I hen hogh, cold
b enghen o loe, inceae o mal eeem, and ine he appobaion of ocie hich cold no
accep o nion nle i a ancioned in he al manne.
The alen of Theee peclded he fea of o being ee in an of he neceaie of life, and, alhogh I
did no kno in ha a m on alen migh be made aailable, I had faih in melf. O loe migh hae
been leened, he old hae enjoed oo gea adanage oe me, and m elf-digni old hae oo
deepl ffeed if I had alloed melf o be ppoed b he eaning onl. I migh, afe a ime, hae aleed
he nae of o feeling; m ife, no longe hinking heelf nde an obligaion o me, migh hae fancied
heelf he poecing, inead of he poeced pa, and I fel ha m loe old oon hae ned ino e
conemp, if i had been m mifone o find he haboing ch hogh. Alhogh I ed i old no be
o, I aned, befoe aking he impoan ep of maiage, o pobe he hea, and I eoled o an
epeimen hich old a once enable me o jdge he eal feeling of he inmo ol. A oon a he a
aake, I poke o he h:
"Deae Theee, all o hae old me leae me no dob of o loe fo me, and he concione o
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Ieel oI being the mistress oI my heart enhances my love Ior you to such a degree, that I am ready to do
everything to convince you that you were not mistaken in thinking that you had entirely conquered me. I wish to
prove to you that I am worthy oI the noble conIidence you have reposed in me by trusting you with equal
sincerity.
"Our hearts must be on a Iooting oI perIect equality. I know you, my dearest Therese, but you do not know
me yet. I can read in your eyes that you do not mind it, and it proves our great love, but that Ieeling places me
too much below you, and I do not wish you to have so great an advantage over me. I Ieel certain that my
conIidence is not necessary to your love; that you only care to be mine, that your only wish is to possess my
heart, and I admire you, my Therese; but I should Ieel humiliated iI I Iound myselI either too much above or too
much below you. You have entrusted your secrets to me, now listen to mine; but beIore I begin, promise me that,
when you know everything that concerns me, you will tell me candidly iI any change has taken place either in
your Ieelings or in your hopes."
"I promise it IaithIully; I promise not to conceal anything Irom you; but be upright enough not to tell me
anything that is not perIectly true, Ior I warn you that it would be useless. II you tried any artiIice in order to Iind
me less worthy oI you than I am in reality, you would only succeed in lowering yourselI in my estimation. I should
be very sorry to see you guilty oI any cunning towards me. Have no more suspicion oI me than I have oI you; tell
me the whole truth."
"Here it is. You suppose me wealthy, and I am not so; as soon as what there is now in my purse is spent I
shall have nothing leIt. You may Iancy that I was born a patrician, but my social condition is really inIerior to your
own. I have no lucrative talents, no proIession, nothing to give me the assurance that I am able to earn my living. I
have neither relatives nor Iriends, nor claims upon anyone, and I have no serious plan or purpose beIore me. All I
possess is youth, health, courage, some intelligence, honour, honesty, and some tincture oI letters. My greatest
treasure consists in being my own master, perIectly independent, and not aIraid oI misIortune. With all that, I am
naturally inclined to extravagance. Lovely Therese, you have my portrait. What is your answer?"
"In the Iirst place, dearest, let me assure you that I believe every word you have just uttered, as I would
believe in the Gospel; in the second, allow me to tell you that several times in Ancona I have judged you such as
you have just described yourselI, but Iar Irom being displeased at such a knowledge oI your nature, I was only
aIraid oI some illusion on my part, Ior I could hope to win you iI you were what I thought you to be. In one
word, dear one, iI it is true that you are poor and a very bad hand at economy, allow me to tell you that I Ieel
delighted, because, iI you love me, you will not reIuse a present Irom me, or despise me Ior oIIering it. The
present consists oI myselI, such as I am, and with all my Iaculties. I give myselI to you without any condition, with
no restriction; I am yours, I will take care oI you. For the Iuture think only oI your love Ior me, but love me
exclusively. From this moment I am no longer Bellino. Let us go to Venice, where my talent will keep us both
comIortably; iI you wish to go anywhere else, let us go where you please."
"I must go to Constantinople."
"Then let us proceed to Constantinople. II you are aIraid to lose me through want oI constancy, marry me, and
your right over me will be strengthened by law. I should not love you better than I do now, but I should be happy
to be your wiIe."
"It is my intention to marry you, and I am delighted that we agree in that respect. The day aIter to-morrow, in
Bologna, you shall be made my legal-wiIe beIore the altar oI God; I swear it to you here in the presence oI Love.
I want you to be mine, I want to be yours, I want us to be united by the most holy ties."
"I am the happiest oI women! We have nothing to do in Rimini; suppose we do not get up; we can have our
dinner in bed, and go away to-morrow well rested aIter our Iatigues."
We leIt Rimini the next day, and stayed Ior breakIast at Pesaro. As we were getting into the carriage to leave
that place, an oIIicer, accompanied by two soldiers, presented himselI, enquired Ior our names, and demanded
our passports. Bellino had one and gave it, but I looked in vain Ior mine; I could not Iind it.
The oIIicer, a corporal, orders the postillion to wait and goes to make his report. HalI an hour aIterwards, he
returns, gives Bellino his passport, saying that he can continue his journey, but tells me that his orders are to
escort me to the commanding oIIicer, and I Iollow him.
"What have you done with your passport?" enquires that oIIicer.
"I have lost it."
"A passport is not so easily lost."
"Well, I have lost mine."
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"You cannot proceed any Iurther."
"I come Irom Rome, and I am going to Constantinople, bearing a letter Irom Cardinal Acquaviva. Here is the
letter stamped with his seal."
"All I can do Ior you is to send you to M. de Gages."
I Iound the Iamous general standing, surrounded by his staII. I told him all I had already explained to the
oIIicer, and begged him to let me continue my journey.
"The only Iavour I can grant you is to put you under arrest till you receive another passport Irom Rome
delivered under the same name as the one you have given here. To lose a passport is a misIortune which beIalls
only a thoughtless, giddy man, and the cardinal will Ior the Iuture know better than to put his conIidence in a
giddy Iellow like you."
With these words, he gave orders to take me to the guard-house at St. Mary's Gate, outside the city, as soon
as I should have written to the cardinal Ior a new passport. His orders were executed. I was brought back to the
inn, where I wrote my letter, and I sent it by express to his eminence, entreating him to Iorward the document,
without loss oI time, direct to the war oIIice. Then I embraced Therese who was weeping, and, telling her to go
to Rimini and to wait there Ior my return, I made her take one hundred sequins. She wished to remain in Pesaro,
but I would not hear oI it; I had my trunk brought out, I saw Therese go away Irom the inn, and was taken to the
place appointed by the general.
It is undoubtedly under such circumstances that the most determined optimist Iinds himselI at a loss; but an
easy stoicism can blunt the too sharp edge oI misIortune.
My greatest sorrow was the heart-grieI oI Therese who, seeing me torn Irom her arms at the very moment oI
our union, was suIIocated by the tears which she tried to repress. She would not have leIt me iI I had not made
her understand that she could not remain in Pesaro, and iI I had not promised to join her within ten days, never to
be parted again. But Iate had decided otherwise.
When we reached the gate, the oIIicer conIined me immediately in the guard-house, and I sat down on my
trunk. The oIIicer was a taciturn Spaniard who did not even condescend to honour me with an answer, when I
told him that I had money and would like to have someone to wait on me. I had to pass the night on a little straw,
and without Iood, in the midst oI the Spanish soldiers. It was the second night oI the sort that my destiny had
condemned me to, immediately aIter two delightIul nights. My good angel doubtless Iound some pleasure in
bringing such conjunctions beIore my mind Ior the beneIit oI my instruction. At all events, teachings oI that
description have an inIallible eIIect upon natures oI a peculiar stamp.
II you should wish to close the lips oI a logician calling himselI a philosopher, who dares to argue that in this liIe
grieI overbalances pleasure, ask him whether he would accept a liIe entirely without sorrow and happiness. Be
certain that he will not answer you, or he will shuIIle, because, iI he says no, he proves that he likes liIe such as it
is, and iI he likes it, he must Iind it agreeable, which is an utter impossibility, iI liIe is painIul; should he, on the
contrary, answer in the aIIirmative, he would declare himselI a Iool, Ior it would be as much as to say that he can
conceive pleasure arising Irom indiIIerence, which is absurd nonsense.
SuIIering is inherent in human nature; but we never suIIer without entertaining the hope oI recovery, or, at least,
very seldom without such hope, and hope itselI is a pleasure. II it happens sometimes that man suIIers without
any expectation oI a cure, he necessarily Iinds pleasure in the complete certainty oI the end oI his liIe; Ior the
worst, in all cases, must be either a sleep arising Irom extreme dejection, during which we have the consolation oI
happy dreams or the loss oI all sensitiveness. But when we are happy, our happiness is never disturbed by the
thought that it will be Iollowed by grieI. ThereIore pleasure, during its active period, is always complete, without
alloy; grieI is always soothed by hope.
I suppose you, dear reader, at the age oI twenty, and devoting yourselI to the task oI making a man oI yourselI
by Iurnishing your mind with all the knowledge necessary to render you a useIul being through the activity oI your
brain. Someone comes in and tells you, "I bring you thirty years oI existence; it is the immutable decree oI Iate;
IiIteen consecutive years must be happy, and IiIteen years unhappy. You are at liberty to choose the halI by
which you wish to begin."
ConIess it candidly, dear reader, you will not require much more consideration to decide, and you will
certainly begin by the unhappy series oI years, because you will Ieel that the expectation oI IiIteen delightIul years
cannot Iail to brace you up with the courage necessary to bear the unIortunate years you have to go through, and
we can even surmise, with every probability oI being right, that the certainty oI Iuture happiness will soothe to a
considerable extent the misery oI the Iirst period.
You have already guessed, I have no doubt, the purpose oI this lengthy argument. The sagacious man, believe
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me, can never be utterly miserable, and I most willingly agree with my friend Horace, who says that, on the
contrary, such a man is always happy.
'Nii qm piia molea e.'
But, pray where is the man who is always suffering from a rheum?
The fact is that the fearful night I passed in the guardhouse of St. Mary resulted for me in a slight loss and in a
great gain. The small loss was to be away from my dear Therese, but, being certain of seeing her within ten days,
the misfortune was not very great: as to the gain, it was in experience the true school for a man. I gained a
complete system against thoughtlessness, a system of foresight. You may safely bet a hundred to one that a
young man who has once lost his purse or his passport, will not lose either a second time. Each of those
misfortunes has befallen me once only, and I might have been very often the victim of them, if experience had not
taught me how much they were to be dreaded. A thoughtless fellow is a man who has not yet found the word
dread in the dictionary of his life.
The officer who relieved my cross-grained Castilian on the following day seemed of a different nature
altogether; his prepossessing countenance pleased me much. He was a Frenchman, and I must say that I have
always liked the French, and never the Spaniards; there is in the manners of the first something so engaging, so
obliging, that you feel attracted towards them as towards a friend, whilst an air of unbecoming haughtiness gives
to the second a dark, forbidding countenance which certainly does not prepossess in their favour. Yet I have
often been duped by Frenchmen, and never by Spaniardsa proof that we ought to mistrust our tastes.
The new officer, approaching me very politely, said to me,
"To what chance, reverend sir, am I indebted for the honour of having you in my custody?"
Ah! here was a way of speaking which restored to my lungs all their elasticity! I gave him all the particulars of
my misfortune, and he found the mishap very amusing. But a man disposed to laugh at my disappointment could
not be disagreeable to me, for it proved that the turn of his mind had more than one point of resemblance with
mine. He gave me at once a soldier to serve me, and I had very quickly a bed, a table, and a few chairs. He was
kind enough to have my bed placed in his own room, and I felt very grateful to him for that delicate attention.
He gave me an invitation to share his dinner, and proposed a game of piquet afterwards, but from the very
beginning he saw that I was no match for him; he told me so, and he warned me that the officer who would
relieve him the next day was a better player even than he was himself; I lost three or four ducats. He advised me
to abstain from playing on the following day, and I followed his advice. He told me also that he would have
company to supper, that there would be a game of faro, but that the banker being a Greek and a crafty player, I
ought not to play. I thought his advice very considerate, particularly when I saw that all the punters lost, and that
the Greek, very calm in the midst of the insulting treatment of those he had duped, was pocketing his money,
after handing a share to the officer who had taken an interest in the bank. The name of the banker was Don Pepe
il Cadetto, and by his accent I knew he was a Neapolitan. I communicated my discovery to the officer, asking
him why he had told me that the man was a Greek. He explained to me the meaning of the word greek applied to
a gambler, and the lesson which followed his explanation proved very useful to me in after years.
During the five following days, my life was uniform and rather dull, but on the sixth day the same French officer
was on guard, and I was very glad to see him. He told me, with a hearty laugh, that he was delighted to find me
still in the guard-house, and I accepted the compliment for what it was worth. In the evening, we had the same
bank at faro, with the same result as the first time, except a violent blow from the stick of one of the punters upon
the back of the banker, of which the Greek stoically feigned to take no notice. I saw the same man again nine
years afterwards in Vienna, captain in the service of Maria Theresa; he then called himself d'Afflisso. Ten years
later, I found him a colonel, and some time after worth a million; but the last time I saw him, some thirteen or
fourteen years ago, he was a galley slave. He was handsome, but (rather a singular thing) in spite of his beauty,
he had a gallows look. I have seen others with the same stampCagliostro, for instance, and another who has
not yet been sent to the galleys, but who cannot fail to pay them a visit. Should the reader feel any curiosity about
it, I can whisper the name in his ear.
Towards the ninth or tenth day everyone in the army knew and liked me, and I was expecting the passport,
which could not be delayed much longer. I was almost free, and I would often walk about even out of sight of the
sentinel. They were quite right not to fear my running away, and I should have been wrong if I had thought of
escaping, but the most singular adventure of my life happened to me then, and most unexpectedly.
It was about six in the morning. I was taking a walk within one hundred yards of the sentinel, when an officer
arrived and alighted from his horse, threw the bridle on the neck of his steed, and walked off. Admiring the
docility of the horse, standing there like a faithful servant to whom his master has given orders to wait for him I
got up to him, and without any purpose I get hold of the bridle, put my foot in the stirrup, and find myself in the
saddle. I was on horseback for the first time in my life. I do not know whether I touched the horse with my cane
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or with my heels, but suddenly the animal starts at Iull speed. My right Ioot having slipped out oI the stirrup, I
press against the horse with my heels, and, Ieeling the pressure, it gallops Iaster and Iaster, Ior I did not know
how to check it. At the last advanced post the sentinels call out to me to stop; but I cannot obey the order, and
the horse carrying me away Iaster than ever, I hear the whizzing oI a Iew musket balls, the natural consequence
oI my involuntary disobedience. At last, when I reach the Iirst advanced picket oI the Austrians, the horse is
stopped, and I get oII his back thanking God.
An oIIicer oI Hussars asks where I am running so Iast, and my tongue, quicker than my thought, answers
without any privity on my part, that I can render no account but to Prince Lobkowitz, commander-in-chieI oI the
army, whose headquarters were at Rimini. Hearing my answer, the oIIicer gave orders Ior two Hussars to get on
horseback, a Iresh one is given me, and I am taken at Iull gallop to Rimini, where the oIIicer on guard has me
escorted at once to the prince.
I Iind his highness alone, and I tell him candidly what has just happened to me. My story makes him laugh,
although he observes that it is hardly credible.
"I ought," he says, "to put you under arrest, but I am willing to save you that unpleasantness." With that he
called one oI his oIIicers and ordered him to escort me through the Cesena Gate. "Then you can go wherever
you please," he added, turning round to me; "but take care not to again enter the lines oI my army without a
passport, or you might Iare badly."
I asked him to let me have the horse again, but he answered that the animal did not belong to me. I Iorgot to
ask him to send me back to the place I had come Irom, and I regretted it; but aIter all perhaps I did Ior the best.
The oIIicer who accompanied me asked me, as we were passing a coIIee-house, whether I would like to take
some chocolate, and we went in. At that moment I saw Petronio going by, and availing myselI oI a moment when
the oIIicer was talking to someone, I told him not to appear to be acquainted with me, but to tell me where he
lived. When we had taken our chocolate the oIIicer paid and we went out. Along the road we kept up the
conversation; he told me his name, I gave him mine, and I explained how I Iound myselI in Rimini. He asked me
whether I had not remained some time in Ancona; I answered in the aIIirmative, and he smiled and said I could
get a passport in Bologna, return to Rimini and to Pesaro without any Iear, and recover my trunk by paying the
oIIicer Ior the horse he had lost. We reached the gate, he wished me a pleasant journey, and we parted
company.
I Iound myselI Iree, with gold and jewels, but without my trunk. Therese was in Rimini, and I could not enter
that city. I made up my mind to go to Bologna as quickly as possible in order to get a passport, and to return to
Pesaro, where I should Iind my passport Irom Rome, Ior I could not make up my mind to lose my trunk, and I
did not want to be separated Irom Therese until the end oI her engagement with the manager oI the Rimini
Theatre.
It was raining; I had silk stockings on, and I longed Ior a carriage. I took shelter under the portal oI a church,
and turned my Iine overcoat inside out, so as not to look like an abbe. At that moment a peasant happened to
come along, and I asked him iI a carriage could be had to drive me to Cesena. "I have one, sir," he said, "but I
live halI a league Irom here."
"Go and get it, I will wait Ior you here."
While I was waiting Ior the return oI the peasant with his vehicle, some Iorty mules laden with provisions came
along the road towards Rimini. It was still raining Iast, and the mules passing close by me, I placed my hand
mechanically upon the neck oI one oI them, and Iollowing the slow pace oI the animals I re-entered Rimini
without the slightest notice being taken oI me, even by the drivers oI the mules. I gave some money to the Iirst
street urchin I met, and he took me to Therese's house.
With my hair Iastened under a night-cap, my hat pulled down over my Iace, and my Iine cane concealed under
my coat, I did not look a very elegant Iigure. I enquired Ior Bellino's mother, and the mistress oI the house took
me to a room where I Iound all the Iamily, and Therese in a woman's dress. I had reckoned upon surmising them,
but Petronio had told them oI our meeting, and they were expecting me. I gave a Iull account oI my adventures,
but Therese, Irightened at the danger that threatened me, and in spite oI her love, told me that it was absolutely
necessary Ior me to go to Bologna, as I had been advised by M. Vais, the oIIicer.
"I know him," she said, "and he is a worthy man, but he comes here every evening, and you must conceal
yourselI."
It was only eight o'clock in the morning; we had the whole day beIore us, and everyone promised to be
discreet. I allayed Therese's anxiety by telling her that I could easily contrive to leave the city without being
observed.
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Therese took me to her own room, where she told me that she had met the manager oI the theatre on her
arrival in Rimini, and that he had taken her at once to the apartments engaged Ior the Iamily. She had inIormed
him that she was a woman, and that she had made up her mind not to appear as a castrato any more; he had
expressed himselI delighted at such news, because women could appear on the stage at Rimini, which was not
under the same legate as Ancona. She added that her engagement would be at an end by the 1st oI May, and
that she would meet me wherever it would be agreeable to me to wait Ior her.
"As soon as I can get a passport," I said, "there is nothing to hinder me Irom remaining near you until the end
oI your engagement. But as M. Vais calls upon you, tell me whether you have inIormed him oI my having spent a
Iew days in Ancona?"
"I did, and I even told him that you had been arrested because you had lost your passport."
I understood why the oIIicer had smiled as he was talking with me. AIter my conversation with Therese, I
received the compliments oI the mother and oI the young sisters who appeared to me less cheerIul and less Iree
than they had been in Ancona. They Ielt that Bellino, transIormed into Therese, was too Iormidable a rival. I
listened patiently to all the complaints oI the mother who maintained that, in giving up the character oI castrato,
Therese had bidden adieu to Iortune, because she might have earned a thousand sequins a year in Rome.
"In Rome, my good woman," I said, "the Ialse Bellino would have been Iound out, and Therese would have
been consigned to a miserable convent Ior which she was never made."
Notwithstanding the danger oI my position, I spent the whole oI the day alone with my beloved mistress, and it
seemed that every moment gave her Iresh beauties and increased my love. At eight o'clock in the evening,
hearing someone coming in, she leIt me, and I remained in the dark, but in such a position that I could see
everything and hear every word. The Baron Vais came in, and Therese gave him her hand with the grace oI a
pretty woman and the dignity oI a princess. The Iirst thing he told her was the news about me; she appeared to
be pleased, and listened with well-Ieigned indiIIerence, when he said that he had advised me to return with a
passport. He spent an hour with her, and I was thoroughly well pleased with her manners and behaviour, which
had been such as to leave me no room Ior the slightest Ieeling oI jealousy. Marina lighted him out and Therese
returned to me. We had a joyous supper together, and, as we were getting ready to go to bed, Petronio came to
inIorm me that ten muleteers would start Ior Cesena two hours beIore day-break, and that he was sure I could
leave the city with them iI I would go and meet them a quarter oI an hour beIore their departure, and treat them
to something to drink. I was oI the same opinion, and made up my mind to make the attempt. I asked Petronio to
sit up and to wake me in good time. It proved an unnecessary precaution, Ior I was ready beIore the time, and
leIt Therese satisIied with my love, without any doubt oI my constancy, but rather anxious as to my success in
attempting to leave Rimini. She had sixty sequins which she wanted to Iorce back upon me, but I asked her what
opinion she would have oI me iI I accepted them, and we said no more about it.
I went to the stable, and having treated one oI the muleteers to some drink I told him that I would willingly ride
one oI his mules as Iar as Sarignan.
"You are welcome to the ride," said the good Iellow, "but I would advise you not to get on the mule till we are
outside the city, and to pass through the gate on Ioot as iI you were one oI the drivers."
It was exactly what I wanted. Petronio accompanied me as Iar as the gate, where I gave him a substantial
prooI oI my gratitude. I got out oI the city without the slightest diIIiculty, and leIt the muleteers at Sarignan,
whence I posted to Bologna.
I Iound out that I could not obtain a passport, Ior the simple reason that the authorities oI the city persisted that
it was not necessary; but I knew better, and it was not Ior me to tell them why. I resolved to write to the French
oIIicer who had treated me so well at the guardhouse. I begged him to enquire at the war oIIice whether my
passport had arrived Irom Rome, and, iI so, to Iorward it to me. I also asked him to Iind out the owner oI the
horse who had run away with me, oIIering to pay Ior it. I made up my mind to wait Ior Therese in Bologna, and I
inIormed her oI my decision, entreating her to write very oIten. The reader will soon know the new resolution I
took on the very same day.
EPISODE 3 MILITARY CAREER
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CHAPTER III
I Renounce the Clerical Profession, and Enter the Military
ServiceTherese Leaves for Naples, and I Go to VeniceI Am
Appointed Ensign in the Army of My Native CountryI Embark
for Corfu, and Land at Orsera to Take a Walk
I had been careIul, on my arrival in Bologna, to take up my quarters at a small inn, so as not to attract any
notice, and as soon as I had dispatched my letters to Therese and the French oIIicer, I thought oI purchasing
some linen, as it was at least doubtIul whether I should ever get my trunk. I deemed it expedient to order some
clothes likewise. I was thus ruminating, when it suddenly struck me that I was not likely now to succeed in the
Church, but Ieeling great uncertainty as to the proIession I ought to adopt, I took a Iancy to transIorm myselI into
an oIIicer, as it was evident that I had not to account to anyone Ior my actions. It was a very natural Iancy at my
age, Ior I had just passed through two armies in which I had seen no respect paid to any garb but to the military
uniIorm, and I did not see why I should not cause myselI to be respected likewise. Besides, I was thinking oI
returning to Venice, and Ielt great delight at the idea oI shewing myselI there in the garb oI honour, Ior I had been
rather ill-treated in that oI religion.
I enquired Ior a good tailor: death was brought to me, Ior the tailor sent to me was named Morte. I explained
to him how I wanted my uniIorm made, I chose the cloth, he took my measure, and the next day I was
transIormed into a Iollower oI Mars. I procured a long sword, and with my Iine cane in hand, with a well-
brushed hat ornamented with a black cockade, and wearing a long Ialse pigtail, I sallied Iorth and walked all over
the city.
I bethought myselI that the importance oI my new calling required a better and more showy lodging than the
one I had secured on my arrival, and I moved to the best inn. I like even now to recollect the pleasing impression
I Ielt when I was able to admire myselI Iull length in a large mirror. I was highly pleased with my own person! I
thought myselI made by nature to wear and to honour the military costume, which I had adopted through the
most Iortunate impulse. Certain that nobody knew me, I enjoyed by anticipation all the conjectures which people
would indulge in respecting me, when I made my Iirst appearance in the most Iashionable caIe oI the town.
My uniIorm was white, the vest blue, a gold and silver shoulder-knot, and a sword-knot oI the same material.
Very well pleased with my grand appearance, I went to the coIIee-room, and, taking some chocolate, began to
read the newspapers, quite at my ease, and delighted to see that everybody was puzzled. A bold individual, in
the hope oI getting me into conversation, came to me and addressed me; I answered him with a monosyllable,
and I observed that everyone was at a loss what to make oI me. When I had suIIiciently enjoyed public
admiration in the coIIee-room, I promenaded in the busiest thoroughIares oI the city, and returned to the inn,
where I had dinner by myselI.
I had just concluded my repast when my landlord presented himselI with the travellers' book, in which he
wanted to register my name.
"Casanova."
"Your proIession, iI you please, sir?"
"OIIicer."
"In which service?"
"None."
"Your native place?"
"Venice."
"Where do you come Irom?"
"That is no business oI yours."
This answer, which I thought was in keeping with my external appearance, had the desired eIIect: the landlord
bowed himselI out, and I Ielt highly pleased with myselI, Ior I knew that I should enjoy perIect Ireedom in
Bologna, and I was certain that mine host had visited me at the instance oI some curious person eager to know
who I was.
The next day I called on M. Orsi, the banker, to cash my bill oI exchange, and took another Ior six hundred
sequins on Venice, and one hundred sequins in gold aIter which I again exhibited myselI in the public places. Two
days aIterwards, whilst I was taking my coIIee aIter dinner, the banker Orsi was announced. I desired him to be
shewn in, and he made his appearance accompanied my Monsignor Cornaro, whom I Ieigned not to know. M.
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Orsi remarked that he had called to oIIer me his services Ior my letters oI exchange, and introduced the prelate. I
rose and expressed my gratiIication at making his acquaintance. "But we have met beIore," he replied, "at Venice
and Rome." Assuming an air oI blank surprise, I told him he must certainly be mistaken. The prelate, thinking he
could guess the reason oI my reserve, did not insist, and apologized. I oIIered him a cup oI coIIee, which he
accepted, and, on leaving me, he begged the honour oI my company to breakIast the next day.
I made up my mind to persist in my denials, and called upon the prelate, who gave me a polite welcome. He
was then apostolic prothonotary in Bologna. BreakIast was served, and as we were sipping our chocolate, he
told me that I had most likely some good reasons to warrant my reserve, but that I was wrong not to trust him,
the more so that the aIIair in question did me great honour. "I do not know," said I, "what aIIair you are alluding
to." He then handed me a newspaper, telling me to read a paragraph which he pointed out. My astonishment may
be imagined when I read the Iollowing correspondence Irom Pesaro: "M. de Casanova, an oIIicer in the service
oI the queen, has deserted aIter having killed his captain in a duel; the circumstances oI the duel are not known;
all that has been ascertained is that M. de Casanova has taken the road to Rimini, riding the horse belonging to
the captain, who was killed on the spot."
In spite oI my surprise, and oI the diIIiculty I had in keeping my gravity at the reading oI the paragraph, in
which so much untruth was blended with so little that was real, I managed to keep a serious countenance, and I
told the prelate that the Casanova spoken oI in the newspaper must be another man.
"That may be, but you are certainly the Casanova I knew a month ago at Cardinal Acquaviva's, and two years
ago at the house oI my sister, Madame Lovedan, in Venice. Besides the Ancona banker speaks oI you as an
ecclesiastic in his letter oI advice to M. Orsi:"
"Very well, monsignor; your excellency compels me to agree to my being the same Casanova, but I entreat
you not to ask me any more questions as I am bound in honour to observe the strictest reserve."
"That is enough Ior me, and I am satisIied. Let us talk oI something else."
I was amused at the Ialse reports which were being circulated about me, and, I became Irom that moment a
thorough sceptic on the subject oI historical truth. I enjoyed, however, very great pleasure in thinking that my
reserve had Ied the belieI oI my being the Casanova mentioned in the newspaper. I Ielt certain that the prelate
would write the whole aIIair to Venice, where it would do me great honour, at least until the truth should be
known, and in that case my reserve would be justiIied, besides, I should then most likely be Iar away. I made up
my mind to go to Venice as soon as I heard Irom Therese, as I thought that I could wait Ior her there more
comIortably than in Bologna, and in my native place there was nothing to hinder me Irom marrying her openly. In
the mean time the Iable Irom Pesaro amused me a good deal, and I expected every day to see it denied in some
newspaper. The real oIIicer Casanova must have laughed at the accusation brought against him oI having run
away with the horse, as much as I laughed at the caprice which had metamorphosed me into an oIIicer in
Bologna, just as iI I had done it Ior the very purpose oI giving to the aIIair every appearance oI truth.
On the Iourth day oI my stay in Bologna, I received by express a long letter Irom Therese. She inIormed me
that, on the day aIter my escape Irom Rimini, Baron Vais had presented to her the Duke de Castropignano, who,
having heard her sing, had oIIered her one thousand ounces a year, and all travelling expenses paid, iI she would
accept an engagement as prima-donna at the San Carlo Theatre, at Naples, where she would have to go
immediately aIter her Rimini engagement. She had requested and obtained a week to come to a decision. She
enclosed two documents, the Iirst was the written memorandum oI the duke's proposals, which she sent in order
that I should peruse it, as she did not wish to sign it without my consent; the second was a Iormal engagement,
written by herselI, to remain all her liIe devoted to me and at my service. She added in her letter that, iI I wished
to accompany her to Naples, she would meet me anywhere I might appoint, but that, iI I had any objection to
return to that city, she would immediately reIuse the brilliant oIIer, Ior her only happiness was to please me in all
things.
For the Iirst time in my liIe I Iound myselI in need oI thoughtIul consideration beIore I could make up my mind.
Therese's letter had entirely upset all my ideas, and, Ieeling that I could not answer it a once, I told the messenger
to call the next day.
Two motives oI equal weight kept the balance wavering; selI-love and love Ior Therese. I Ielt that I ought not
to require Therese to give up such prospects oI Iortune; but I could not take upon myselI either to let her go to
Naples without me, or to accompany her there. On one side, I shuddered at the idea that my love might ruin
Therese's prospects; on the other side, the idea oI the blow inIlicted on my selI-love, on my pride, iI I went to
Naples with her, sickened me.
How could I make up my mind to reappear in that city, in the guise oI a cowardly Iellow living at the expense
oI his mistress or his wiIe? What would my cousin Antonio, Don Polo and his dear son, Don Lelio CaraIIa, and
all the patricians who knew me, have said? The thought oI Lucrezia and oI her husband sent a cold shiver through
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me. I considered that, in spite oI my love Ior Therese, I should become very miserable iI everyone despised me.
Linked to her destiny as a lover or as a husband, I would be a degraded, humbled, and mean sycophant. Then
came the thought, Is this to be the end oI all my hopes? The die was cast, my head had conquered my heart. I
Iancied that I had hit upon an excellent expedient, which at all events made me gain time, and I resolved to act
upon it. I wrote to Therese, advising her to accept the engagement Ior Naples, where she might expect me to join
her in the month oI July, or aIter my return Irom Constantinople. I cautioned her to engage an honest-looking
waiting-woman, so as to appear respectably in the world, and, to lead such a liIe as would permit me to make
her my wiIe, on my return, without being ashamed oI myselI. I Ioresaw that her success would be insured by her
beauty even more than by her talent, and, with my nature, I knew that I could never assume the character oI an
easy-going lover or oI a compliant husband.
Had I received Therese's letter one week sooner, it is certain that she would not have gone to Naples, Ior my
love would then have proved stronger than my reason; but in matters oI love, as well as in all others, Time is a
great teacher.
I told Therese to direct her answer to Bologna, and, three days aIter, I received Irom her a letter loving, and at
the same time sad, in which she inIormed me that she had signed the engagement. She had secured the services
oI a woman whom she could present as her mother; she would reach Naples towards the middle oI May, and
she would wait Ior me there till she heard Irom me that I no longer wanted her.
Four days aIter the receipt oI that letter, the last but one that Therese wrote me, I leIt Bologna Ior Venice.
BeIore my departure I had received an answer Iorm the French oIIicer, advising me that my passport had
reached Pesaro, and that he was ready to Iorward it to me with my trunk, iI I would pay M. Marcello Birna, the
proveditore oI the Spanish army, whose address he enclosed, the sum oI IiIty doubloons Ior the horse which I
had run away with, or which had run away with me. I repaired at once to the house oI the proveditore, well
pleased to settle that aIIair, and I received my trunk and my passport a Iew hours beIore leaving Bologna. But as
my paying Ior the horse was known all over the town, Monsignor Cornaro was conIirmed in his belieI that I had
killed my captain in a duel.
To go to Venice, it was necessary to submit to a quarantine, which had been adhered to only because the two
governments had Iallen out. The Venetians wanted the Pope to be the Iirst in giving Iree passage through his
Irontiers, and the Pope insisted that the Venetians should take the initiative. The result oI this triIling pique
between the two governments was great hindrance to commerce, but very oIten that which bears only upon the
private interest oI the people is lightly treated by the rulers. I did not wish to be quarantined, and determined on
evading it. It was rather a delicate undertaking, Ior in Venice the sanitary laws are very strict, but in those days I
delighted in doing, iI not everything that was Iorbidden, at least everything which oIIered real diIIiculties.
I knew that between the state oI Mantua and that oI Venice the passage was Iree, and I knew likewise that
there was no restriction in the communication between Mantua and Modena; iI I could thereIore penetrate into
the state oI Mantua by stating that I was coming Irom Modena, my success would be certain, because I could
then cross the Po and go straight to Venice. I got a carrier to drive me to Revero, a city situated on the river Po,
and belonging to the state oI Mantua.
The driver told me that, iI he took the crossroads, he could go to Revero, and say that we came Irom Mantua,
and that the only diIIiculty would be in the absence oI the sanitary certiIicate which is delivered in Mantua, and
which was certain to be asked Ior in Revero. I suggested that the best way to manage would be Ior him to say
that he had lost it, and a little money removed every objection on his part.
When we reached the gates oI Revero, I represented myselI as a Spanish oIIicer going to Venice to meet the
Duke oI Modena (whom I knew to be there) on business oI the greatest importance. The sanitary certiIicate was
not even demanded, military honours were duly paid to me, and I was most civilly treated. A certiIicate was
immediately delivered to me, setting Iorth that I was travelling Irom Revero, and with it I crossed the Po, without
any diIIiculty, at Ostiglia, Irom which place I proceeded to Legnago. There I leIt my carrier as much pleased with
my generosity as with the good luck which had attended our journey, and, taking post-horses, I reached Venice
in the evening. I remarked that it was the and oI April, 1744, the anniversary oI my birth, which, ten times during
my liIe, has been marked by some important event.
The very next morning I went to the exchange in order to procure a passage to Constantinople, but I could not
Iind any passenger ship sailing beIore two or three months, and I engaged a berth in a Venetian ship called, Our
Lady oI the Rosary, Commander Zane, which was to sail Ior CorIu in the course oI the month.
Having thus prepared myselI to obey my destiny, which, according to my superstitious Ieelings, called me
imperiously to Constantinople, I went to St: Mark's Square in order to see and to be seen, enjoying by
anticipation the surprise oI my acquaintances at not Iinding me any longer an abbe. I must not Iorget to state that
at Revero I had decorated my hat with a red cockade.
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I thought that my Iirst visit was, by right, due to the Abbe Grimani. The moment he saw me he raised a perIect
shriek oI astonishment, Ior he thought I was still with Cardinal Acquaviva, on the road to a political career, and
he saw standing beIore him a son oI Mars. He had just leIt the dinner-table as I entered, and he had company. I
observed amongst the guests an oIIicer wearing the Spanish uniIorm, but I was not put out oI countenance. I told
the Abbe Grimani that I was only passing through Venice, and that I had Ielt it a duty and a pleasure to pay my
respects to him.
"I did not expect to see you in such a costume."
"I have resolved to throw oII the garb which could not procure me a Iortune likely to satisIy my ambition."
"Where are you going?"
"To Constantinople; and I hope to Iind a quick passage to CorIu, as I have dispatches Irom Cardinal
Acquaviva."
"Where do you come Irom now?"
"From the Spanish army, which I leIt ten days ago."
These words were hardly spoken, when I heard the voice oI a young nobleman exclaiming;
"That is not true."
"The proIession to which I belong," I said to him with great animation, "does not permit me to let anyone give
me the lie."
And upon that, bowing all round, I went away, without taking any notice oI those who were calling me back.
I wore an uniIorm; it seemed to me that I was right in showing that sensitive and haughty pride which Iorms
one oI the characteristics oI military men. I was no longer a priest: I could not bear being given the lie, especially
when it had been given to me in so public a manner.
I called upon Madame Manzoni, whom I was longing to see. She was very happy to see me, and did not Iail
to remind me oI her prediction. I told her my history, which amused her much; but she said that iI I went to
Constantinople I should most likely never see her again.
AIter my visit to Madame Manzoni I went to the house oI Madame Orio, where I Iound worthy M. Rosa,
Nanette, and Marton. They were all greatly surprised, indeed petriIied at seeing me. The two lovely sisters
looked more beautiIul than ever, but I did not think it necessary to tell them the history oI my nine months
absence, Ior it would not have ediIied the aunt or pleased the nieces. I satisIied myselI with telling them as much
as I thought Iit, and amused them Ior three hours. Seeing that the good old lady was carried away by her
enthusiasm, I told her that I should be very happy to pass under her rooI the Iour or Iive weeks oI my stay in
Venice, iI she could give me a room and supper, but on condition that I should not prove a burden to her or to
her charming nieces.
"I should be only too happy," she answered, "to have you so long, but I have no room to oIIer you."
"Yes, you have one, my dear," exclaimed M. Rosa, "and I undertake to put it to rights within two hours."
It was the room adjoining the chamber oI the two sisters. Nanette said immediately that she would come
downstairs with her sister, but Madame Orio answered that it was unnecessary, as they could lock themselves in
their room.
"There would be no need Ior them to do that, madam," I said, with a serious and modest air; "and iI I am likely
to occasion the slightest disturbance, I can remain at the inn."
"There will be no disturbance whatever; but Iorgive my nieces, they are young prudes, and have a very high
opinion oI themselves:"
Everything being satisIactorily arranged, I Iorced upon Madame Orio a payment oI IiIteen sequins in advance,
assuring her that I was rich, and that I had made a very good bargain, as I should spend a great deal more iI I
kept my room at the inn. I added that I would send my luggage, and take up my quarters in her house on the
Iollowing day. During the whole oI the conversation, I could see the eyes oI my two dear little wives sparkling
with pleasure, and they reconquered all their inIluence over my heart in spite oI my love Ior Therese, whose
image was, all the same, brilliant in my soul: this was a passing inIidelity, but not inconstancy.
On the Iollowing day I called at the war oIIice, but, to avoid every chance oI unpleasantness, I took care to
remove my cockade. I Iound in the oIIice Major Pelodoro, who could not control his joy when he saw me in a
military uniIorm, and hugged me with delight. As soon as I had explained to him that I wanted to go to
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Constantinople, and that, although in uniIorm, I was Iree, he advised me earnestly to seek the Iavour oI going to
Turkey with the bailo, who intended to leave within two months, and even to try to obtain service in the Venetian
army.
His advice suited me exactly, and the secretary oI war, who had known me the year beIore, happening to see
me, summoned me to him. He told me that he had received letters Irom Bologna which had inIormed him oI a
certain adventure entirely to my honour, adding that he knew that I would not acknowledge it. He then asked me
iI I had received my discharge beIore leaving the Spanish army.
"I could not receive my discharge, as I was never in the service."
"And how did you manage to come to Venice without perIorming quarantine?"
"Persons coming Irom Mantua are not subject to it."
"True; but I advise you to enter the Venetian service like Major Pelodoro."
As I was leaving the ducal palace, I met the Abbe Grimani who told me that the abrupt manner in which I had
leIt his house had displeased everybody.
"Even the Spanish oIIicer?"
"No, Ior he remarked that, iI you had truly been with the army, you could not act diIIerently, and he has
himselI assured me that you were there, and to prove what he asserted he made me read an article in the
newspaper, in which it is stated that you killed your captain in a duel. OI course it is only a Iable?"
"How do you know that it is not a Iact?"
"Is it true, then?"
"I do not say so, but it may be true, quite as true as my having been with the Spanish army ten days ago."
"But that is impossible, unless you have broken through the quarantine."
"I have broken nothing. I have openly crossed the Po at Revero, and here I am. I am sorry not to be able to
present myselI at your excellency's palace, but I cannot do so until I have received the most complete satisIaction
Irom the person who has given me the lie. I could put up with an insult when I wore the livery oI humility, but I
cannot bear one now that I wear the garb oI honour."
"You are wrong to take it in such a high tone. The person who attacked your veracity is M. Valmarana, the
proveditore oI the sanitary department, and he contends that, as nobody can pass through the cordon, it would
be impossible Ior you to be here. SatisIaction, indeed! Have you Iorgotten who you are?"
"No, I know who I am; and I know likewise that, iI I was taken Ior a coward beIore leaving Venice, now that
I have returned no one shall insult me without repenting it."
"Come and dine with me."
"No, because the Spanish oIIicer would know it."
"He would even see you, Ior he dines with me every day."
"Very well, then I will go, and I will let him be the judge oI my quarrel with M. Valmarana."
I dined that day with Major Pelodoro and several other oIIicers, who agreed in advising me to enter the
service oI the Republic, and I resolved to do so. "I am acquainted," said the major, "with a young lieutenant
whose health is not suIIiciently strong to allow him to go to the East, and who would be glad to sell his
commission, Ior which he wants one hundred sequins. But it would be necessary to obtain the consent oI the
secretary oI war." "Mention the matter to him," I replied, "the one hundred sequins are ready." The major
undertook the commission.
In the evening I went to Madame Orio, and I Iound myselI very comIortably lodged. AIter supper, the aunt
told her nieces to shew me, to my room, and, as may well be supposed, we spent a most delightIul night. AIter
that they took the agreeable duty by turns, and in order to avoid any surprise in case the aunt should take it into
her head to pay them a visit, we skilIully displaced a part oI the partition, which allowed them to come in and out
oI my room without opening the door. But the good lady believed us three living specimens oI virtue, and never
thought oI putting us to the test.
Two or three days aIterwards, M. Grimani contrived an interview between me and M. Valmarana, who told
me that, iI he had been aware that the sanitary line could be eluded, he would never have impugned my veracity,
and thanked me Ior the inIormation I had given him. The aIIair was thus agreeably arranged, and until my
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departure I honoured M. Grimani's excellent dinner with my presence every day.
Towards the end of the month I entered the service of the Republic in the capacity of ensign in the Bala
regiment, then at Corfu; the young man who had left the regiment through the magical virtue of my one hundred
sequins was lieutenant, but the secretary of war objected to my having that rank for reasons to which I had to
submit, if I wished to enter the army; but he promised me that, at the end of the year, I would be promoted to the
grade of lieutenant, and he granted me a furlough to go to Constantinople. I accepted, for I was determined to
serve in the army.
M. Pierre Vendramin, an illustrious senator, obtained me the favour of a passage to Constantinople with the
Chevalier Venier, who was proceeding to that city in the quality of bailo, but as he would arrive in Corfu a month
after me, the chevalier very kindly promised to take me as he called at Corfu.
A few days before my departure, I received a letter from Therese, who informed me that the Duke de
Castropignano escorted her everywhere. "The duke is old," she wrote, "but even if he were young, you would
have no cause for uneasiness on my account. Should you ever want any money, draw upon me from any place
where you may happen to be, and be quite certain that your letters of exchange will be paid, even if I had to sell
everything I possess to honour your signature."
There was to be another passenger on board the ship of the line on which I had engaged my passage, namely,
a noble Venetian, who was going to Zante in the quality of counsellor, with a numerous and brilliant retinue. The
captain of the ship told me that, if I was obliged to take my meals alone, I was not likely to fare very well, and he
advised me to obtain an introduction to the nobleman, who would not fail to invite me to share his table. His
name was Antonio Dolfin, and he had been nicknamed Bucentoro, in consequence of his air of grandeur and the
elegance of his toilet. Fortunately I did not require to beg an introduction, for M. Grimani offered, of his own
accord, to present me to the magnificent councillor, who received me in the kindest manner, and invited me at
once to take my meals at his table. He expressed a desire that I should make the acquaintance of his wife, who
was to accompany him in the journey. I called upon her the next day, and I found a lady perfect in manners, but
already of a certain age and completely deaf. I had therefore but little pleasure to expect from her conversation.
She had a very charming young daughter whom she left in a convent. She became celebrated afterwards, and she
is still alive, I believe, the widow of Procurator Iron, whose family is extinct.
I have seldom seen a finer-looking man, or a man of more imposing appearance than M. Dolfin. He was
eminently distinguished for his wit and politeness. He was eloquent, always cheerful when he lost at cards, the
favourite of ladies, whom he endeavoured to please in everything, always courageous, and of an equal temper,
whether in good or in adverse fortune.
He had ventured on travelling without permission, and had entered a foreign service, which had brought him
into disgrace with the government, for a noble son of Venice cannot be guilty of a greater crime. For this offence
he had been imprisoned in the Leadsa favour which destiny kept also in reserve for me.
Highly gifted, generous, but not wealthy, M. Dolfin had been compelled to solicit from the Grand Council a
lucrative governorship, and had been appointed to Zante; but he started with such a splendid suite that he was
not likely to save much out of his salary. Such a man as I have just portrayed could not make a fortune in Venice,
because an aristocratic government can not obtain a state of lasting, steady peace at home unless equality is
maintained amongst the nobility, and equality, either moral or physical, cannot be appreciated in any other way
than by appearances. The result is that the man who does not want to lay himself open to persecution, and who
happens to be superior or inferior to the others, must endeavour to conceal it by all possible means. If he is
ambitious, he must feign great contempt for dignities; if he seeks employment, he must not appear to want any; if
his features are handsome, he must be careless of his physical appearance; he must dress badly, wear nothing in
good taste, ridicule every foreign importation, make his bow without grace, be careless in his manner; care
nothing for the fine arts, conceal his good breeding, have no foreign cook, wear an uncombed wig, and look
rather dirty. M. Dolfin was not endowed with any of those eminent qualities, and therefore he had no hope of a
great fortune in his native country.
The day before my departure from Venice I did not go out; I devoted the whole of the day to friendship.
Madame Orio and her lovely nieces shed many tears, and I joined them in that delightful employment. During the
last night that I spent with both of them, the sisters repeated over and over, in the midst of the raptures of love,
that they never would see me again. They guessed rightly; but if they had happened to see me again they would
have guessed wrongly. Observe how wonderful prophets are!
I went on board, on the 5th of May, with a good supply of clothing, jewels, and ready cash. Our ship carried
twenty-four guns and two hundred Sclavonian soldiers. We sailed from Malamacca to the shores of Istria during
the night, and we came to anchor in the harbour of Orsera to take ballast. I landed with several others to take a
stroll through the wretched place where I had spent three days nine months before, a recollection which caused
me a pleasant sensation when I compared my present position to what it was at that time. What a difference in
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everythinghealth, social condition, and money! I felt quite certain that in the splendid uniform I was now
wearing nobody would recognize the miserable-looking abbe who, but for Friar Stephano, would have become
God knows what!
CHAPTER IV
An Amusing Meeting in OrseraJourney to CorfuMy Stay in
ConstantinopleBonnevalMy Return to CorfuMadame F.The
False PrinceI Run Away from CorfuMy Frolics at CasopoI
Surrender My self a PrisonerMy Speedy Release and Triumph
My Success with Madame F.
I affirm that a stupid servant is more dangerous than a bad one, and a much greater plague, for one can be on
one's guard against a wicked person, but never against a fool. You can punish wickedness but not stupidity,
unless you send away the fool, male or female, who is guilty of it, and if you do so you generally find out that the
change has only thrown you out of the frying-pan into the fire.
This chapter and the two following ones were written; they gave at full length all the particulars which I must
now abridge, for my silly servant has taken the three chapters for her own purposes. She pleaded as an excuse
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that the sheets oI paper were old, written upon, covered with scribbling and erasures, and that she had taken
them in preIerence to nice, clean paper, thinking that I would care much more Ior the last than Ior the Iirst. I Ilew
into a violent passion, but I was wrong, Ior the poor girl had acted with a good intent; her judgment alone had
misled her. It is well known that the Iirst result oI anger is to deprive the angry man oI the Iaculty oI reason, Ior
anger and reason do not belong to the same Iamily. Luckily, passion does not keep me long under its sway:
'Irasci, celerem tamen et placabilem esse'. AIter I had wasted my time in hurling at her bitter reproaches, the
Iorce oI which did not strike her, and in proving to her that she was a stupid Iool, she reIuted all my arguments by
the most complete silence. There was nothing to do but to resign myselI, and, although not yet in the best oI
tempers, I went to work. What I am going to write will probably not be so good as what I had composed when I
Ielt in the proper humour, but my readers must be satisIied with it they will, like the engineer, gain in time what
they lose in strength.
I landed at Orsera while our ship was taking ballast, as a ship cannot sail well when she is too light, and I was
walking about when I remarked a man who was looking at me very attentively. As I had no dread oI any
creditor, I thought that he was interested by my Iine appearance; I could not Iind Iault with such a Ieeling, and
kept walking on, but as I passed him, he addressed me:
"Might I presume to enquire whether this is your Iirst visit to Orsera, captain?"
"No, sir, it is my second visit to this city."
"Were you not here last year?"
"I was."
"But you were not in uniIorm then?"
"True again; but your questions begin to sound rather indiscreet."
"Be good enough to Iorgive me, sir, Ior my curiosity is the oIIspring oI gratitude. I am indebted to you Ior the
greatest beneIits, and I trust that Providence has brought you here again only to give me the opportunity oI
making greater still my debt oI gratitude to you."
"What on earth have I done, and what can I do Ior you? I am at a loss to guess your meaning."
"Will you be so kind as to come and breakIast with me? My house is near at hand; my reIosco is delicious,
please to taste it, and I will convince you in a Iew words that you are truly my beneIactor, and that I have a right
to expect that you have returned Orsera to load me with Iresh beneIits."
I could not suspect the man oI insanity; but, as I could not make him out, I Iancied that he wanted to make me
purchase some oI his reIosco, and I accepted his invitation. We went up to his room, and he leIt me Ior a Iew
moments to order breakIast. I observed several surgical instruments, which made me suppose that he was a
surgeon, and I asked him when he returned.
"Yes, captain; I have been practising surgery in this place Ior twenty years, and in a very poor way, Ior I had
nothing to do, except a Iew cases oI bleeding, oI cupping, and occasionally some slight excoriation to dress or a
sprained ankle to put to rights. I did not earn even the poorest living. But since last year a great change has taken
place; I have made a good deal oI money, I have laid it out advantageously, and it is to you, captain, to you (may
God bless you!) that I am indebted Ior my present comIorts."
"But how so?"
"In this way, captain. You had a connection with Don Jerome's housekeeper, and you leIt her, when you went
away, a certain souvenir which she communicated to a Iriend oI hers, who, in perIect good Iaith, made a present
oI it to his wiIe. This lady did not wish, I suppose, to be selIish, and she gave the souvenir to a libertine who, in
his turn, was so generous with it that, in less than a month, I had about IiIty clients. The Iollowing months were
not less IruitIul, and I gave the beneIit oI my attendance to everybody, oI course, Ior a consideration. There are a
Iew patients still under my care, but in a short time there will be no more, as the souvenir leIt by you has now lost
all its virtue. You can easily realize now the joy I Ielt when I saw you; you are a bird oI good omen. May I hope
that your visit will last long enough to enable you to renew the source oI my Iortune?"
I laughed heartily, but he was grieved to hear that I was in excellent health. He remarked, however, that I was
not likely to be so well oII on my return, because, in the country to which I was going, there was abundance oI
damaged goods, but that no one knew better than he did how to root out the venom leIt by the use oI such bad
merchandise. He begged that I would depend upon him, and not trust myselI in the hands oI quacks, who would
be sure to palm their remedies upon me. I promised him everything, and, taking leave oI him with many thanks, I
returned to the ship. I related the whole aIIair to M. DolIin, who was highly amused. We sailed on the Iollowing
day, but on the Iourth day, on the other side oI Curzola, we were visited by a storm which very nearly cost me
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my life. This is how it happened:
The chaplain of the ship was a Sclavonian priest, very ignorant, insolent and coarse-mannered, and, as I
turned him into ridicule whenever the opportunity offered, he had naturally become my sworn enemy. 'Tant de fiel
entre-t-il dans l'ame d'un devot!' When the storm was at its height, he posted himself on the quarter-deck, and,
with book in hand, proceeded to exorcise all the spirits of hell whom he thought he could see in the clouds, and
to whom he pointed for the benefit of the sailors who, believing themselves lost, were crying, howling, and giving
way to despair, instead of attending to the working of the ship, then in great danger on account of the rocks and
of the breakers which surrounded us.
Seeing the peril of our position, and the evil effect of his stupid, incantations upon the minds of the sailors
whom the ignorant priest was throwing into the apathy of despair, instead of keeping up their courage, I thought it
prudent to interfere. I went up the rigging, calling upon the sailors to do their duty cheerfully, telling them that
there were no devils, and that the priest who pretended to see them was a fool. But it was in vain that I spoke in
the most forcible manner, in vain that I went to work myself, and shewed that safety was only to be insured by
active means, I could not prevent the priest declaring that I was an Atheist, and he managed to rouse against me
the anger of the greatest part of the crew. The wind continued to lash the sea into fury for the two following days,
and the knave contrived to persuade the sailors who listened to him that the hurricane would not abate as long as
I was on board. Imbued with that conviction, one of the men, thinking he had found a good opportunity of
fulfilling the wishes of the priest, came up to me as I was standing at the extreme end of the forecastle, and
pushed me so roughly that I was thrown over. I should have been irretrievably lost, but the sharp point of an
anchor, hanging along the side of the ship, catching in my clothes, prevented me from falling in the sea, and
proved truly my sheet-anchor. Some men came to my assistance, and I was saved. A corporal then pointed out
to me the sailor who had tried to murder me, and taking a stout stick I treated the scoundrel to a sound thrashing;
but the sailors, headed by the furious priest, rushed towards us when they heard his screams, and I should have
been killed if the soldiers had not taken my part. The commander and M. Dolfin then came on deck, but they
were compelled to listen to the chaplain, and to promise, in order to pacify the vile rabble, that they would land
me at the first opportunity. But even this was not enough; the priest demanded that I should give up to him a
certain parchment that I had purchased from a Greek at Malamocco just before sailing. I had no recollection of
it, but it was true. I laughed, and gave it to M. Dolfin; he handed it to the fanatic chaplain, who, exulting in his
victory, called for a large pan of live coals from the cook's galley, and made an auto-da-fe of the document. The
unlucky parchment, before it was entirely consumed, kept writhing on the fire for half an hour, and the priest did
not fail to represent those contortions as a miracle, and all the sailors were sure that it was an infernal manuscript
given to me by the devil. The virtue claimed for that piece of parchment by the man who had sold it to me was
that it insured its lucky possessor the love of all women, but I trust my readers will do me the justice to believe
that I had no faith whatever in amorous philtres, talismans, or amulets of any kind: I had purchased it only for a
joke.
You can find throughout Italy, in Greece, and generally in every country the inhabitants of which are yet
wrapped up in primitive ignorance, a tribe of Greeks, of Jews, of astronomers, and of exorcists, who sell their
dupes rags and toys to which they boastingly attach wonderful virtues and properties; amulets which render
invulnerable, scraps of cloth which defend from witchcraft, small bags filled with drugs to keep away goblins, and
a thousand gewgaws of the same description. These wonderful goods have no marketable value whatever in
France, in England, in Germany, and throughout the north of Europe generally, but, in revenge, the inhabitants of
those countries indulge in knavish practices of a much worse kind.
The storm abated just as the innocent parchment was writhing on the fire, and the sailors, believing that the
spirits of hell had been exorcised, thought no more of getting rid of my person, and after a prosperous voyage of
a week we cast anchor at Corfu. As soon as I had found a comfortable lodging I took my letters to his eminence
the proveditore-generale, and to all the naval commanders to whom I was recommended; and after paying my
respects to my colonel, and making the acquaintance of the officers of my regiment, I prepared to enjoy myself
until the arrival of the Chevalier Venier, who had promised to take me to Constantinople. He arrived towards the
middle of June, but in the mean time I had been playing basset, and had lost all my money, and sold or pledged
all my jewellery.
Such must be the fate awaiting every man who has a taste for gambling, unless he should know how to fix
fickle fortune by playing with a real advantage derived from calculation or from adroitness, which defies chance. I
think that a cool and prudent player can manage both without exposing himself to censure, or deserving to be
called a cheat.
During the month that I spent in Corfu, waiting for the arrival of M. Venier, I did not devote any time to the
study, either moral or physical, of the country, for, excepting the days on which I was on duty, I passed my life at
the coffee-house, intent upon the game, and sinking, as a matter of course, under the adverse fortune which I
braved with obstinacy. I never won, and I had not the moral strength to stop till all my means were gone. The
only comfort I had, and a sorry one truly, was to hear the banker himself call meperhaps sarcasticallya fine
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player, every time I lost a large stake. My misery was at its height, when new liIe was inIused in me by the
booming oI the guns Iired in honour oI the arrival oI the bailo. He was on board the Europa, a Irigate oI seventy-
two guns, and he had taken only eight days to sail Irom Venice to CorIu. The moment he cast anchor, the bailo
hoisted his Ilag oI captain-general oI the Venetian navy, and the proveditore hauled down his own colours. The
Republic oI Venice has not on the sea any authority greater than that oI Bailo to the Porte. The Chevalier Venier
had with him a distinguished and brilliant suite; Count Annibal Gambera, Count Charles Zenobio, both Venetian
noblemen oI the Iirst class, and the Marquis d'Anchotti oI Bressan, accompanied him to Constantinople Ior their
own amusement. The bailo remained a week in CorIu, and all the naval authorities entertained him and his suite in
turn, so that there was a constant succession oI balls and suppers. When I presented myselI to his excellency, he
inIormed me that he had already spoken to the proveditore, who had granted me a Iurlough oI six months to
enable me to accompany him to Constantinople as his adjutant; and as soon as the oIIicial document Ior my
Iurlough had been delivered to me, I sent my small stock oI worldly goods on board the Europa, and we
weighed anchor early the next day.
We sailed with a Iavourable wind which remained steady and brought us in six days to Cerigo, where we
stopped to take in some water. Feeling some curiosity to visit the ancient Cythera, I went on shore with the
sailors on duty, but it would have been better Ior me iI I had remained on board, Ior in Cerigo I made a bad
acquaintance. I was accompanied by the captain oI marines.
The moment we set Ioot on shore, two men, very poorly dressed and oI unprepossessing appearance, came
to us and begged Ior assistance. I asked them who they were, and one, quicker than the other, answered;
"We are sentenced to live, and perhaps to die, in this island by the despotism oI the Council oI Ten. There are
Iorty others as unIortunate as ourselves, and we are all born subjects oI the Republic.
"The crime oI which we have been accused, which is not considered a crime anywhere, is that we were in the
habit oI living with our mistresses, without being jealous oI our Iriends, when, Iinding our ladies handsome, they
obtained their Iavours with our ready consent. As we were not rich, we Ielt no remorse in availing ourselves oI
the generosity oI our Iriends in such cases, but it was said that we were carrying on an illicit trade, and we have
been sent to this place, where we receive every day ten sous in 'moneta lunga'. We are called 'mangia-mayroni',
and are worse oII than galley slaves, Ior we are dying oI ennui, and we are oIten starving without knowing how to
stay our hunger. My name is Don Antonio Pocchini, I am oI a noble Paduan Iamily, and my mother belongs to
the illustrious Iamily oI Campo San-Piero."
We gave them some money, and went about the island, returning to the ship aIter we had visited the Iortress. I
shall have to speak oI that Pocchini in a Iew years.
The wind continued in our Iavour, and we reached the Dardanelles in eight or ten days; the Turkish barges met
us there to carry us to Constantinople. The sight oIIered by that city at the distance oI a league is truly wonderIul;
and I believe that a more magniIicent panorama cannot be Iound in any part oI the world. It was that splendid
view which was the cause oI the Iall oI the Roman, and oI the rise oI the Greek empire. Constantine the Great,
arriving at Byzantium by sea, was so much struck with the wonderIul beauty oI its position, that he exclaimed,
"Here is the proper seat oI the empire oI the whole world!" and in order to secure the IulIilment oI his prediction,
he leIt Rome Ior Byzantium. II he had known the prophecy oI Horace, or rather iI he had believed in it, he would
not have been guilty oI such Iolly. The poet had said that the downIall oI the Roman empire would begin only
when one oI the successors oI Augustus bethought him removing the capital oI the empire to where it had
originated. The road is not Iar distant Irom Thrace.
We arrived at the Venetian Embassy in Pera towards the middle oI July, and, Ior a wonder, there was no talk
oI the plague in Constantinople just then. We were all provided with very comIortable lodgings, but the intensity
oI the heat induced the baili to seek Ior a little coolness in a country mansion which had been hired by the Bailo
Dona. It was situated at Bouyoudere. The very Iirst order laid upon me was never to go out unknown to the
bailo, and without being escorted by a janissary, and this order I obeyed to the letter. In those days the Russians
had not tamed the insolence oI the Turkish people. I am told that Ioreigners can now go about as much as they
please in perIect security.
The day aIter our arrival, I took a janissary to accompany me to Osman Pacha, oI Caramania, the name
assumed by Count de Bonneval ever since he had adopted the turban. I sent in my letter, and was immediately
shewn into an apartment on the ground Iloor, Iurnished in the French Iashion, where I saw a stout elderly
gentleman, dressed like a Frenchman, who, as I entered the room, rose, came to meet me with a smiling
countenance, and asked me how he could serve the 'protege' oI a cardinal oI the Roman Catholic Church, which
he could no longer call his mother. I gave him all the particulars oI the circumstances which, in a moment oI
despair, had induced me to ask the cardinal Ior letters oI introduction Ior Constantinople, and I added that, the
letters once in my possession, my superstitious Ieelings had made me believe that I was bound to deliver them in
person.
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"Then, without this letter," he said, "you never would have come to Constantinople, and you have no need oI
me?"
"True, but I consider myselI Iortunate in having thus made the acquaintance oI a man who has attracted the
attention oI the whole oI Europe, and who still commands that attention."
His excellency made some remark respecting the happiness oI young men who, like me, without care, without
any Iixed purpose, abandon themselves to Iortune with that conIidence which knows no Iear, and telling me that
the cardinal's letter made it desirable that he should do something Ior me, he promised to introduce me to three
or Iour oI his Turkish Iriends who deserved to be known. He invited me to dine with him every Thursday, and
undertook to send me a janissary who would protect me Irom the insults oI the rabble and shew me everything
worth seeing.
The cardinal's letter representing me as a literary man, the pacha observed that I ought to see his library. I
Iollowed him through the garden, and we entered a room Iurnished with grated cupboards; curtains could be
seen behind the wirework; the books were most likely behind the curtains.
Taking a key out oI his pocket, he opened one oI the cupboards, and, instead oI Iolios, I saw long rows oI
bottles oI the Iinest wines. We both laughed heartily.
"Here are," said the pacha, "my library and my harem. I am old, women would only shorten my liIe but good
wine will prolong it, or at least, make it more agreeable.
"I imagine your excellency has obtained a dispensation Irom the muIti?"
"You are mistaken, Ior the Pope oI the Turks is very Iar Irom enjoying as great a power as the Christian Pope.
He cannot in any case permit what is Iorbidden by the Koran; but everyone is at liberty to work out his own
damnation iI he likes. The Turkish devotees pity the libertines, but they do not persecute them; there is no
inquisition in Turkey. Those who do not know the precepts oI religion, say the Turks, will suIIer enough in the liIe
to come; there is no need to make them suIIer in this liIe. The only dispensation I have asked and obtained, has
been respecting circumcision, although it can hardly be called so, because, at my age, it might have proved
dangerous. That ceremony is generally perIormed, but it is not compulsory."
During the two hours that we spent together, the pacha enquired aIter several oI his Iriends in Venice, and
particularly aIter Marc Antonio Dieto. I told him that his Iriends were still IaithIul to their aIIection Ior him, and did
not Iind Iault with his apostasy. He answered that he was a Mahometan as he had been a Christian, and that he
was not better acquainted with the Koran than he had been with the Gospel. "I am certain," he added, "that I
shall die-calmer and much happier than Prince Eugene. I have had to say that God is God, and that Mahomet is
the prophet. I have said it, and the Turks care very little whether I believe it or not. I wear the turban as the
soldier wears the uniIorm. I was nothing but a military man; I could not have turned my hand to any other
proIession, and I made up my mind to become lieutenant-general oI the Grand Turk only when I Iound myselI
entirely at a loss how to earn my living. When I leIt Venice, the pitcher had gone too oIten to the well, it was
broken at last, and iI the Jews had oIIered me the command oI an army oI IiIty thousand men, I would have gone
and besieged Jerusalem."
Bonneval was handsome, but too stout. He had received a sabre-cut in the lower part oI the abdomen, which
compelled him to wear constantly a bandage supported by a silver plate. He had been exiled to Asia, but only Ior
a short time, Ior, as he told me, the cabals are not so tenacious in Turkey as they are in Europe, and particularly
at the court oI Vienna. As I was taking leave oI him, he was kind enough to say that, since his arrival in Turkey,
he had never passed two hours as pleasantly as those he had just spent with me, and that he would compliment
the bailo about me.
The Bailo Dona, who had known him intimately in Venice, desired me to be the bearer oI all his Iriendly
compliments Ior him, and M. Venier expressed his deep regret at not being able to make his acquaintance.
The second day aIter my Iirst visit to him being a Thursday, the pacha did not Iorget to send a janissary
according to his promise. It was about eleven in the morning when the janissary called Ior me, I Iollowed him,
and this time I Iound Bonneval dressed in the Turkish style. His guests soon arrived, and we sat down to dinner,
eight oI us, all well disposed to be cheerIul and happy. The dinner was entirely French, in cooking and service;
his steward and his cook were both worthy French renegades.
He had taken care to introduce me to all his guests and at the same time to let me know who they were, but he
did not give me an opportunity oI speaking beIore dinner was nearly over. The conversation was entirely kept up
in Italian, and I remarked that the Turks did not utter a single word in their own language, even to say the most
ordinary thing. Each guest had near him a bottle which might have contained either white wine or hydromel; all I
know is that I drank, as well as M. de Bonneval, next to whom I was seated, some excellent white Burgundy.
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The guests got me on the subject oI Venice, and particularly oI Rome, and the conversation very naturally Iell
upon religion, but not upon dogmatic questions; the discipline oI religion and liturgical questions were alone
discussed.
One oI the guests, who was addressed as eIIendi, because he had been secretary Ior Ioreign aIIairs, said that
the ambassador Irom Venice to Rome was a Iriend oI his, and he spoke oI him in the highest manner. I told him
that I shared his admiration Ior that ambassador, who had given me a letter oI introduction Ior a Turkish
nobleman, whom he had represented as an intimate Iriend. He enquired Ior the name oI the person to whom the
letter was addressed, but I could not recollect it, and took the letter out oI my pocket-book. The eIIendi was
delighted when he Iound that the letter was Ior himselI. He begged leave to read it at once, and aIter he had
perused it, he kissed the signature and came to embrace me. This scene pleased M. de Bonneval and all his
Iriends. The eIIendi, whose name was Ismail, entreated the pacha to come to dine with him, and to bring me;
Bonneval accepted, and Iixed a day.
Notwithstanding all the politeness oI the eIIendi, I was particularly interested during our charming dinner in a
Iine elderly man oI about sixty, whose countenance breathed at the same time the greatest sagacity and the most
perIect kindness. Two years aIterwards I Iound again the same Ieatures on the handsome Iace oI M. de
Bragadin, a Venetian senator oI whom I shall have to speak at length when we come to that period oI my liIe.
That elderly gentleman had listened to me with the greatest attention, but without uttering one word. In society, a
man whose Iace and general appearance excite your interest, stimulates strongly your curiosity iI he remains
silent. When we leIt the dining-room I enquired Irom de Bonneval who he was; he answered that he was
wealthy, a philosopher, a man oI acknowledged merit, oI great purity oI morals, and strongly attached to his
religion. He advised me to cultivate his acquaintance iI he made any advances to me.
I was pleased with his advice, and when, aIter a walk under the shady trees oI the garden, we returned to a
drawing-room Iurnished in the Turkish Iashion, I purposely took a seat near YusuI Ali. Such was the name oI the
Turk Ior whom I Ielt so much sympathy. He oIIered me his pipe in a very graceIul manner; I reIused it politely,
and took one brought to me by one oI M. de Bonneval's servants. Whenever I have been amongst smokers I
have smoked or leIt the room; otherwise I would have Iancied that I was swallowing the smoke oI the others,
and that idea which is true and unpleasant, disgusted me. I have never been able to understand how in Germany
the ladies, otherwise so polite and delicate, could inhale the suIIocating Iumes oI a crowd oI smokers.
YusuI, pleased to have me near him, at once led the conversation to subjects similar to those which had been
discussed at table, and particularly to the reasons which had induced me to give up the peaceIul proIession oI the
Church and to choose a military liIe; and in order to gratiIy his curiosity without losing his good opinion, I gave
him, but with proper caution, some oI the particulars oI my liIe, Ior I wanted him to be satisIied that, iI I had at
Iirst entered the career oI the holy priesthood, it had not been through any vocation oI mine. He seemed pleased
with my recital, spoke oI natural vocations as a Stoic philosopher, and I saw that he was a Iatalist; but as I was
careIul not to attack his system openly, he did not dislike my objections, most likely because he thought himselI
strong enough to overthrow them.
I must have inspired the honest Mussulman with very great esteem, Ior he thought me worthy oI becoming his
disciple; it was not likely that he could entertain the idea oI becoming himselI the disciple oI a young man oI
nineteen, lost, as he thought, in a Ialse religion.
AIter spending an hour in examining me, in listening to my principles, he said that he believed me Iit to know
the real truth, because he saw that I was seeking Ior it, and that I was not certain oI having obtained it so Iar. He
invited me to come and spend a whole day with him, naming the days when I would be certain to Iind him at
home, but he advised me to consult the Pacha Osman beIore accepting his invitation. I told him that the pacha
had already mentioned him to me and had spoken very highly oI his character; he seemed much pleased. I Iixed a
day Ior my visit, and leIt him.
I inIormed M. de Bonneval oI all that had occurred; he was delighted, and promised that his janissary would
be every day at the Venetian palace, ready to execute my orders.
I received the congratulations oI the baili upon the excellent acquaintances I had already made, and M. Venier
advised me not to neglect such Iriends in a country where weariness oI liIe was more deadly to Ioreigners than
the plague.
On the day appointed, I went early to YusuI's palace, but he was out. His gardener, who had received his
instructions, shewed me every attention, and entertained me very agreeably Ior two hours in doing the honours oI
his master's splendid garden, where I Iound the most beautiIul Ilowers. This gardener was a Neapolitan, and had
belonged to YusuI Ior thirty years. His manners made me suspect that he was well born and well educated, but
he told me Irankly that he had never been taught even to read, that he was a sailor when he, was taken in slavery,
and that he was so happy in the service oI YusuI that liberty would be a punishment to him. OI course I did not
venture to address him any questions about his master, Ior his reserve might have put my curiosity to the blush.
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Yusuf had gone out on horseback; he returned, and, after the usual compliments, we dined alone in a
summerhouse, from which we had a fine view of the sea, and in which the heat was cooled by a delightful breeze,
which blows regularly at the same hour every day from the north-west; and is called the mistral. We had a good
dinner; there was no prepared dish except the cauroman, a peculiar delicacy of the Turks. I drank water and
hydromel, and I told Yusuf that I preferred the last to wine, of which I never took much at that time. "Your
hydromel," I said, "is very good, and the Mussulmans who offend against the law by drinking wine do not
deserve any indulgence; I believe they drink wine only because it is forbidden." "Many of the true believers," he
answered, "think that they can take it as a medicine. The Grand Turk's physician has brought it into vogue as a
medicine, and it has been the cause of his fortune, for he has captivated the favour of his master who is in reality
constantly ill, because he is always in a state of intoxication." I told Yusuf that in my country drunkards were
scarce, and that drunkenness was a vice to be found only among the lowest people; he was much astonished. "I
cannot understand," he said, "why wine is allowed by all religions, when its use deprives man of his
reason.""All religions," I answered, "forbid excess in drinking wine, and the crime is only in the abuse." I
proved him the truth of what I had said by telling him that opium produced the same results as wine, but more
powerfully, and consequently Mahomet ought to have forbidden the use of it. He observed that he had never
taken either wine or opium in the course of his life.
After dinner, pipes were brought in and we filled them ourselves. I was smoking with pleasure, but, at the
same time, was expectorating. Yusuf, who smoked like a Turk, that is to say, without spitting, said,
"The tobacco you are now smoking is of a very fine quality, and you ought to swallow its balsam which is
mixed with the saliva."
"I suppose you are right; smoking cannot be truly enjoyed without the best tobacco."
"That is true to a certain extent, but the enjoyment found in smoking good tobacco is not the principal
pleasure, because it only pleases our senses; true enjoyment is that which works upon the soul, and is completely
independent of the senses."
"I cannot realize pleasures enjoyed by the soul without the instrumentality of the senses."
"Listen to me. When you fill your pipe do you feel any pleasure?"
"Yes."
"Whence does that pleasure arise, if it is not from your soul? Let us go further. Do you not feel pleased when
you give up your pipe after having smoked all the tobacco in itwhen you see that nothing is left but some
ashes?"
"It is true."
"Well, there are two pleasures in which your senses have certainly nothing to do, but I want you to guess the
third, and the most essential."
"The most essential? It is the perfume."
"No; that is a pleasure of the organ of smellinga sensual pleasure."
"Then I do not know."
"Listen. The principal pleasure derived from tobacco smoking is the sight of a smoke itself. You must never
see it go out of the bowl of your pipe,but only from the corner o your mouth, at regular intervals which must
not be too frequent. It is so truly the greatest pleasure connected with the pipe, that you cannot find anywhere a
blind man who smokes. Try yourself the experiment of smoking a pipe in your room, at night and without a light;
you will soon lay the pipe down."
"It is all perfectly true; yet you must forgive me if I give the preference to several pleasures, in which my senses
are interested, over those which afford enjoyment only to my soul."
"Forty years ago I was of the same opinion, and in forty years, if you succeed in acquiring wisdom, you will
think like me. Pleasures which give activity to our senses, my dear son, disturb the repose of our soula proof
that they do not deserve the name of real enjoyments."
"But if I feel them to be real enjoyments, it is enough to prove that they are truly so."
"Granted; but if you would take the trouble of analyzing them after you have tasted them, you would not find
them unalloyed."
"It may be so, but why should I take a trouble which would only lessen my enjoyment."
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"A time will come when you will feel pleasure in that very trouble."
"It strikes me, dear father, that you prefer mature age to youth."
"You may boldly say old age."
"You surprise me. Must I believe that your early life has been unhappy?"
"Far from it. It was always fortunate in good health, and the master of my own passions; but all I saw in my
equals was for me a good school in which I have acquired the knowledge of man, and learned the real road to
happiness. The happiest of men is not the most voluptuous, but the one who knows how to choose the highest
standards of voluptuousness, which can be found, I say again, not in the pleasures which excite our senses, but in
those which give greater repose to the soul."
"That is the voluptuousness which you consider unalloyed."
"Yes, and such is the sight of a vast prairie all covered with grass. The green colour, so strongly recommended
by our divine prophet, strikes my eyes, and at the same moment I feel that my soul is wrapped up in a calm so
delightful that I fancy myself nearer the Creator. I enjoy the same peace, the same repose, when I am seated on
the banks of a river, when I look upon the water so quiet, yet always moving, which flows constantly, yet never
disappears from my sight, never loses any of its clearness in spite of its constant motion. It strikes me as the
image of my own existence, and of the calm which I require for my life in order to reach, like the water I am
gazing upon, the goal which I do not see, and which can only be found at the other end of the journey."
Thus did the Turk reason, and we passed four hours in this sort of conversation. He had buried two wives,
and he had two sons and one daughter. The eldest son, having received his patrimony, had established himself in
the city of Salonica, where he was a wealthy merchant; the other was in the seraglio, in the service of the Grand
Turk and his fortune was in the hands of a trustee. His daughter, Zelmi, then fifteen years of age, was to inherit all
his remaining property. He had given her all the accomplishments which could minister to the happiness of the
man whom heaven had destined for her husband. We shall hear more of that daughter anon. The mother of the
three children was dead, and five years previous to the time of my visit, Yusuf had taken another wife, a native of
Scio, young and very beautiful, but he told me himself that he was now too old, and could not hope to have any
child by her. Yet he was only sixty years of age. Before I left, he made me promise to spend at least one day
every week with him.
At supper, I told the baili how pleasantly the day had passed.
"We envy you," they said, "the prospect you have before you of spending agreeably three or four months in
this country, while, in our quality of ministers, we must pine away with melancholy."
A few days afterwards, M. de Bonneval took me with him to dine at Ismail's house, where I saw Asiatic
luxury on a grand scale, but there were a great many guests, and the conversation was held almost entirely in the
Turkish languagea circumstance which annoyed me and M. de Bonneval also. Ismail saw it, and he invited me
to breakfast whenever I felt disposed, assuring me that he would have much pleasure in receiving me. I accepted
the invitation, and I went ten or twelve days afterwards. When we reach that period my readers must kindly
accompany me to the breakfast. For the present I must return to Yusuf who, during my second visit, displayed a
character which inspired, me with the greatest esteem and the warmest affection.
We had dined alone as before, and, conversation happening to turn upon the fine arts, I gave my opinion upon
one of the precepts in the Koran, by which the Mahometans are deprived of the innocent enjoyment of paintings
and statues. He told me that Mahomet, a very sagacious legislator, had been right in removing all images from the
sight of the followers of Islam.
"Recollect, my son, that the nations to which the prophet brought the knowledge of the true God were all
idolators. Men are weak; if the disciples of the prophet had continued to see the same objects, they might have
fallen back into their former errors."
"No one ever worshipped an image as an image; the deity of which the image is a representation is what is
worshipped."
"I may grant that, but God cannot be matter, and it is right to remove from the thoughts of the vulgar the idea
of a material divinity. You are the only men, you Christians, who believe that you see God."
"It is true, we are sure of it, but observe that faith alone gives us that certainty."
"I know it; but you are idolators, for you see nothing but a material representation, and yet you have a
complete certainty that you see God, unless you should tell me that faith disaffirms it."
"God forbid I should tell you such a thing! Faith, on the contrary, affirms our certainty."
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"We thank God that we have no need of such self-delusion, and there is not one philosopher in the world who
could prove to me that you require it."
"That would not be the province of philosophy, dear father, but of theologya very superior science."
"You are now speaking the language of our theologians, who differ from yours only in this; they use their
science to make clearer the truths we ought to know, whilst your theologians try to render those truths more
obscure."
"Recollect, dear father, that they are mysteries."
"The existence of God is a sufficiently important mystery to prevent men from daring to add anything to it. God
can only be simple; any kind of combination would destroy His essence; such is the God announced by our
prophet, who must be the same for all men and in all times. Agree with me that we can add nothing to the
simplicity of God. We say that God is one; that is the image of simplicity. You say that He is one and three at the
same time, and such a definition strikes us as contradictory, absurd, and impious."
"It is a mystery."
"Do you mean God or the definition? I am speaking only of the definition, which ought not to be a mystery or
absurd. Common sense, my son, must consider as absurd an assertion which substantiallv nonsensical. Prove to
me that three is not a compound, that it cannot be a compound and I will become a Christian at once."
"My religion tells me to believe without arguing, and I shudder, my dear Yusuf, when I think that, through
some specious reasoning, I might be led to renounce the creed of my fathers. I first must be convinced that they
lived in error. Tell me whether, respecting my father's memory, I ought to have such a good opinion of myself as
to sit in judgement over him, with the intention of giving my sentence against him?"
My lively remonstrance moved Yusuf deeply, but after a few instants of silence he said to me,
"With such feelings, my son, you are sure to find grace in the eyes of God, and you are, therefore, one of the
elect. If you are in error, God alone can convince you of it, for no just man on earth can refute the sentiment you
have just given expression to."
We spoke of many other things in a friendly manner, and in the evening we parted with the often repeated
assurance of the warmest affection and of the most perfect devotion.
But my mind was full of our conversation, and as I went on pondering over the matter, I thought that Yusuf
might be right in his opinion as to the essence of God, for it seemed evident that the Creator of all beings ought to
be perfectly simple; but I thought at the same time how impossible it would be for me, because the Christian
religion had made a mistake, to accept the Turkish creed, which might perhaps have just a conception of God,
but which caused me to smile when I recollected that the man who had given birth to it had been an arrant
imposter. I had not the slightest idea, however, that Yusuf wished to make a convert of me.
The third time I dined with him religion was again the subject of conversation.
"Do you believe, dear father, that the religion of Mahomet is the only one in which salvation can be secured?"
"No, my dear son, I am not certain of it, and no man can have such a certainty; but I am sure that the Christian
religion is not the true one, because it cannot be universal."
"Why not?"
"Because there is neither bread nor wine to be found in three-fourths of the world. Observe that the precepts
of the Koran can be followed everywhere."
I did not know how to answer, and I would not equivocate.
"If God cannot be matter," I said, "then He must be a spirit?"
"We know what He is not but we do not know what He is: man cannot affirm that God is a spirit, because he
can only realize the idea in an abstract manner. God immaterial; that is the extent of our knowledge and it can
never be greater."
I was reminded of Plato, who had said exactly the same an most certainly Yusuf never read Plato.
He added that the existence of God could be useful only to those who did not entertain a doubt of that
existence, and that, as a natural consequence, Atheists must be the most miserable of men. God has made in man
His own image in order that, amongst all the animals created by Him, there should be one that can understand
and confess the existence of the Creator. Without man, God would have no witness of His own glory, and man
must therefore understand that his first and highest duty is to glorify God by practising justice and trusting to His
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providence.
"Observe, my son, that God never abandons the man who, in the midst oI misIortunes, Ialls down in prayer
beIore Him, and that He oIten allows the wretch who has no Iaith in prayer to die miserably."
"Yet we meet with Atheists who are Iortunate and happy."
"True; but, in spite oI their tranquillity, I pity them because they have no hope beyond this liIe, and are on a
level with animals. Besides, iI they are philosophers, they must linger in dark ignorance, and, iI they never think,
they have no consolation, no resource, when adversity reaches them. God has made man in such a manner that
he cannot be happy unless he entertains no doubt oI the existence oI his Divine Creator; in all stations oI liIe man
is naturally prone to believe in that existence, otherwise man would never have admitted one God, Creator oI all
beings and oI all things."
"I should like to know why Atheism has only existed in the systems oI the learned, and never as a national
creed."
"Because the poor Ieel their wants much more than the rich, There are amongst us a great many impious men
who deride the true believers because they have Iaith in the pilgrimage to Mecca. Wretches that they are, they
ought to respect the ancient customs which, exciting the devotion oI Iervent souls, Ieed religious principles, and
impart courage under all misIortunes. Without such consolation, people would give way to all the excess oI
despair."
Much pleased with the attention I gave to all he said, YusuI would thus yield to the inclination he Ielt to instruct
me, and, on my side, Ieeling myselI drawn towards him by the charm which amiable goodness exerts upon all
hearts, I would oIten go and spend the day with him, even without any previous invitation, and YusuI's Iriendship
soon became one oI my most precious treasures.
One morning, I told my janissary to take me to the palace oI Ismail EIIendi, in order to IulIil my promise to
breakIast with him. He gave me the most Iriendly welcome, and aIter an excellent breakIast he invited me to take
a walk in his garden. We Iound there a pretty summer-house which we entered, and Ismail attempted some
liberties which were not at all to my taste, and which I resented by rising in a very abrupt manner. Seeing that I
was angry, the Turk aIIected to approve my reserve, and said that he had only been joking. I leIt him aIter a Iew
minutes, with the intention oI not visiting him again, but I was compelled to do so, as I will explain by-and-by.
When I saw M. de Bonneval I told him what had happened and he said that, according to Turkish manners,
Ismail had intended to give me a great prooI oI his Iriendship, but that I need not be aIraid oI the oIIence being
repeated. He added that politeness required that I should visit him again, and that Ismail was, in spite oI his
Iailing, a perIect gentleman, who had at his disposal the most beautiIul Iemale slaves in Turkey.
Five or six weeks aIter the commencement oI our intimacy, YusuI asked me one day whether I was married. I
answered that I was not; the conversation turned upon several moral questions, and at last Iell upon chastity,
which, in his opinion, could be accounted a virtue only iI considered Irom one point oI view, namely, that oI total
abstinence, but he added that it could not be acceptable to God; because it transgressed against the very Iirst
precept He had given to man.
"I would like to know, Ior instance," he said, "what name can be given to the chastity oI your knights oI Malta.
They take a vow oI chastity, but it does not mean that they will renounce women altogether, they renounce
marriage only. Their chastity, and thereIore chastity in general, is violated only by marriage; yet I observe that
marriage is one oI your sacraments. ThereIore, those knights oI Malta promise not to give way to lustIul
incontinence in the only case in which God might Iorgive it, but they reserve the license oI being lustIul unlawIully
as oIten as they please, and whenever an opportunity may oIIer itselI; and that immoral, illicit license is granted to
them to such an extent, that they are allowed to acknowledge legally a child which can be born to them only
through a double crime! The most revolting part oI it all is that these children oI crime, who are oI course
perIectly innocent themselves, are called natural children, as iI children born in wedlock came into the world in an
unnatural manner! In one word, my dear son, the vow oI chastity is so much opposed to Divine precepts and to
human nature that it can be agreeable neither to God nor to society, nor to those who pledge themselves to keep
it, and being in such opposition to every divine and human law, it must be a crime."
He enquired Ior the second time whether I was married; I replied in the negative, and added that I had no idea
oI ever getting married.
"What!" he exclaimed; "I must then believe that you are not a perIect man, or that you intend to work out your
own damnation; unless you should tell me that you are a Christian only outwardly."
"I am a man in the very strongest sense oI the word, and I am a true Christian. I must even conIess that I
adore women, and that I have not the slightest idea oI depriving myselI oI the most delightIul oI all pleasures."
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"According to your religion, damnation awaits you."
"I Ieel certain oI the contrary, because, when we conIess our sins, our priests are compelled to give us
absolution."
"I know it, but you must agree with me that it is absurd to suppose that God will Iorgive a crime which you
would, perhaps, not commit, iI you did not think that, aIter conIession, a priest, a man like you, will give you
absolution. God Iorgives only the repenting sinner."
"No doubt oI it, and conIession supposes repentance; without it, absolution has no eIIect."
"Is onanism a crime amongst you?"
"Yes, even greater than lustIul and illegitimate copulation."
"I was aware oI it, and it has always caused me great surprise, Ior the legislator who enacts a law, the
execution oI which is impossible, is a Iool. A man in good health, iI he cannot have a woman, must necessarily
have recourse to onanism, whenever imperious nature demands it, and the man who, Irom Iear oI polluting his
soul, would abstain Irom it, would only draw upon himselI a mortal disease."
"We believe exactly the reverse; we think that young people destroy their constitutions, and shorten their lives
through selI-abuse. In several communities they are closely watched, and are as much as possible deprived oI
every opportunity oI indulging in that crime."
"Those who watch them are ignorant Iools, and those who pay the watchers Ior such a service are even more
stupid, because prohibition must excite the wish to break through such a tyrannical law, to set at nought an
interdiction so contrary to nature."
"Yet it seems to me that selI-abuse in excess must be injurious to health, Ior it must weaken and enervate."
"Certainly, because excess in everything is prejudicial and pernicious; but all such excess is the result oI our
severe prohibition. II girls are not interIered with in the matter oI selI-abuse, I do not see why boys should be."
"Because girls are very Iar Irom running the same risk; they do not lose a great deal in the action oI selI-abuse,
and what they lose does not come Irom the same source whence Ilows the germinal liquid in men."
"I do not know, but we have some physicians who say that chlorosis in girls is the result oI that pleasure
indulged in to excess."
AIter many such conversations, in which he seemed to consider me as endowed with reason and talent, even
when I was not oI his opinion, YusuI Ali surprised me greatly one day by the Iollowing proposition:
"I have two sons and a daughter. I no longer think oI my sons, because they have received their share oI my
Iortune. As Iar as my daughter is concerned she will, aIter my death, inherit all my possessions, and I am,
besides, in a position while I am alive to promote the Iortune oI the man who may marry her. Five years ago I
took a young wiIe, but she has not given me any progeny, and I know to a certainty that no oIIspring will bless
our union. My daughter, whose name is Zelmi, is now IiIteen; she is handsome, her eyes are black and lovely like
her mother's, her hair is oI the colour oI the raven's wing, her complexion is animated alabaster; she is tall, well
made, and oI a sweet disposition; I have given her an education which would make her worthy oI our master, the
Sultan. She speaks Greek and Italian Iluently, she sings delightIully, and accompanies herselI on the harp; she can
draw and embroider, and is always contented and cheerIul. No living man can boast oI having seen her Ieatures,
and she loves me so dearly that my will is hers. My daughter is a treasure, and I oIIer her to you iI you will
consent to go Ior one year to Adrianople to reside with a relative oI mine, who will teach you our religion, our
language, and our manners. You will return at the end oI one year, and as soon as you have become a
Mussulman my daughter shall be your wiIe. You will Iind a house ready Iurnished, slaves oI your own, and an
income which will enable you to live in comIort. I have no more to say at present. I do not wish you to answer
me either to-day, or to-morrow, or on any Iixed day. You will give me your decision whenever you Ieel yourselI
called upon by your genius to give it, and you need not give me any answer unless you accept my oIIer, Ior,
should you reIuse it, it is not necessary that the subject should be again mentioned. I do not ask you to give Iull
consideration to my proposal, Ior now that I have thrown the seed in your soul it must IructiIy. Without hurry,
without delay, without anxiety, you can but obey the decrees oI God and Iollow the immutable decision oI Iate.
Such as I know you, I believe that you only require the possession oI Zelmi to be completely happy, and that you
will become one oI the pillars oI the Ottoman Empire."
Saying those words, YusuI pressed me aIIectionately in his arms, and leIt me by myselI to avoid any answer I
might be inclined to make. I went away in such wonder at all I had just heard, that I Iound myselI at the Venetian
Embassy without knowing how I had reached it. The baili thought me very pensive, and asked whether anything
was the matter with me, but I did not Ieel disposed to gratiIy their curiosity. I Iound that YusuI had indeed
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spoken truly: his proposal was oI such importance that it was my duty, not only not to mention it to anyone, but
even to abstain Irom thinking it over, until my mind had recovered its calm suIIiciently to give me the assurance
that no external consideration would weigh in the balance and inIluence my decision. I had to silence all my
passions; prejudices, principles already Iormed, love, and even selI-interest were to remain in a state oI complete
inaction.
When I awoke the next morning I began to think the matter over, and I soon discovered that, iI I wanted to
come to a decision, I ought not to ponder over it, as the more I considered the less likely I should be to decide.
This was truly a case Ior the 'sequere Deum' oI the Stoics.
I did not visit YusuI Ior Iour days, and when I called on him on the IiIth day, we talked cheerIully without once
mentioning his proposal, although it was very evident that we were both thinking oI it. We remained thus Ior a
Iortnight, without ever alluding to the matter which engrossed all our thoughts, but our silence was not caused by
dissimulation, or by any Ieeling contrary to our mutual esteem and Iriendship; and one day YusuI suggested that
very likely I had communicated his proposal to some wise Iriend, in order to obtain good advice. I immediately
assured him it was not so, and that in a matter oI so delicate a nature I thought I ought not to ask anybody's
advice.
"I have abandoned myselI to God, dear YusuI, and, Iull oI conIidence in Him, I Ieel certain that I shall decide
Ior the best, whether I make up my mind to become your son, or believe that I ought to remain what I am now.
In the mean time, my mind ponders over it day and night, whenever I am quiet and Ieel myselI composed and
collected. When I come to a decision, I will impart it to you alone, and Irom that moment you shall have over me
the authority oI a Iather."
At these words the worthy YusuI, his eyes wet with tears, placed his leIt hand over my head, and the Iirst two
Iingers oI the right hand on my Iorehead, saying:
"Continue to act in that way, my dear son, and be certain that you can never act wrongly."
"But," I said to him, "one thing might happen, Zelmi might not accept me."
"Have no anxiety about that. My daughter loves you; she, as well as my wiIe and her nurse, sees you every
time that we dine together, and she listens to you with pleasure."
"Does she know that you are thinking oI giving her to me as my wiIe?"
"She knows that I ardently wish you to become a true believer, so as to enable me to link her destiny to
yours."
"I am glad that your habits do not permit you to let me see her, because she might dazzle me with her beauty,
and then passion would soon have too much weight in the scale; I could no longer Ilatter myselI that my decision
had been taken in all the unbiased, purity oI my soul."
YusuI was highly delighted at hearing me speak in that manner, and I spoke in perIect good Iaith. The mere
idea oI seeing Zelmi caused me to shudder. I Ielt that, iI I had Iallen in love with her, I would have become a
Mussulman in order to possess her, and that I might soon have repented such a step, Ior the religion oI Mahomet
presented to my eyes and to my mind nothing but a disagreeable picture, as well Ior this liIe as Ior a Iuture one.
As Ior wealth, I did not think it deserved the immense sacriIice demanded Irom me. I could Iind equal wealth in
Europe, without stamping my Iorehead with the shameIul brand oI apostasy. I cared deeply Ior the esteem oI the
persons oI distinction who knew me, and did not want to render myselI unworthy oI it. Besides, I Ielt an immense
desire to obtain Iame amongst civilized and polite nations, either in the Iine arts or in literature, or in any other
honourable proIession, and I could not reconcile myselI to the idea oI abandoning to my equals the triumph which
I might win iI I lived amongst them. It seemed to me, and I am still oI the same opinion, that the decision oI
wearing the turban beIits only a Christian despairing oI himselI and at the end oI his wits, and Iortunately I was
lost not in that predicament. My greatest objection was to spend a year in Adrianople to learn a language Ior
which I did not Ieel any liking, and which I should thereIore have learned but imperIectly. How could I, at my
age, renounce the prerogative, so pleasant to my vanity, oI being reputed a Iine talker? and I had secured that
reputation wherever I was known. Then I would oIten think that Zelmi, the eighth wonder oI creation in the eyes
oI her Iather might not appear such in my eyes, and it would have been enough to make me miserable, Ior YusuI
was likely to live twenty years longer, and I Ielt that gratitude, as well as respect, would never have permitted me
to give that excellent man any cause Ior unhappiness by ceasing to shew myselI a devoted and IaithIul husband to
his daughter. Such were my thoughts, and, as YusuI could not guess them, it was useless to make a conIidant oI
him.
A Iew days aIterwards, I dined with the Pacha Osman and met my EIIendi Ismail. He was very Iriendly to me,
and I reciprocated his attentions, though I paid no attention to the reproaches he addressed to me Ior not having
come to breakIast with him Ior such a long time. I could not reIuse to dine at his house with Bonneval, and he
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treated me to a very pleasing sight; Neapolitan slaves, men and women, perIormed a pantomime and some
Calabrian dances. M. de Bonneval happened to mention the dance called Iorlana, and Ismail expressing a great
wish to know it, I told him that I could give him that pleasure iI I had a Venetian woman to dance with and a
Iiddler who knew the time. I took a violin, and played the Iorlana, but, even iI the partner had been Iound, I could
not play and dance at the same time.
Ismail whispered a Iew words to one oI his eunuchs, who went out oI the room and returned soon with some
message that he delivered to him. The eIIendi told me that he had Iound the partner I wanted, and I answered
that the musician could be had easily, iI he would send a note to the Venetian Embassy, which was done at once.
The Bailo Dona sent one oI his men who played the violin well enough Ior dancing purposes. As soon as the
musician was ready, a door was thrown open, and a Iine looking woman came in, her Iace covered with a black
velvet mask, such as we call moretta in Venice. The appearance oI that beautiIul masked woman surprised and
delighted every one oI the guests, Ior it was impossible to imagine a more interesting object, not only on account
oI the beauty oI that part oI the Iace which the mask leIt exposed, but also Ior the elegance oI her shape, the
perIection oI her Iigure, and the exquisite taste displayed in her costume. The nymph took her place, I did the
same, and we danced the Iorlana six times without stopping.
I was in perspiration and out oI breath, Ior the Ioylana is the most violent oI our national dances; but my
beautiIul partner stood near me without betraying the slightest Iatigue, and seemed to challenge me to a new
perIormance. At the round oI the dance, which is the most diIIicult step, she seemed to have wings. I was
astounded, Ior I had never seen anyone, even in Venice, dance the Iorlana so splendidly. AIter a Iew minutes
rest, rather ashamed oI my Ieeling tired, I went up to her, and said, 'Ancora sei, a poi basta, se non volete
vedermi a morire.' She would have answered me iI she had been able, but she wore one oI those cruel masks
which Iorbid speech. But a pressure oI her hand which nobody could see made me guess all I wanted to know.
The moment we Iinished dancing the eunuch opened the door, and my lovely partner disappeared.
Ismail could not thank me enough, but it was I who owed him my thanks, Ior it was the only real pleasure
which I enjoyed in Constantinople. I asked him whether the lady was Irom Venice, but he only answered by a
signiIicant smile.
"The worthy Ismail," said M. de Bonneval to me, as we were leaving the house late in the evening, "has been
to-day the dupe oI his vanity, and I have no doubt that he is sorry already Ior what he has done. To bring out his
beautiIul slave to dance with you! According to the prejudices oI this country it is injurious to his dignity, Ior you
are sure to have kindled an amorous Ilame in the poor girl's breast. I would advise you to be careIul and to keep
on your guard, because she will try to get up some intrigue with you; but be prudent, Ior intrigues are always
dangerous in Turkey."
I promised to be prudent, but I did not keep my promise; Ior, three or Iour days aIterwards, an old slave
woman met me in the street, and oIIered to sell me Ior one piaster a tobacco-bag embroidered in gold; and as
she put it in my hand she contrived to make me Ieel that there was a letter in the bag.
I observed that she tried to avoid the eyes oI the janissary who was walking behind me; I gave her one piaster,
she leIt me, and I proceeded toward YusuI's house. He was not at home, and I went to his garden to read the
letter with perIect Ireedom. It was sealed and without any address, and the slave might have made a mistake; but
my curiosity was excited to the highest pitch; I broke the seal, and Iound the Iollowing note written in good
enough Italian:
"Should you wish to see the person with whom you danced the Iorlana, take a walk towards evening in the
garden beyond the Iountain, and contrive to become acquainted with the old servant oI the gardener by asking
her Ior some lemonade. You may perchance manage to see your partner in the Iorlana without running any risk,
even iI you should happen to meet Ismail; she is a native oI Venice. Be careIul not to mention this invitation to any
human being."
"I am not such a Iool, my lovely countrywoman," I exclaimed, as iI she had been present, and put the letter in
my pocket. But at that very moment, a Iine-looking elderly woman came out oI a thicket, pronounced my name,
and enquired what I wanted and how I had seen her. I answered that I had been speaking to the wind, not
supposing that anyone could hear me, and without any more preparation, she abruptly told me that she was very
glad oI the opportunity oI speaking with me, that she was Irom Rome, that she had brought up Zelmi, and had
taught her to sing and to play the harp. She then praised highly the beauty and the excellent qualities oI her pupil,
saying that, iI I saw her, I would certainly Iall in love with her, and expressing how much she regretted that the
law should not allow it.
"She sees us at this very moment," she added, "Irom behind that green window-blind, and we love you ever
since YusuI has inIormed us that you may, perhaps, become Zelmi's husband."
"May I mention our conversation to YusuI?" I enquired.
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"No."
Her answering in the negative made me understand that, iI I had pressed her a little, she would have allowed
me to see her lovely pupil, and perhaps it was with that intention that she had contrived to speak to me, but I Ielt
great reluctance to do anything to displease my worthy host. I had another reason oI even greater importance: I
was aIraid oI entering an intricate maze in which the sight oI a turban hovering over me made me shudder.
YusuI came home, and Iar Irom being angry when he saw me with the woman, he remarked that I must have
Iound much pleasure in conversing with a native oI Rome, and he congratulated me upon the delight I must have
Ielt in dancing with one oI the beauties Irom the harem oI the voluptuous Ismail.
"Then it must be a pleasure seldom enjoyed, iI it is so much talked oI?"
"Very seldom indeed, Ior there is amongst us an invincible prejudice against exposing our lovely women to the
eyes oI other men; but everyone may do as he pleases in his own house: Ismail is a very worthy and a very
intelligent man."
"Is the lady with whom I danced known?"
"I believe not. She wore a mask, and everybody knows that Ismail possesses halI a dozen slaves oI surpassing
beauty."
I spent a pleasant day with YusuI, and when I leIt him, I ordered my janissary to take me to Ismail's. As I was
known by his servants, they allowed me to go in, and I proceeded to the spot described in the letter. The eunuch
came to me, inIormed me that his master was out, but that he would be delighted to hear oI my having taken a
walk in the garden. I told him that I would like a glass oI lemonade, and he took me to the summerhouse, where I
recognized the old woman who had sold me the tobacco-pouch. The eunuch told her to give me a glass oI some
liquid which I Iound delicious, and would not allow me to give her any money. We then walked together towards
the Iountain, but he told me abruptly that we were to go back, as he saw three ladies to whom he pointed, adding
that, Ior the sake oI decency, it was necessary to avoid them. I thanked him Ior his attentions, leIt my
compliments Ior Ismail, and went away not dissatisIied with my Iirst attempt, and with the hope oI being more
Iortunate another time.
The next morning I received a letter Irom Ismail inviting me to go Iishing with him on the Iollowing day, and
stating that he intended to enjoy the sport by moonlight. I immediately gave way to my suppositions, and I went
so Iar as to Iancy that Ismail might be capable oI arranging an interview between me and the lovely Venetian. I
did not mind his being present. I begged permission oI Chevalier Venier to stop out oI the palace Ior one night,
but he granted it with the greatest diIIiculty, because he was aIraid oI some love aIIair and oI the results it might
have. I took care to calm his anxiety as much as I could, but without acquainting him with all the circumstances oI
the case, Ior I thought I was wise in being discreet.
I was exact to the appointed time, and Ismail received me with the utmost cordiality, but I was surprised when
I Iound myselI alone with him in the boat. We had two rowers and a man to steer; we took some Iish, Iried in oil,
and ate it in the summer-house. The moon shone brightly, and the night was delightIul. Alone with Ismail, and
knowing his unnatural tastes, I did not Ieel very comIortable Ior, in spite oI what M. de Bonneval had told me, I
was aIraid lest the Turk should take a Iancy to give me too great a prooI oI his Iriendship, and I did not relish our
tete-a-tete. But my Iears were groundless.
"Let us leave this place quietly," said Ismail, "I have just heard a slight noise which heralds something that will
amuse us."
He dismissed his attendants, and took my hand, saying,
"Let us go to a small room, the key oI which I luckily have with me, but let us be careIul not to make any
noise. That room has a window overlooking the Iountain where I think that two or three oI my beauties have just
gone to bathe. We will see them and enjoy a very pleasing sight, Ior they do not imagine that anyone is looking at
them. They know that the place is Iorbidden to everybody except me."
We entered the room, we went to the window, and, the moon shining right over the basin oI the Iountain, we
saw three nymphs who, now swimming, now standing or sitting on the marble steps, oIIered themselves to our
eyes in every possible position, and in all the attitudes oI graceIul voluptuousness. Dear reader, I must not paint in
too vivid colours the details oI that beautiIul picture, but iI nature has endowed you with an ardent imagination
and with equally ardent senses, you will easily imagine the IearIul havoc which that unique, wonderIul, and
enchanting sight must have made upon my poor body.
A Iew days aIter that delightIul Iishing and bathing party by moonlight, I called upon YusuI early in the
morning; as it was raining, I could not go to the garden, and I went into the dining-room, in which I had never
seen anyone. The moment I entered the room, a charming Iemale Iorm rose, covering her Ieatures with a thick
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ei hich fe he fee. A ae a iig ea he id, dig e ab-, b he did e.
I agied, ad ed eae he , b he ad ed e, beig, ih a ee ice, ha Yf
had caded he eeai e befe gig . She iied e be eaed, iig a ich chi
aced age e, ad I beed, hie, cig he eg, he a d ahe chi
ie e. I hgh I a ig Zei, ad facied ha Yf had ade hi id he e
ha he a e cage ha Iai. Ye I a ied, f, b ch a ceedig, he g
cadiced hi ai, ad a he i f iaiig he biaed i f ce b hig e i he
baace. B I had fea f ha, becae, bece eaed, I hd hae eied ee he face.
"I e," aid he eied bea, "ha d h I a?"
"I cd ge, if I ied."
"I hae bee f he a fie ea he ife f fied, ad I a a aie f Sci. I a hiee ea f
age he I becae hi ife."
I a gea aihed fid ha Ma hihe had ge fa a a e cee
ih hi ife, b I fe e a eae afe I had eceied ha ifai, ad facied ha I igh ca he
adee fhe, b i d be ecea ee he ad' face, f a fie-deed bd, he head f hich i
ee, ecie b feebe deie. The fie ighed b a deie i ie a fie f a; he e i b
i i ea i ed. I had befe e a agifice aeaace, b I cd ee he f he iage, f a
hic gae cceaed i f hg gae. I cd ee a a hie a aabae, ad had ie he f
Acia, 'de e d aaice e ea accede', ad acie iagiai facied ha a he e a i
ha ih he beaif ecie, f he gacef fd f he i, eaig he ie a i efeci,
hid f e he iig ai f he face; hee a db ha eehig a e, b I aed
ee, i he eei f he ee, ha a ha iagiai ceaed had ife ad a eded ih feeig. The
Oiea ce i a beaif aih aced a ceai ae ec f he ch he c f he
fe ad f he deig, ih eeig he eae f he ee. Yf' ife a deed ie a aa;
he e he ce f Sci, ih a h i hich cceaed eihe he efeci f he eg he d
f f he high, he fa f he hi, he ede, e-ade ai ecaed i a
edid bad ebideed i ie ad ceed ih aabee. Abe a he beaie, I cd ee he
hae f gbe hich Aee d hae ae f he de f he f hi e Ve, ad he aid,
iea ee f hich ed e ha he aihig hic ee aiaed. The a ae ef
beee he, ad hich ee geedi feaed , eeed e a ae f eca, i hich big i
ged ech hei hi ih e ad ha he d hae d f he c f he gd.
Eaed, abe c ef, I h a fad b a ee a ideede f i,
ad had, adaci, a he i f ifig he haef ei, b he eeed e b aiig heef
ic ie, baidig e a he ae ie f efidi bde, ih a ice a cadig a he
aide.
"D h deee," he aid, "Yf' fiedhi, he h abe he aced a f hiai b iig
hi ife?"
"Mada, id fgie e, f I ee had a iei i . I c he e f
e a fi hi ee he face f a ee."
"Ye, b he ca ea ff he ei, if he che ea i. Yf ha aege e."
The hea, ad he e i hich i a ced, figheed e. I he ef a he fee, ad cceeded
i caig he age.
"Tae a ea," he aid.
Ad he a d heef, cig he eg ih ch feed ha I cagh a gie f cha hich
d hae caed e e a c e ef if he deighf igh had eaied e e ge
eed ee. I he a ha I had ge he g a , ad I fe eed ih ef; b i a
ae.
"A h ecied?" he aid.
"H cd I be heie," I aeed, "he h a cchig e ih a ade fie?"
I had bece e de, ad I eied he had ih hiig a e f he face.
"Hee i hbad," he aid, ad Yf cae i he . We e, Yf ebaced e, I
cieed hi, he ae ef he . Yf haed hi ife f haig eeaied e, ad ffeed he hi
a ae he he aae. She i, b he he eached he d, he aied he ei, ad
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kissing her husband she allowed me to see her lovely face as if it had been done unwittingly. I followed her with
my eyes as long as I could, and Yusuf, coming back to me, said with a laugh that his wife had offered to dine
with us.
"I thought," I said to him, "that I had Zelmi before me."
"That would have been too much against our established rules. What I have done is not much, but I do not
know an honest man who would be bold enough to bring his daughter into the presence of a stranger."
"I think your wife must be handsome; is she more beautiful than Zelmi?"
"My daughter's beauty is cheerful, sweet, and gentle; that of Sophia is proud and haughty. She will be happy
after my death. The man who will marry her will find her a virgin."
I gave an account of my adventure to M. de Bonneval, somewhat exaggerating the danger I had run in trying
to raise the veil of the handsome daughter of Scio.
"She was laughing at you," said the count, "and you ran no danger. She felt very sorry, believe me, to have to
deal with a novice like you. You have been playing the comedy in the French fashion, when you ought to have
gone straight to the point. What on earth did you want to see her nose for? She knew very well that she would
have gained nothing by allowing you to see her. You ought to have secured the essential point. If I were young I
would perhaps manage to give her a revenge, and to punish my friend Yusuf. You have given that lovely woman
a poor opinion of Italian valour. The most reserved of Turkish women has no modesty except on her face, and,
with her veil over it, she knows to a certainty that she will not blush at anything. I am certain that your beauty
keeps her face covered whenever our friend Yusuf wishes to joke with her."
"She is yet a virgin."
"Rather a difficult thing to admit, my good friend; but I know the daughters of Scio; they have a talent for
counterfeiting virginity."
Yusuf never paid me a similar compliment again, and he was quite right.
A few days after, I happened to be in the shop of an Armenian merchant, looking at some beautiful goods,
when Yusuf entered the shop and praised my taste; but, although I had admired a great many things, I did not
buy, because I thought they were too dear. I said so to Yusuf, but he remarked that they were, on the contrary,
very cheap, and he purchased them all. We parted company at the door, and the next morning I received all the
beautiful things he had bought; it was a delicate attention of my friend, and to prevent my refusal of such a
splendid present, he had enclosed a note stating that, on my arrival in Corfu, he would let me know to whom the
goods were to be delivered. He had thus sent me gold and silver filigrees from Damascus, portfolios, scarfs,
belts, handkerchiefs and pipes, the whole worth four or five hundred piasters. When I called to thank him, I
compelled him to confess that it was a present offered by his friendship.
The day before my departure from Constantinople, the excellent man burst into tears as I bade him adieu, and
my grief was as great as his own. He told me that, by not accepting the offer of his daughter's hand, I had so
strongly captivated his esteem that his feelings for me could not have been warmer if I had become his son. When
I went on board ship with the Bailo Jean Dona, I found another case given to me by him, containing two quintals
of the best Mocha coffee, one hundred pounds of tobacco leaves, two large flagons filled, one with Zabandi
tobacco, the other with camussa, and a magnificent pipe tube of jessamine wood, covered with gold filigrane,
which I sold in Corfu for one hundred sequins. I had not it in my power to give my generous Turk any mark of
my gratitude until I reached Corfu, but there I did not fail to do so. I sold all his beautiful presents, which made
me the possessor of a small fortune.
Ismail gave me a letter for the Chevalier de Lezze, but I could not forward it to him because I unfortunately
lost it; he presented me with a barrel of hydromel, which I turned likewise into money. M. de Bonneval gave me
a letter for Cardinal Acquaviva, which I sent to Rome with an account of my journey, but his eminence did not
think fit to acknowledge the receipt of either. Bonneval made me a present of twelve bottles of malmsey from
Ragusa, and of twelve bottles of genuine scopoloa great rarity, with which I made a present in Corfu which
proved very useful to me, as the reader will discover.
The only foreign minister I saw much in Constantinople was the lord marshal of Scotland, the celebrated
Keith, who represented the King of Prussia, and who, six years later was of great service to me in Paris.
We sailed from Constantinople in the beginning of September in the same man-of-war which had brought us,
and we reached Corfu in fourteen days. The Bailo Dona did not land. He had with him eight splendid Turkish
horses; I saw two of them still alive in Gorizia in the year 1773.
As soon as I had landed with my luggage, and had engaged a rather mean lodging, I presented myself to M.
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Andre Dolfin, the proveditore-generale, who promised me again that I should soon be promoted to a
lieutenancy. After my visit to him, I called upon M. Camporese, my captain, and was well received by him. My
third visit was to the commander of galleases, M. D R-, to whom M. Antonio Dolfin, with whom I had
travelled from Venice to Corfu, had kindly recommended me. After a short conversation, he asked me if I would
remain with him with the title of adjutant. I did not hesitate one instant, but accepted, saying how deeply
honoured I felt by his offer, and assuring him that he would always find me ready to carry out his orders. He
immediately had me taken to my room, and, the next day, I found myself established in his house. I obtained from
my captain a French soldier to serve me, and I was well pleased when I found that the man was a hairdresser by
trade, and a great talker by nature, for he could take care of my beautiful head of hair, and I wanted to practise
French conversation. He was a good-for-nothing fellow, a drunkard and a debauchee, a peasant from Picardy,
and he could hardly read or write, but I did not mind all that; all I wanted from him was to serve me, and to talk
to me, and his French was pretty good. He was an amusing rogue, knowing by heart a quantity of erotic songs
and of smutty stories which he could tell in the most laughable manner.
When I had sold my stock of goods from Constantinople (except the wines), I found myself the owner of
nearly five hundred sequins. I redeemed all the articles which I had pledged in the hands of Jews, and turned into
money everything of which I had no need. I was determined not to play any longer as a dupe, but to secure in
gambling all the advantages which a prudent young man could obtain without sullying his honour.
I must now make my readers acquainted with the sort of life we were at that time leading in Corfu. As to the
city itself, I will not describe it, because there are already many descriptions better than the one I could offer in
these pages.
We had then in Corfu the 'proveditore-generale' who had sovereign authority, and lived in a style of great
magnificence. That post was then filled by M. Andre Dolfin, a man sixty years of age, strict, headstrong, and
ignorant. He no longer cared for women, but liked to be courted by them. He received every evening, and the
supper-table was always laid for twenty-four persons.
We had three field-officers of the marines who did duty on the galleys, and three field-officers for the troops of
the line on board the men-of-war. Each galeass had a captain called 'sopracomito', and we had ten of those
captains; we had likewise ten commanders, one for each man-of-war, including three 'capi di mare', or admirals.
They all belonged to the nobility of Venice. Ten young Venetian noblemen, from twenty to twenty-two years of
age, were at Corfu as midshipmen in the navy. We had, besides, about a dozen civil clerks in the police of the
island, or in the administration of justice, entitled 'grandi offciali di terra'. Those who were blessed with handsome
wives had the pleasure of seeing their houses very much frequented by admirers who aspired to win the favours
of the ladies, but there was not much heroic love-making, perhaps for the reason that there were then in Corfu
many Aspasias whose favours could be had for money. Gambling was allowed everywhere, and that all
absorbing passion was very prejudicial to the emotions of the heart.
The lady who was then most eminent for beauty and gallantry was Madame F. Her husband, captain of a
galley, had come to Corfu with her the year before, and madam had greatly astonished all the naval officers.
Thinking that she had the privilege of the choice, she had given the preference to M. D R-, and had
dismissed all the suitors who presented themselves. M. F had married her on the very day she had left the
convent; she was only seventeen years of age then, and he had brought her on board his galley immediately after
the marriage ceremony.
I saw her for the first time at the dinner-table on the very day of my installation at M. D R-'s, and
she made a great impression upon me. I thought I was gazing at a supernatural being, so infinitely above all the
women I had ever seen, that it seemed impossible to fall in love with her She appeared to me of a nature different
and so greatly superior to mine that I did not see the possibility of rising up to her. I even went so far as to
persuade myself that nothing but a Platonic friendship could exist between her and M. D R-, and that
M. F was quite right now not to shew any jealousy. Yet, that M. F was a perfect fool, and certainly
not worthy of such a woman. The impression made upon me by Madame F was too ridiculous to last long,
and the nature of it soon changed, but in a novel manner, at least as far as I was concerned.
My position as adjutant procured me the honour of dining at M. D R-'s table, but nothing more.
The other adjutant, like me, an ensign in the army, but the greatest fool I had ever seen, shared that honour with
me. We were not, however, considered as guests, for nobody ever spoke to us, and, what is more, no one ever
honoured us with a look. It used to put me in a rage. I knew very well that people acted in that manner through
no real contempt for us, but it went very hard with me. I could very well understand that my colleague, Sanzonio,
should not complain of such treatment, because he was a blockhead, but I did not feel disposed to allow myself
to be put on a par with him. At the end of eight or ten days, Madame F, not having con descended to cast
one glance upon my person, began to appear disagreeable to me. I felt piqued, vexed, provoked, and the more
so because I could not suppose that the lady acted in that manner wilfully and purposely; I would have been
highly pleased if there had been premeditation on her part. I felt satisfied that I was a nobody in her estimation,
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and as I was conscious of being somebody, I wanted her to know it. At last a circumstance offered itself in
which, thinking that she could address me, she was compelled to look at me.
M. D R having observed that a very, very fine turkey had been placed before me, told me to carve
it, and I immediately went to work. I was not a skilful carver, and Madame F, laughing at my want of
dexterity, told me that, if I had not been certain of performing my task with credit to myself, I ought not to have
undertaken it. Full of confusion, and unable to answer her as my anger prompted, I sat down, with my heart
overflowing with spite and hatred against her. To crown my rage, having one day to address me, she asked me
what was my name. She had seen me every day for a fortnight, ever since I had been the adjutant of M. D
R; therefore she ought to have known my name. Besides, I had been very lucky at the gaming-table, and I
had become rather famous in Corfu. My anger against Madame F was at its height.
I had placed my money in the hands of a certain Maroli, a major in the army and a gamester by profession,
who held the faro bank at the coffee-house. We were partners; I helped him when he dealt, and he rendered me
the same office when I held the cards, which was often the case, because he was not generally liked. He used to
hold the cards in a way which frightened the punters; my manners were very different, and I was very lucky.
Besides I was easy and smiling when my bank was losing, and I won without shewing any avidity, and that is a
manner which always pleases the punters.
This Maroli was the man who had won all my money during my first stay in Corfu, and finding, when I
returned, that I was resolved not to be duped any more, he judged me worthy of sharing the wise maxims
without which gambling must necessarily ruin all those who meddle with it. But as Maroli had won my confidence
only to a very slight extent, I was very careful. We made up our accounts every night, as soon as playing was
over; the cashier kept the capital of the bank, the winnings were divided, and each took his share away. Lucky at
play, enjoying good health and the friendship of my comrades, who, whenever the opportunity offered, always
found me generous and ready to serve them, I would have been well pleased with my position if I had been a
little more considered at the table of M. D R-, and treated with less haughtiness by his lady who,
without any reason, seemed disposed to humiliate me. My self-love was deeply hurt, I hated her, and, with such
a disposition of mind, the more I admired the perfection of her charms, the more I found her deficient in wit and
intelligence. She might have made the conquest of my heart without bestowing hers upon me, for all I wanted was
not to be compelled to hate her, and I could not understand what pleasure it could be for her to be detested,
while with only a little kindness she could have been adored. I could not ascribe her manner to a spirit of
coquetry, for I had never given her the slightest proof of the opinion I entertained of her beauty, and I could not
therefore attribute her behaviour to a passion which might have rendered me disagreeable in her eyes; M. D
R seemed to interest her only in a very slight manner, and as to her husband, she cared nothing for him. In
short, that charming woman made me very unhappy, and I was angry with myself because I felt that, if it had not
been for the manner in which she treated me, I would not have thought of her, and my vexation was increased by
the feeling of hatred entertained by my heart against her, a feeling which until then I had never known to exist in
me, and the discovery of which overwhelmed me with confusion.
One day a gentleman handed me, as we were leaving the dinner-table, a roll of gold that he had lost upon
trust; Madame F saw it, and she said to me very abruptly,
"What do you do with your money?"
"I keep it, madam, as a provision against possible losses."
"But as you do not indulge in any expense it would be better for you not to play; it is time wasted."
"Time given to pleasure is never time lost, madam; the only time which a young man wastes is that which is
consumed in weariness, because when he is a prey to ennui he is likely to fall a prey to love, and to be despised
by the object of his affection."
"Very likely; but you amuse yourself with hoarding up your money, and shew yourself to be a miser, and a
miser is not less contemptible than a man in love. Why do you not buy yourself a pair of gloves?"
You may be sure that at these words the laughter was all on her side, and my vexation was all the greater
because I could not deny that she was quite right. It was the adjutant's business to give the ladies an arm to their
carriages, and it was not proper to fulfil that duty without gloves. I felt mortified, and the reproach of avarice hurt
me deeply. I would a thousand times rather that she had laid my error to a want of education; and yet, so full of
contradictions is the human heart, instead of making amends by adopting an appearance of elegance which the
state of my finances enabled me to keep up, I did not purchase any gloves, and I resolved to avoid her and to
abandon her to the insipid and dull gallantry of Sanzonio, who sported gloves, but whose teeth were rotten,
whose breath was putrid, who wore a wig, and whose face seemed to be covered with shrivelled yellow
parchment.
I spent my days in a continual state of rage and spite, and the most absurd part of it all was that I felt unhappy
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because I could not control my hatred for that woman whom, in good conscience, I could not find guilty of
anything. She had for me neither love nor dislike, which was quite natural; but being young and disposed to enjoy
myself I had become, without any wilful malice on her part, an eye-sore to her and the butt of her bantering
jokes, which my sensitiveness exaggerated greatly. For all that I had an ardent wish to punish her and to make
her repent. I thought of nothing else. At one time I would think of devoting all my intelligence and all my money to
kindling an amorous passion in her heart, and then to revenge myself by treating her with contempt. But I soon
realized the impracticability of such a plan, for even supposing that I should succeed in finding my way to her
heart, was I the man to resist my own success with such a woman? I certainly could not flatter myself that I was
so strong-minded. But I was the pet child of fortune, and my position was suddenly altered.
M. D R having sent me with dispatches to M. de Condulmer, captain of a 'galeazza', I had to wait
until midnight to deliver them, and when I returned I found that M. D R had retired to his apartment for
the night. As soon as he was visible in the morning I went to him to render an account of my mission. I had been
with him only a few minutes when his valet brought a letter saying that Madame F's adjutant was waiting for
an answer. M. D R read the note, tore it to pieces, and in his excitement stamped with his foot upon
the fragments. He walked up and down the room for a little time, then wrote an answer and rang for the adjutant,
to whom he delivered it. He then recovered his usual composure, concluded the perusal of the dispatch sent by
M. de Condulmer, and told me to write a letter. He was looking it over when the valet came in, telling me that
Madame F desired to see me. M. D R told me that he did not require my services any more for
the present, and that I might go. I left the room, but I had not gone ten yards when he called me back to remind
me that my duty was to know nothing; I begged to assure him that I was well aware of that. I ran to Madame F
-'s house, very eager to know what she wanted with me. I was introduced immediately, and I was greatly
surprised to find her sitting up in bed, her countenance flushed and excited, and her eyes red from the tears she
had evidently just been shedding. My heart was beating quickly, yet I did not know why.
"Pray be seated," she said, "I wish to speak with you."
"Madam," I answered, "I am not worthy of so great a favour, and I have not yet done anything to deserve it;
allow me to remain standing."
She very likely recollected that she had never been so polite before, and dared not press me any further. She
collected her thoughts for an instant or two, and said to me:
"Last evening my husband lost two hundred sequins upon trust at your faro bank; he believed that amount to
be in my hands, and I must therefore give it to him immediately, as he is bound in honour to pay his losses to-day.
Unfortunately I have disposed of the money, and I am in great trouble. I thought you might tell Maroli that I have
paid you the amount lost by my husband. Here is a ring of some value; keep it until the 1st of January, when I will
return the two hundred sequins for which I am ready to give you my note of hand."
"I accept the note of hand, madam, but I cannot consent to deprive you of your ring. I must also tell you that
M. F must go himself to the bank, or send some one there, to redeem his debt. Within ten minutes you shall
have the amount you require."
I left her without waiting for an answer, and I returned within a few minutes with the two hundred ducats,
which I handed to her, and putting in my pocket her note of hand which she had just written, I bowed to take my
leave, but she addressed to me these precious words:
"I believe, sir, that if I had known that you were so well disposed to oblige me, I could not have made up my
mind to beg that service from you."
"Well, madam, for the future be quite certain that there is not a man in the world capable of refusing you such
an insignificant service whenever you will condescend to ask for it in person."
"What you say is very complimentary, but I trust never to find myself again under the necessity of making such
a cruel experiment."
I left Madame F-, thinking of the shrewdness of her answer. She had not told me that I was mistaken, as
I had expected she would, for that would have caused her some humiliation: she knew that I was with M. D
R when the adjutant had brought her letter, and she could not doubt that I was aware of the refusal she had
met with. The fact of her not mentioning it proved to me that she was jealous of her own dignity; it afforded me
great gratification, and I thought her worthy of adoration. I saw clearly that she could have no love for M. D
R-, and that she was not loved by him, and the discovery made me leap for joy. From that moment I felt I
was in love with her, and I conceived the hope that she might return my ardent affection.
The first thing I did, when I returned to my room, was to cross out with ink every word of her note of hand,
except her name, in such a manner that it was impossible to guess at the contents, and putting it in an envelope
carefully sealed, I deposited it in the hands of a public notary who stated, in the receipt he gave me of the
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envelope, that he would deliver it only to Madame F-, whenever she should request its delivery.
The same evening M. F came to the bank, paid me, played with cash in hand, and won some fifty ducats.
What caused me the greatest surprise was that M. D R continued to be very gracious to Madame F
, and that she remained exactly the same towards him as she used to be before. He did not even enquire
what she wanted when she had sent for me. But if she did not seem to change her manner towards my master, it
was a very different case with me, for whenever she was opposite to me at dinner, she often addressed herself to
me, and she thus gave me many opportunities of shewing my education and my wit in amusing stories or in
remarks, in which I took care to blend instruction with witty jests. At that time F had the great talent of
making others laugh while I kept a serious countenance myself. I had learnt that accomplishment from M. de
Malipiero, my first master in the art of good breeding, who used to say to me,
"If you wish your audience to cry, you must shed tears yourself, but if you wish to make them laugh you must
contrive to look as serious as a judge."
In everything I did, in every word I uttered, in the presence of Madame F, the only aim I had was to
please her, but I did not wish her to suppose so, and I never looked at her unless she spoke to me. I wanted to
force her curiosity, to compel her to suspect nay, to guess my secret, but without giving her any advantage over
me: it was necessary for me to proceed by slow degrees. In the mean time, and until I should have a greater
happiness, I was glad to see that my money, that magic talisman, and my good conduct, obtained me a
consideration much greater than I could have hoped to obtain either through my position, or from my age, or in
consequence of any talent I might have shewn in the profession I had adopted.
Towards the middle of November, the soldier who acted as my servant was attacked with inflammation of the
chest; I gave notice of it to the captain of his company, and he was carried to the hospital. On the fourth day I
was told that he would not recover, and that he had received the last sacraments; in the evening I happened to be
at his captain's when the priest who had attended him came to announce his death, and to deliver a small parcel
which the dying man had entrusted to him to be given up to his captain only after his death. The parcel contained
a brass seal engraved with ducal arms, a certificate of baptism, and a sheet of paper covered with writing in
French. Captain Camporese, who only spoke Italian, begged me to translate the paper, the contents of which
were as follows:
"My will is that this paper, which I have written and signed with my own hand, shall be delivered to my captain
only after I have breathed my last: until then, my confessor shall not make any use of it, for I entrust it to his hands
only under the seal of confession. I entreat my captain to have me buried in a vault from which my body can be
exhumed in case the duke, my father, should request its exhumation. I entreat him likewise to forward my
certificate of baptism, the seal with the armorial bearings of my family, and a legal certificate of my birth to the
French ambassador in Venice, who will send the whole to the duke, my father, my rights of primogeniture
belonging, after my demise, to the prince, my brother. In faith of which I have signed and sealed these presents:
Francois VI. Charles Philippe Louis Foucaud, Prince de la Rochefoucault."
The certificate of baptism, delivered at St. Sulpice gave the same names, and the title of the father was
Francois V. The name of the mother was Gabrielle du Plessis.
As I was concluding my translation I could not help bursting into loud laughter; but the foolish captain, who
thought my mirth out of place, hurried out to render an account of the affair to the proveditore-generale, and I
went to the coffee-house, not doubting for one moment that his excellency would laugh at the captain, and that
the post-mortem buffoonery would greatly amuse the whole of Corfu.
I had known in Rome, at Cardinal Acquaviva's, the Abbe de Liancourt, great-grandson of Charles, whose
sister, Gabrielle du Plessis, had been the wife of Francois V., but that dated from the beginning of the last
century. I had made a copy from the records of the cardinal of the account of certain circumstances which the
Abbe de Liancourt wanted to communicate to the court of Spain, and in which there were a great many
particulars respecting the house of Du Plessis. I thought at the same time that the singular imposture of La Valeur
(such was the name by which my soldier generally went) was absurd and without a motive, since it was to be
known only after his death, and could not therefore prove of any advantage to him.
Half an hour afterwards, as I was opening a fresh pack of cards, the Adjutant Sanzonio came in, and told the
important news in the most serious manner. He had just come from the office of the proveditore, where Captain
Camporese had run in the utmost hurry to deposit in the hands of his excellency the seal and the papers of the
deceased prince. His excellency had immediately issued his orders for the burial of the prince in a vault with all
the honours due to his exalted rank. Another half hour passed, and M. Minolto, adjutant of the proveditore-
generale, came to inform me that his excellency wanted to see me. I passed the cards to Major Maroli, and went
to his excellency's house. I found him at supper with several ladies, three or four naval commanders, Madame F
, and M. D R-.
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"So, your servant was a prince!" said the old general to me.
"Your excellency, I never would have suspected it, and even now that he is dead I do not believe it."
"Why? He is dead, but he was not insane. You have seen his armorial bearings, his certificate of baptism, as
well as what he wrote with his own hand. When a man is so near death, he does not fancy practical jokes."
"If your excellency is satisfied of the truth of the story, my duty is to remain silent."
"The story cannot be anything but true, and your doubts surprise me."
"I doubt, monsignor, because I happen to have positive information respecting the families of La
Rochefoucault and Du Plessis. Besides, I have seen too much of the man. He was not a madman, but he certainly
was an extravagant jester. I have never seen him write, and he has told me himself a score of times that he had
never learned."
"The paper he has written proves the contrary. His arms have the ducal bearings; but perhaps you are not
aware that M. de la Rochefoucault is a duke and peer of the French realm?"
"I beg your eminence's pardon; I know all about it; I know even more, for I know that Francois VI. married a
daughter of the house of Vivonne."
"You know nothing."
When I heard this remark, as foolish as it was rude, I resolved on remaining silent, and it was with some
pleasure that I observed the joy felt by all the male guests at what they thought an insult and a blow to my vanity.
An officer remarked that the deceased was a fine man, a witty man, and had shewn wonderful cleverness in
keeping up his assumed character so well that no one ever had the faintest suspicion of what he really was. A
lady said that, if she had known him, she would have been certain to find him out. Another flatterer, belonging to
that mean, contemptible race always to be found near the great and wealthy of the earth, assured us that the late
prince had always shewn himself cheerful, amiable, obliging, devoid of haughtiness towards his comrades, and
that he used to sing beautifully. "He was only twenty-five years of age," said Madame Sagredo, looking me full in
the face, "and if he was endowed with all those qualities, you must have discovered them."
"I can only give you, madam, a true likeness of the man, such as I have seen him. Always gay, often even to
folly, for he could throw a somersault beautifully; singing songs of a very erotic kind, full of stories and of popular
tales of magic, miracles, and ghosts, and a thousand marvellous feats which common-sense refused to believe,
and which, for that very reason, provoked the mirth of his hearers. His faults were that he was drunken, dirty,
quarrelsome, dissolute, and somewhat of a cheat. I put up with all his deficiences, because he dressed my hair to
my taste, and his constant chattering offered me the opportunity of practising the colloquial French which cannot
be acquired from books. He has always assured me that he was born in Picardy, the son of a common peasant,
and that he had deserted from the French army. He may have deceived me when he said that he could not write."
Just then Camporese rushed into the room, and announced that La Veleur was yet breathing. The general,
looking at me significantly, said that he would be delighted if the man could be saved.
"And I likewise, monsignor, but his confessor will certainly kill him to-night."
"Why should the father confessor kill him?"
"To escape the galleys to which your excellency would not fail to send him for having violated the secrecy of
the confessional."
Everybody burst out laughing, but the foolish old general knitted his brows. The guests retired soon
afterwards, and Madame F-, whom I had preceded to the carriage, M. D R having offered her
his arm, invited me to get in with her, saying that it was raining. It was the first time that she had bestowed such
an honour upon me.
"I am of your opinion about that prince," she said, "but you have incurred the displeasure of the proveditore."
"I am very sorry, madam, but it could not have been avoided, for I cannot help speaking the truth openly."
"You might have spared him," remarked M. D R-, "the cutting jest of the confessor killing the false
prince."
"You are right, sir, but I thought it would make him laugh as well as it made madam and your excellency. In
conversation people generally do not object to a witty jest causing merriment and laughter."
"True; only those who have not wit enough to laugh do not like the jest."
"I bet a hundred sequins that the madman will recover, and that, having the general on his side, he will reap all
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the advantages of his imposture. I long to see him treated as a prince, and making love to Madame Sagredo."
Hearing the last words, Madame F-, who did not like Madame Sagredo, laughed heartily, and, as we
were getting out of the carriage, M. D R invited me to accompany them upstairs. He was in the habit
of spending half an hour alone with her at her own house when they had taken supper together with the general,
for her husband never shewed himself. It was the first time that the happy couple admitted a third person to their
tete-a-tete. I felt very proud of the compliment thus paid to me, and I thought it might have important results for
me. My satisfaction, which I concealed as well as I could, did not prevent me from being very gay and from
giving a comic turn to every subject brought forward by the lady or by her lord.
We kept up our pleasant trio for four hours; and returned to the mansion of M. D R only at two
o'clock in the morning. It was during that night that Madame F and M. D R really made my
acquaintance. Madame F told him that she had never laughed so much, and that she had never imagined
that a conversation, in appearance so simple, could afford so much pleasure and merriment. On my side, I
discovered in her so much wit and cheerfulness, that I became deeply enamoured, and went to bed fully satisfied
that, in the future, I could not keep up the show of indifference which I had so far assumed towards her.
When I woke up the next morning, I heard from the new soldier who served me that La Valeur was better,
and had been pronounced out of danger by the physician. At dinner the conversation fell upon him, but I did not
open my lips. Two days afterwards, the general gave orders to have him removed to a comfortable apartment,
sent him a servant, clothed him, and the over-credulous proveditore having paid him a visit, all the naval
commanders and officers thought it their duty to imitate him, and to follow his example: the general curiosity was
excited, there was a rush to see the new prince. M. D R followed his leaders, and Madame Sagredo,
having set the ladies in motion, they all called upon him, with the exception of Madame F, who told me
laughingly that she would not pay him a visit unless I would consent to introduce her. I begged to be excused.
The knave was called your highness, and the wonderful prince styled Madame Sagredo his princess. M. D
R tried to persuade me to call upon the rogue, but I told him that I had said too much, and that I was neither
courageous nor mean enough to retract my words. The whole imposture would soon have been discovered if
anyone had possessed a peerage, but it just happened that there was not a copy in Corfu, and the French consul,
a fat blockhead, like many other consuls, knew nothing of family trees. The madcap La Valeur began to walk out
a week after his metamorphosis into a prince. He dined and had supper every day with the general, and every
evening he was present at the reception, during which, owing to his intemperance, he always went fast asleep.
Yet, there were two reasons which kept up the belief of his being a prince: the first was that he did not seem
afraid of the news expected from Venice, where the proveditore had written immediately after the discovery; the
second was that he solicited from the bishop the punishment of the priest who had betrayed his secret by
violating the seal of confession. The poor priest had already been sent to prison, and the proveditore had not the
courage to defend him. The new prince had been invited to dinner by all the naval officers, but M. D R
had not made up his mind to imitate them so far, because Madame F had clearly warned him that she would
dine at her own house on the day he was invited. I had likewise respectfully intimated that, on the same occasion,
I would take the liberty of dining somewhere else.
I met the prince one day as I was coming out of the old fortress leading to the esplanade. He stopped, and
reproached me for not having called upon him. I laughed, and advised him to think of his safety before the arrival
of the news which would expose all the imposture, in which case the proveditore was certain to treat him very
severely. I offered to help him in his flight from Corfu, and to get a Neapolitan captain, whose ship was ready to
sail, to conceal him on board; but the fool, instead of accepting my offer, loaded me with insults.
He was courting Madame Sagredo, who treated him very well, feeling proud that a French prince should have
given her the preference over all the other ladies. One day that she was dining in great ceremony at M. D R
-'s house, she asked me why I had advised the prince to run away.
"I have it from his own lips," she added, "and he cannot make out your obstinacy in believing him an impostor."
"I have given him that advice, madam, because my heart is good, and my judgment sane."
"Then we are all of us as many fools, the proveditore included?"
"That deduction would not be right, madam. An opinion contrary to that of another does not necessarily make
a fool of the person who entertains it. It might possibly turn out, in ten or twelve days, that I have been entirely
mistaken myself, but I should not consider myself a fool in consequence. In the mean time, a lady of your
intelligence must have discovered whether that man is a peasant or a prince by his education and manners. For
instance, does he dance well?"
"He does not know one step, but he is the first to laugh about it; he says he never would learn dancing."
"Does he behave well at table?"
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"Well, he doesn't stand on ceremony. He does not want his plate to be changed, he helps himself with his
spoon out of the dishes; he does not know how to check an eructation or a yawn, and if he feels tired he leaves
the table. It is evident that he has been very badly brought up."
"And yet he is very pleasant, I suppose. Is he clean and neat?"
"No, but then he is not yet well provided with linen."
"I am told that he is very sober."
"You are joking. He leaves the table intoxicated twice a day, but he ought to be pitied, for he cannot drink
wine and keep his head clear. Then he swears like a trooper, and we all laugh, but he never takes offence."
"Is he witty?"
"He has a wonderful memory, for he tells us new stories every day."
"Does he speak of his family?"
"Very often of his mother, whom he loved tenderly. She was a Du Plessis."
"If his mother is still alive she must be a hundred and fifty years old."
"What nonsense!"
"Not at all; she was married in the days of Marie de Medicis."
"But the certificate of baptism names the prince's mother, and his seal"
"Does he know what armorial bearings he has on that seal?"
"Do you doubt it?"
"Very strongly, or rather I am certain that he knows nothing about it."
We left the table, and the prince was announced. He came in, and Madame Sagredo lost no time in saying to
him, "Prince, here is M. Casanova; he pretends that you do not know your own armorial bearings." Hearing
these words, he came up to me, sneering, called me a coward, and gave me a smack on the face which almost
stunned me. I left the room very slowly, not forgetting my hat and my cane, and went downstairs, while M. D
R was loudly ordering the servants to throw the madman out of the window.
I left the palace and went to the esplanade in order to wait for him. The moment I saw him, I ran to meet him,
and I beat him so violently with my cane that one blow alone ought to have killed him. He drew back, and found
himself brought to a stand between two walls, where, to avoid being beaten to death, his only resource was to
draw his sword, but the cowardly scoundrel did not even think of his weapon, and I left him, on the ground,
covered with blood. The crowd formed a line for me to pass, and I went to the coffee-house, where I drank a
glass of lemonade, without sugar to precipitate the bitter saliva which rage had brought up from my stomach. In a
few minutes, I found myself surrounded by all the young officers of the garrison, who joined in the general opinion
that I ought to have killed him, and they at last annoyed me, for it was not my fault if I had not done so, and I
would certainly have taken his life if he had drawn his sword.
I had been in the coffee-house for half an hour when the general's adjutant came to tell me that his excellency
ordered me to put myself under arrest on board the bastarda, a galley on which the prisoners had their legs in
irons like galley slaves. The dose was rather too strong to be swallowed, and I did not feel disposed to submit to
it. "Very good, adjutant," I replied, "it shall be done." He went away, and I left the coffee-house a moment after
him, but when I reached the end of the street, instead of going towards the esplanade, I proceeded quickly
towards the sea. I walked along the beach for a quarter of an hour, and finding a boat empty, but with a pair of
oars, I got in her, and unfastening her, I rowed as hard as I could towards a large caicco, sailing against the wind
with six oars. As soon as I had come up to her, I went on board and asked the carabouchiri to sail before the
wind and to take me to a large wherry which could be seen at some distance, going towards Vido Rock. I
abandoned the row-boat, and, after paying the master of the caicco generously, I got into the wherry, made a
bargain with the skipper who unfurled three sails, and in less than two hours we were fifteen miles away from
Corfu. The wind having died away, I made the men row against the current, but towards midnight they told me
that they could not row any longer, they were worn out with fatigue. They advised me to sleep until day-break,
but I refused to do so, and for a trifle I got them to put me on shore, without asking where I was, in order not to
raise their suspicions. It was enough for me to know that I was at a distance of twenty miles from Corfu, and in a
place where nobody could imagine me to be. The moon was shining, and I saw a church with a house adjoining,
a long barn opened on both sides, a plain of about one hundred yards confined by hills, and nothing more. I
found some straw in the barn, and laying myself down, I slept until day-break in spite of the cold. It was the 1st
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oI December, and although the climate is very mild in CorIu I Ielt benumbed when I awoke, as I had no cloak
over my thin uniIorm.
The bells begin to toll, and I proceed towards the church. The long-bearded papa, surprised at my sudden
apparition, enquires whether I am Romeo (a Greek); I tell him that I am Fragico (Italian), but he turns his back
upon me and goes into his house, the door oI which he shuts without condescending to listen to me.
I then turned towards the sea, and saw a boat leaving a tartan lying at anchor within one hundred yards oI the
island; the boat had Iour oars and landed her passengers. I come up to them and meet a good-looking Greek, a
woman and a young boy ten or twelve years old. Addressing myselI to the Greek, I ask him whether he has had
a pleasant passage, and where he comes Irom. He answers in Italian that he has sailed Irom Cephalonia with his
wiIe and his son, and that he is bound Ior Venice; he had landed to hear mass at the Church oI Our Lady oI
Casopo, in order to ascertain whether his Iather-in-law was still alive, and whether he would pay the amount he
had promised him Ior the dowry oI his wiIe.
"But how can you Iind it out?"
"The Papa Deldimopulo will tell me; he will communicate IaithIully the oracle oI the Holy Virgin." I say nothing
and Iollow him into the church; he speaks to the priest, and gives him some money. The papa says the mass,
enters the sanctum sanctorum, comes out again in a quarter oI an hour, ascends the steps oI the altar, turns
towards his audience, and, aIter meditating Ior a minute and stroking his long beard, he delivers his oracle in a
dozen words. The Greek oI Cephalonia, who certainly could not boast oI being as wise as Ulysses, appears very
well pleased, and gives more money to the impostor. We leave the church, and I ask him whether he Ieels
satisIied with the oracle.
"Oh! quite satisIied. I know now that my Iather-in-law is alive, and that he will pay me the dowry, iI I consent
to leave my child with him. I am aware that it is his Iancy and I will give him the boy."
"Does the papa know you?"
"No; he is not even acquainted with my name."
"Have you any Iine goods on board your tartan?"
"Yes; come and breakIast with me; you can see all I have."
"Very willingly."
Delighted at hearing that oracles were not yet deIunct, and satisIied that they will endure as long as there are in
this world simple-minded men and deceitIul, cunning priests, I Iollow the good man, who took me to his tartan
and treated me to an excellent breakIast. His cargo consisted oI cotton, linen, currants, oil, and excellent wines.
He had also a stock oI night-caps, stockings, cloaks in the Eastern Iashion, umbrellas, and sea biscuits, oI which
I was very Iond; in those days I had thirty teeth, and it would have been diIIicult to Iind a Iiner set. Alas! I have
but two leIt now, the other twenty-eight are gone with other tools quite as precious; but 'dum vita super est, bene
est.' I bought a small stock oI everything he had except cotton, Ior which I had no use, and without discussing his
price I paid him the thirty-Iive or Iorty sequins he demanded, and seeing my generosity he made me a present oI
six beautiIul botargoes.
I happened during our conversation to praise the wine oI Xante, which he called generoydes, and he told me
that iI I would accompany him to Venice he would give me a bottle oI that wine every day including the
quarantine. Always superstitious, I was on the point oI accepting, and that Ior the most Ioolish reason-namely,
that there would be no premeditation in that strange resolution, and it might be the impulse oI Iate. Such was my
nature in those days; alas; it is very diIIerent now. They say that it is because wisdom comes with old age, but I
cannot reconcile myselI to cherish the eIIect oI a most unpleasant cause.
Just as I was going to accept his oIIer he proposes to sell me a very Iine gun Ior ten sequins, saying that in
CorIu anyone would be glad oI it Ior twelve. The word CorIu upsets all my ideas on the spot! I Iancy I hear the
voice oI my genius telling me to go back to that city. I purchase the gun Ior the ten sequins, and my honest
Cephalonian, admiring my Iair dealing, gives me, over and above our bargain, a beautiIul Turkish pouch well Iilled
with powder and shot. Carrying my gun, with a good warm cloak over my uniIorm and with a large bag
containing all my purchases, I take leave oI the worthy Greek, and am landed on the shore, determined on
obtaining a lodging Irom the cheating papa, by Iair means or Ioul. The good wine oI my Iriend the Cephalonian
had excited me just enough to make me carry my determination into immediate execution. I had in my pockets
Iour or Iive hundred copper gazzette, which were very heavy, but which I had procured Irom the Greek,
Ioreseeing that I might want them during my stay on the island.
I store my bag away in the barn and I proceed, gun in hand, towards the house oI the priest; the church was
closed.
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I must give my readers some idea of the state I was in at that moment. I was quietly hopeless. The three or
four hundred sequins I had with me did not prevent me from thinking that I was not in very great security on the
island; I could not remain long, I would soon be found out, and, being guilty of desertion, I should be treated
accordingly. I did not know what to do, and that is always an unpleasant predicament. It would be absurd for me
to return to Corfu of my own accord; my flight would then be useless, and I should be thought a fool, for my
return would be a proof of cowardice or stupidity; yet I did not feel the courage to desert altogether. The chief
cause of my decision was not that I had a thousand sequins in the hands of the faro banker, or my well-stocked
wardrobe, or the fear of not getting a living somewhere else, but the unpleasant recollection that I should leave
behind me a woman whom I loved to adoration, and from whom I had not yet obtained any favour, not even that
of kissing her hand. In such distress of mind I could not do anything else but abandon myself to chance, whatever
the result might be, and the most essential thing for the present was to secure a lodging and my daily food.
I knock at the door of the priest's dwelling. He looks out of a window and shuts it without listening to me, I
knock again, I swear, I call out loudly, all in vain, Giving way to my rage, I take aim at a poor sheep grazing with
several others at a short distance, and kill it. The herdsman begins to scream, the papa shows himself at the
window, calling out, "Thieves! Murder!" and orders the alarm-bell to be rung. Three bells are immediately set in
motion, I foresee a general gathering: what is going to happen? I do not know, but happen what will, I load my
gun and await coming events.
In less than eight or ten minutes, I see a crowd of peasants coming down the hills, armed with guns, pitchforks,
or cudgels: I withdraw inside of the barn, but without the slightest fear, for I cannot suppose that, seeing me
alone, these men will murder me without listening to me.
The first ten or twelve peasants come forward, gun in hand and ready to fire: I stop them by throwing down
my gazzette, which they lose no time in picking up from the ground, and I keep on throwing money down as the
men come forward, until I had no more left. The clowns were looking at each other in great astonishment, not
knowing what to make out of a well-dressed young man, looking very peaceful, and throwing his money to them
with such generosity. I could not speak to them until the deafening noise of the bells should cease. I quietly sit
down on my large bag, and keep still, but as soon as I can be heard I begin to address the men. The priest,
however, assisted by his beadle and by the herdsman, interrupts me, and all the more easily that I was speaking
Italian. My three enemies, who talked all at once, were trying to excite the crowd against me.
One of the peasants, an elderly and reasonable-looking man, comes up to me and asks me in Italian why I
have killed the sheep.
"To eat it, my good fellow, but not before I have paid for it."
"But his holiness, the papa, might choose to charge one sequin for it."
"Here is one sequin."
The priest takes the money and goes away: war is over. The peasant tells me that he has served in the
campaign of 1716, and that he was at the defence of Corfu. I compliment him, and ask him to find me a lodging
and a man able to prepare my meals. He answers that he will procure me a whole house, that he will be my cook
himself, but I must go up the hill. No matter! He calls two stout fellows, one takes my bag, the other shoulders
my sheep, and forward! As we are walking along, I tell him,
"My good man, I would like to have in my service twenty-four fellows like these under military discipline. I
would give each man twenty gazzette a day, and you would have forty as my lieutenant."
"I will," says the old soldier, "raise for you this very day a body-guard of which you will be proud."
We reach a very convenient house, containing on the ground floor three rooms and a stable, which I
immediately turned into a guard-room.
My lieutenant went to get what I wanted, and particularly a needlewoman to make me some shirts. In the
course of the day I had furniture, bedding, kitchen utensils, a good dinner, twenty-four well-equipped soldiers, a
super-annuated sempstress and several young girls to make my shirts. After supper, I found my position highly
pleasant, being surrounded with some thirty persons who looked upon me as their sovereign, although they could
not make out what had brought me to their island. The only thing which struck me as disagreeable was that the
young girls could not speak Italian, and I did not know Greek enough to enable me to make love to them.
The next morning my lieutenant had the guard relieved, and I could not help bursting into a merry laugh. They
were like a flock of sheep: all fine men, well-made and strong; but without uniform and without discipline the
finest band is but a herd. However, they quickly learned how to present arms and to obey the orders of their
officer. I caused three sentinels to be placed, one before the guardroom, one at my door, and the third where he
could have a good view of the sea. This sentinel was to give me warning of the approach of any armed boat or
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vessel. For the Iirst two or three days I considered all this as mere amusement, but, thinking that I might really
want the men to repel Iorce by Iorce, I had some idea oI making my army take an oath oI allegiance. I did not do
so, however, although my lieutenant assured me that I had only to express my wishes, Ior my generosity had
captivated the love oI all the islanders.
My sempstress, who had procured some young needlewomen to sew my shirts, had expected that I would Iall
in love with one and not with all, but my amorous zeal overstepped her hopes, and all the pretty ones had their
turn; they were all well satisIied with me, and the sempstress was rewarded Ior her good oIIices. I was leading a
delightIul liIe, Ior my table was supplied with excellent dishes, juicy mutton, and snipe so delicious that I have
never tasted their like except in St. Petersburg. I drank scopolo wine or the best muscatel oI the Archipelago.
My lieutenant was my only table companion. I never took a walk without him and two oI my body-guard, in
order to deIend myselI against the attacks oI a Iew young men who had a spite against me because they Iancied,
not without some reason, that my needlewomen, their mistresses, had leIt them on my account. I oIten thought
while I was rambling about the island, that without money I should have been unhappy, and that I was indebted
to my gold Ior all the happiness I was enjoying; but it was right to suppose at the same time that, iI I had not Ielt
my purse pretty heavy, I would not have been likely to leave CorIu.
I had thus been playing the petty king with success Ior a week or ten days, when, towards ten o'clock at night
I heard the sentinel's challenge. My lieutenant went out, and returned announcing that an honest-looking man,
who spoke Italian, wished to see me on important business. I had him brought in, and, in the presence oI my
lieutenant, he told me in Italian:
"Next Sunday, the Papa Deldimopulo will Iulminate against you the 'cataramonachia'. II you do not prevent
him, a slow Iever will send you into the next world in six weeks."
"I have never heard oI such a drug."
"It is not a drug. It is a curse pronounced by a priest with the Host in his hands, and it is sure to be IulIilled."
"What reason can that priest have to murder me?"
"You disturb the peace and discipline oI his parish. You have seduced several young girls, and now their
lovers reIuse to marry them."
I made him drink, and thanking him heartily, wished him good night. His warning struck me as deserving my
attention, Ior, iI I had no Iear oI the 'cataramonachia', in which I had not the slightest Iaith, I Ieared certain
poisons which might be by Iar more eIIicient. I passed a very quiet night, but at day-break I got up, and without
saying anything to my lieutenant, I went straight to the church where I Iound the priest, and addressed him in the
Iollowing words, uttered in a tone likely to enIorce conviction:
"On the Iirst symptom oI Iever, I will shoot you like a dog. Throw over me a curse which will kill me instantly,
or make your will. Farewell!"
Having thus warned him, I returned to my royal palace. Early on the Iollowing Monday, the papa called on
me. I had a slight headache; he enquired aIter my health, and when I told him that my head Ielt rather heavy, he
made me laugh by the air oI anxiety with which he assured me that it could be caused by nothing else than the
heavy atmosphere oI the island oI Casopo.
Three days aIter his visit, the advanced sentinel gave the war-cry. The lieutenant went out to reconnoitre, and
aIter a short absence he gave me notice that the long boat oI an armed vessel had just landed an oIIicer. Danger
was at hand.
I go out myselI, I call my men to arms, and, advancing a Iew steps, I see an oIIicer, accompanied by a guide,
who was walking towards my dwelling. As he was alone, I had nothing to Iear. I return to my room, giving
orders to my lieutenant to receive him with all military honours and to introduce him. Then, girding my sword, I
wait Ior my visitor.
In a Iew minutes, Adjutant Minolto, the same who had brought me the order to put myselI under arrest, makes
his appearance.
"You are alone," I say to him, "and thereIore you come as a Iriend. Let us embrace."
"I must come as a Iriend, Ior, as an enemy, I should not have enough men. But what I see seems a dream."
"Take a seat, and dine with me. I will treat you splendidly."
"Most willingly, and aIter dinner we will leave the island together."
"You may go alone, iI you like; but I will not leave this place until I have the certainty, not only that I shall not
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be sent to the 'bastarda', but also that I shall have every satisfaction from the knave whom the general ought to
send to the galleys."
"Be reasonable, and come with me of your own accord. My orders are to take you by force, but as I have not
enough men to do so, I shall make my report, and the general will, of course, send a force sufficient to arrest
you."
"Never; I will not be taken alive."
"You must be mad; believe me, you are in the wrong. You have disobeyed the order I brought you to go to
the 'bastarda; in that you have acted wrongly, and in that alone, for in every other respect you were perfectly
right, the general himself says so."
"Then I ought to have put myself under arrest?"
"Certainly; obedience is necessary in our profession."
"Would you have obeyed, if you had been in my place?"
"I cannot and will not tell you what I would have done, but I know that if I had disobeyed orders I should have
been guilty of a crime:"
"But if I surrendered now I should be treated like a criminal, and much more severely than if I had obeyed that
unjust order."
"I think not. Come with me, and you will know everything."
"What! Go without knowing what fate may be in store for me? Do not expect it. Let us have dinner. If I am
guilty of such a dreadful crime that violence must be used against me, I will surrender only to irresistible force. I
cannot be worse off, but there may be blood spilled."
"You are mistaken, such conduct would only make you more guilty. But I say like you, let us have dinner. A
good meal will very likely render you more disposed to listen to reason."
Our dinner was nearly over, when we heard some noise outside. The lieutenant came in, and informed me that
the peasants were gathering in the neighbourhood of my house to defend me, because a rumour had spread
through the island that the felucca had been sent with orders to arrest me and take me to Corfu. I told him to
undeceive the good fellows, and to send them away, but to give them first a barrel of wine.
The peasants went away satisfied, but, to shew their devotion to me, they all fired their guns.
"It is all very amusing," said the adjutant, "but it will turn out very serious if you let me go away alone, for my
duty compels me to give an exact account of all I have witnessed."
"I will follow you, if you will give me your word of honour to land me free in Corfu."
"I have orders to deliver your person to M. Foscari, on board the bastarda."
"Well, you shall not execute your orders this time."
"If you do not obey the commands of the general, his honour will compel him to use violence against you, and
of course he can do it. But tell me, what would you do if the general should leave you in this island for the sake of
the joke? There is no fear of that, however, and, after the report which I must give, the general will certainly
make up his mind to stop the affair without shedding blood."
"Without a fight it will be difficult to arrest me, for with five hundred peasants in such a place as this I would
not be afraid of three thousand men."
"One man will prove enough; you will be treated as a leader of rebels. All these peasants may be devoted to
you, but they cannot protect you against one man who will shoot you for the sake of earning a few pieces of
gold. I can tell you more than that: amongst all those men who surround you there is not one who would not
murder you for twenty sequins. Believe me, go with me. Come to enjoy the triumph which is awaiting you in
Corfu. You will be courted and applauded. You will narrate yourself all your mad frolics, people will laugh, and
at the same time will admire you for having listened to reason the moment I came here. Everybody feels esteem
for you, and M. D R thinks a great deal of you. He praises very highly the command you have shewn
over your passion in refraining from thrusting your sword through that insolent fool, in order not to forget the
respect you owed to his house. The general himself must esteem you, for he cannot forget what you told him of
that knave."
"What has become of him?"
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"Four days ago Major Sardina's frigate arrived with dispatches, in which the general must have found all the
proof of the imposture, for he has caused the false duke or prince to disappear very suddenly. Nobody knows
where he has been sent to, and nobody ventures to mention the fellow before the general, for he made the most
egregious blunder respecting him."
"But was the man received in society after the thrashing I gave him?"
"God forbid! Do you not recollect that he wore a sword? From that moment no one would receive him. His
arm was broken and his jaw shattered to pieces.
"But in spite of the state he was in, in spite of what he must have suffered, his excellency had him removed a
week after you had treated him so severely. But your flight is what everyone has been wondering over. It was
thought for three days that M. D R had concealed you in his house, and he was openly blamed for
doing so. He had to declare loudly at the general's table that he was in the most complete ignorance of your
whereabouts. His excellency even expressed his anxiety about your escape, and it was only yesterday that your
place of refuge was made known by a letter addressed by the priest of this island to the Proto-Papa Bulgari, in
which he complained that an Italian officer had invaded the island of Casopo a week before, and had committed
unheard-of violence. He accused you of seducing all the girls, and of threatening to shoot him if he dared to
pronounce 'cataramonachia' against you. This letter, which was read publicly at the evening reception, made the
general laugh, but he ordered me to arrest you all the same."
"Madame Sagredo is the cause of it all."
"True, but she is well punished for it. You ought to call upon her with me to-morrow."
"To-morrow? Are you then certain that I shall not be placed under arrest?"
"Yes, for I know that the general is a man of honour."
"I am of the same opinion. Well, let us go on board your felucca. We will embark together after midnight."
"Why not now?"
"Because I will not run the risk of spending the night on board M. Foscari's bastarda. I want to reach Corfu by
daylight, so as to make your victory more brilliant."
"But what shall we do for the next eight hours?"
"We will pay a visit to some beauties of a species unknown in Corfu, and have a good supper."
I ordered my lieutenant to send plenty to eat and to drink to the men on board the felucca, to prepare a
splendid supper, and to spare nothing, as I should leave the island at midnight. I made him a present of all my
provisions, except such as I wanted to take with me; these I sent on board. My janissaries, to whom I gave a
week's pay, insisted upon escorting me, fully equipped, as far as the boat, which made the adjutant laugh all the
way.
We reached Corfu by eight o'clock in the morning, and we went alongside the 'bastarda. The adjutant
consigned me to M. Foscari, assuring me that he would immediately give notice of my arrival to M. D R
-, send my luggage to his house, and report the success of his expedition to the general.
M. Foscari, the commander of the bastarda, treated me very badly. If he had been blessed with any delicacy
of feeling, he would not have been in such a hurry to have me put in irons. He might have talked to me, and have
thus delayed for a quarter of an hour that operation which greatly vexed me. But, without uttering a single word,
he sent me to the 'capo di scalo' who made me sit down, and told me to put my foot forward to receive the irons,
which, however, do not dishonour anyone in that country, not even the galley slaves, for they are better treated
than soldiers.
My right leg was already in irons, and the left one was in the hands of the man for the completion of that
unpleasant ceremony, when the adjutant of his excellency came to tell the executioner to set me at liberty and to
return me my sword. I wanted to present my compliments to the noble M. Foscari, but the adjutant, rather
ashamed, assured me that his excellency did not expect me to do so. The first thing I did was to pay my respects
to the general, without saying one word to him, but he told me with a serious countenance to be more prudent for
the future, and to learn that a soldier's first duty was to obey, and above all to be modest and discreet. I
understood perfectly the meaning of the two last words, and acted accordingly.
When I made my appearance at M. D R-'s, I could see pleasure on everybody's face. Those
moments have always been so dear to me that I have never forgotten them, they have afforded me consolation in
the time of adversity. If you would relish pleasure you must endure pain, and delights are in proportion to the
privations we have suffered. M. D R was so glad to see me that he came up to me and warmly
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embraced me. He presented me with a beautiful ring which he took from his own finger, and told me that I had
acted quite rightly in not letting anyone, and particularly himself, know where I had taken refuge.
"You can't think," he added, frankly, "how interested Madame F was in your fate. She would be really
delighted if you called on her immediately."
How delightful to receive such advice from his own lips! But the word "immediately" annoyed me, because,
having passed the night on board the felucca, I was afraid that the disorder of my toilet might injure me in her
eyes. Yet I could neither refuse M. D R-, nor tell him the reason of my refusal, and I bethought myself
that I could make a merit of it in the eyes of Madame F I therefore went at once to her house; the goddess
was not yet visible, but her attendant told me to come in, assuring me that her mistress's bell would soon be
heard, and that she would be very sorry if I did not wait to see her. I spent half an hour with that young and
indiscreet person, who was a very charming girl, and learned from her many things which caused me great
pleasure, and particularly all that had been said respecting my escape. I found that throughout the affair my
conduct had met with general approbation.
As soon as Madame F had seen her maid, she desired me to be shewn in. The curtains were drawn
aside, and I thought I saw Aurora surrounded with the roses and the pearls of morning. I told her that, if it had
not been for the order I received from M. D R I would not have presumed to present myself before
her in my travelling costume; and in the most friendly tone she answered that M. D R-, knowing all the
interest she felt in me, had been quite right to tell me to come, and she assured me that M. D R- had
the greatest esteem for me.
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"I do not know, madam, how I have deserved such great happiness, for all I dared aim at was toleration."
"We all admired the control you kept over your feelings when you refrained from killing that insolent madman
on the spot; he would have been thrown out of the window if he had not beat a hurried retreat."
"I should certainly have killed him, madam, if you had not been present."
"A very pretty compliment, but I can hardly believe that you thought of me in such a moment."
I did not answer, but cast my eyes down, and gave a deep sigh. She observed my new ring, and in order to
change the subject of conversation she praised M. D R- very highly, as soon as I had told her how he
had offered it to me. She desired me to give her an account of my life on the island, and I did so, but allowed my
pretty needlewomen to remain under a veil, for I had already learnt that in this world the truth must often remain
untold.
All my adventures amused her much, and she greatly admired my conduct.
"Would you have the courage," she said, "to repeat all you have just told me, and exactly in the same terms,
before the proveditore-generale?"
"Most certainly, madam, provided he asked me himself."
"Well, then, prepare to redeem your promise. I want our excellent general to love you and to become your
warmest protector, so as to shield you against every injustice and to promote your advancement. Leave it all to
me."
Her reception fairly overwhelmed me with happiness, and on leaving her house I went to Major Maroli to find
out the state of my finances. I was glad to hear that after my escape he had no longer considered me a partner in
the faro bank. I took four hundred sequins from the cashier, reserving the right to become again a partner, should
circumstances prove at any time favourable.
In the evening I made a careful toilet, and called for the Adjutant Minolto in order to pay with him a visit to
Madame Sagredo, the general's favourite. With the exception of Madame F she was the greatest beauty of
Corfu. My visit surprised her, because, as she had been the cause of all that had happened, she was very far
from expecting it. She imagined that I had a spite against her. I undeceived her, speaking to her very candidly,
and she treated me most kindly, inviting me to come now and then to spend the evening at her house.
But I neither accepted nor refused her amiable invitation, knowing that Madame F disliked her; and how
could I be a frequent guest at her house with such a knowledge! Besides, Madame Sagredo was very fond of
gambling, and, to please her, it was necessary either to lose or make her win, but to accept such conditions one
must be in love with the lady or wish to make her conquest, and I had not the slightest idea of either. The
Adjutant Minolto never played, but he had captivated the lady's good graces by his services in the character of
Mercury.
When I returned to the palace I found Madame F alone, M. D R being engaged with his
correspondence. She asked me to sit near her, and to tell her all my adventures in Constantinople. I did so, and I
had no occasion to repent it. My meeting with Yusuf's wife pleased her extremely, but the bathing scene by
moonlight made her blush with excitement. I veiled as much as I could the too brilliant colours of my picture, but,
if she did not find me clear, she would oblige me to be more explicit, and if I made myself better understood by
giving to my recital a touch of voluptuousness which I borrowed from her looks more than from my recollection,
she would scold me and tell me that I might have disguised a little more. I felt that the way she was talking would
give her a liking for me, and I was satisfied that the man who can give birth to amorous desires is easily called
upon to gratify them it was the reward I was ardently longing for, and I dared to hope it would be mine, although
I could see it only looming in the distance.
It happened that, on that day, M. D R had invited a large company to supper. I had, as a matter of
course, to engross all conversation, and to give the fullest particulars of all that had taken place from the moment
I received the order to place myself under arrest up to the time of my release from the 'bastarda'. M. Foscari was
seated next to me, and the last part of my narrative was not, I suppose, particularly agreeable to him.
The account I gave of my adventures pleased everybody, and it was decided that the proveditore-generale
must have the pleasure of hearing my tale from my own lips. I mentioned that hay was very plentiful in Casopo,
and as that article was very scarce in Corfu, M. D R told me that I ought to seize the opportunity of
making myself agreeable to the general by informing him of that circumstance without delay. I followed his advice
the very next day, and was very well received, for his excellency immediately ordered a squad of men to go to
the island and bring large quantities of hay to Corfu.
A few days later the Adjutant Minolto came to me in the coffee-house, and told me that the general wished to
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see me: this time I promptly obeyed his commands.
CHAPTER V
Progress of My AmourMy Journey to OtrantoI Enter the
Service of Madame F.A Fortunate Excoriation
The room I entered was full of people. His excellency, seeing me, smiled and drew upon me the attention of all
his guests by saying aloud, "Here comes the young man who is a good judge of princes."
"My lord, I have become a judge of nobility by frequenting the society of men like you."
"The ladies are curious to know all you have done from the time of your escape from Corfu up to your return."
"Then you sentence me, monsignor, to make a public confession?"
"Exactly; but, as it is to be a confession, be careful not to omit the most insignificant circumstance, and
suppose that I am not in the room."
"On the contrary, I wish to receive absolution only from your excellency. But my history will be a long one."
"If such is the case, your confessor gives you permission to be seated."
I gave all the particulars of my adventures, with the exception of my dalliance with the nymphs of the island.
"Your story is a very instructive one," observed the general.
"Yes, my lord, for the adventures shew that a young man is never so near his utter ruin than when, excited by
some great passion, he finds himself able to minister to it, thanks to the gold in his purse."
I was preparing to take my leave, when the majordomo came to inform me that his excellency desired me to
remain to supper. I had therefore the honour of a seat at his table, but not the pleasure of eating, for I was
obliged to answer the questions addressed to me from all quarters, and I could not contrive to swallow a single
mouthful. I was seated next to the Proto-Papa Bulgari, and I entreated his pardon for having ridiculed
Deldimopulo's oracle. "It is nothing else but regular cheating," he said, "but it is very difficult to put a stop to it; it
is an old custom."
A short time afterwards, Madame F whispered a few words to the general, who turned to me and said
that he would be glad to hear me relate what had occurred to me in Constantinople with the wife of the Turk
Yusuf, and at another friend's house, where I had seen bathing by moonlight. I was rather surprised at such an
invitation, and told him that such frolics were not worth listening to, and the general not pressing me no more was
said about it. But I was astonished at Madame F's indiscretion; she had no business to make my
confidences public. I wanted her to be jealous of her own dignity, which I loved even more than her person.
Two or three days later, she said to me,
"Why did you refuse to tell your adventures in Constantinople before the general?"
"Because I do not wish everybody to know that you allow me to tell you such things. What I may dare,
madam, to say to you when we are alone, I would certainly not say to you in public."
"And why not? It seems to me, on the contrary, that if you are silent in public out of respect for me, you ought
to be all the more silent when we are alone."
"I wanted to amuse you, and have exposed myself to the danger of displeasing you, but I can assure you,
madam, that I will not run such a risk again."
"I have no wish to pry into your intentions, but it strikes me that if your wish was to please me, you ought not
to have run the risk of obtaining the opposite result. We take supper with the general this evening, and M. D
R- has been asked to bring you. I feel certain that the general will ask you again for your adventures in
Constantinople, and this time you cannot refuse him."
M. D R came in and we went to the general's. I thought as we were driving along that, although
Madame F seemed to have intended to humiliate me, I ought to accept it all as a favour of fortune, because,
by compelling me to explain my refusal to the general; Madame F had, at the same time, compelled me to a
declaration of my feelings, which was not without importance.
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The 'proveditore-generale' gave me a friendly welcome, and kindly handed me a letter which had come with
the official dispatches from Constantinople. I bowed my thanks, and put the letter in my pocket: but he told me
that he was himself a great lover of news, and that I could read my letter. I opened it; it was from Yusuf, who
announced the death of Count de Bonneval. Hearing the name of the worthy Yusuf, the general asked me to tell
him my adventure with his wife. I could not now refuse, and I began a story which amused and interested the
general and his friends for an hour or so, but which was from beginning to end the work of my imagination.
Thus I continued to respect the privacy of Yusuf, to avoid implicating the good fame of Madame F, and
to shew myself in a light which was tolerably advantageous to me. My story, which was full of sentiment, did me
a great deal of honour, and I felt very happy when I saw from the expression of Madame F's face that she
was pleased with me, although somewhat surprised.
When we found ourselves again in her house she told me, in the presence of M. D R-, that the story
I had related to the general was certainly very pretty, although purely imaginary, that she was not angry with me,
because I had amused her, but that she could not help remarking my obstinacy in refusing compliance with her
wishes. Then, turning to M. D R-, she said,
"M. Casanova pretends that if he had given an account of his meeting with Yusuf's wife without changing
anything everybody would think that I allowed him to entertain me with indecent stories. I want you to give your
opinion about it. Will you," she added, speaking to me, "be so good as to relate immediately the adventure in the
same words which you have used when you told me of it?"
"Yes, madam, if you wish me to do so."
Stung to the quick by an indiscretion which, as I did not yet know women thoroughly, seemed to me without
example, I cast all fears of displeasing to the winds, related the adventure with all the warmth of an impassioned
poet, and without disguising or attenuating in the least the desires which the charms of the Greek beauty had
inspired me with.
"Do you think," said M. D R to Madame F-, "that he ought to have related that adventure
before all our friends as he has just related it to us?"
"If it be wrong for him to tell it in public, it is also wrong to tell it to me in private."
"You are the only judge of that: yes, if he has displeased you; no, if he has amused you. As for my own
opinion, here it is: He has just now amused me very much, but he would have greatly displeased me if he had
related the same adventure in public."
"Then," exclaimed Madame F, "I must request you never to tell me in private anything that you cannot
repeat in public."
"I promise, madam, to act always according to your wishes."
"It being understood," added M. D R-, smiling, "that madam reserves all rights of repealing that
order whenever she may think fit."
I was vexed, but I contrived not to show it. A few minutes more, and we took leave of Madame F.
I was beginning to understand that charming woman, and to dread the ordeal to which she would subject me.
But love was stronger than fear, and, fortified with hope, I had the courage to endure the thorns, so as to gather
the rose at the end of my sufferings. I was particularly pleased to find that M. D R was not jealous of
me, even when she seemed to dare him to it. This was a point of the greatest importance.
A few days afterwards, as I was entertaining her on various subjects, she remarked how unfortunate it had
been for me to enter the lazzaretto at Ancona without any money.
"In spite of my distress," I said, "I fell in love with a young and beautiful Greek slave, who very nearly
contrived to make me break through all the sanitary laws."
"How so?"
"You are alone, madam, and I have not forgotten your orders."
"Is it a very improper story?"
"No: yet I would not relate it to you in public."
"Well," she said, laughing, "I repeal my order, as M. D R said I would. Tell me all about it."
I told my story, and, seeing that she was pensive, I exaggerated the misery I had felt at not being able to
complete my conquest.
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"What do you mean by your misery? I think that the poor girl was more to be pitied than you. You have never
seen her since?"
"I beg your pardon, madam; I met her again, but I dare not tell you when or how."
"Now you must go on; it is all nonsense for you to stop. Tell me all; I expect you have been guilty of some
black deed."
"Very far from it, madam, for it was a very sweet, although incomplete, enjoyment."
"Go on! But do not call things exactly by their names. It is not necessary to go into details."
Emboldened by the renewal of her order, I told her, without looking her in the face, of my meeting with the
Greek slave in the presence of Bellino, and of the act which was cut short by the appearance of her master.
When I had finished my story, Madame F remained silent, and I turned the conversation into a different
channel, for though I felt myself on an excellent footing with her, I knew likewise that I had to proceed with great
prudence. She was too young to have lowered herself before, and she would certainly look upon a connection
with me as a lowering of her dignity.
Fortune which had always smiled upon me in the most hopeless cases, did not intend to ill-treat me on this
occasion, and procured me, on that very same day, a favour of a very peculiar nature. My charming ladylove
having pricked her finger rather severely, screamed loudly, and stretched her hand towards me, entreating me to
suck the blood flowing from the wound. You may judge, dear reader, whether I was long in seizing that beautiful
hand, and if you are, or if you have ever been in love, you will easily guess the manner in which I performed my
delightful work. What is a kiss? Is it not an ardent desire to inhale a portion of the being we love? Was not the
blood I was sucking from that charming wound a portion of the woman I worshipped? When I had completed
my work, she thanked me affectionately, and told me to spit out the blood I had sucked.
"It is here," I said, placing my hand on my heart, "and God alone knows what happiness it has given me."
"You have drunk my blood with happiness! Are you then a cannibal?"
"I believe not, madam; but it would have been sacrilege in my eyes if I had suffered one single drop of your
blood to be lost."
One evening, there was an unusually large attendance at M. D R-'s assembly, and we were talking
of the carnival which was near at hand. Everybody was regretting the lack of actors, and the impossibility of
enjoying the pleasures of the theatre. I immediately offered to procure a good company at my expense, if the
boxes were at once subscribed for, and the monopoly of the faro bank granted to me. No time was to be lost,
for the carnival was approaching, and I had to go to Otranto to engage a troop. My proposal was accepted with
great joy, and the proveditore-generale placed a felucca at my disposal. The boxes were all taken in three days,
and a Jew took the pit, two nights a week excepted, which I reserved for my own profit.
The carnival being very long that year, I had every chance of success. It is said generally that the profession of
theatrical manager is difficult, but, if that is the case, I have not found it so by experience, and am bound to affirm
the contrary.
I left Corfu in the evening, and having a good breeze in my favour, I reached Otranto by day-break the
following morning, without the oarsmen having had to row a stroke. The distance from Corfu to Otranto is only
about fifteen leagues.
I had no idea of landing, owing to the quarantine which is always enforced for any ship or boat coming to Italy
from the east. I only went to the parlour of the lazaretto, where, placed behind a grating, you can speak to any
person who calls, and who must stand behind another grating placed opposite, at a distance of six feet.
As soon as I announced that I had come for the purpose of engaging a troupe of actors to perform in Corfu,
the managers of the two companies then in Otranto came to the parlour to speak to me. I told them at once that I
wished to see all the performers, one company at a time.
The two rival managers gave me then a very comic scene, each manager wanting the other to bring his troupe
first. The harbour-master told me that the only way to settle the matter was to say myself which of the two
companies I would see first: one was from Naples, the other from Sicily. Not knowing either I gave the
preference to the first. Don Fastidio, the manager, was very vexed, while Battipaglia, the director of the second,
was delighted because he hoped that, after seeing the Neapolitan troupe, I would engage his own.
An hour afterwards, Fastidio returned with all his performers, and my surprise may be imagined when amongst
them I recognized Petronio and his sister Marina, who, the moment she saw me, screamed for joy, jumped over
the grating, and threw herself in my arms. A terrible hubbub followed, and high words passed between Fastidio
and the harbour-master. Marina being in the service of Fastidio, the captain compelled him to confine her to the
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lazaretto, where she would have to perIorm quarantine at his expense. The poor girl cried bitterly, but I could not
remedy her imprudence.
I put a stop to the quarrel by telling Fastidio to shew me all his people, one aIter the other. Petronio belonged
to his company, and perIormed the lovers. He told me that he had a letter Ior me Irom Therese. I was also glad
to see a Venetian oI my acquaintance who played the pantaloon in the pantomime, three tolerably pretty
actresses, a pulcinella, and a scaramouch. Altogether, the troupe was a decent one.
I told Fastidio to name the lowest salary he wanted Ior all his company, assuring him that I would give the
preIerence to his rival, iI he should ask me too much.
"Sir," he answered, "we are twenty, and shall require six rooms with ten beds, one sitting-room Ior all oI us,
and thirty Neapolitan ducats a day, all travelling expenses paid. Here is my stock oI plays, and we will perIorm
those that you may choose."
Thinking oI poor Marina who would have to remain in the lazaretto beIore she could reappear on the stage at
Otranto, I told Fastidio to get the contract ready, as I wanted to go away immediately.
I had scarcely pronounced these words than war broke out again between the manager-elect and his
unIortunate competitor. Battipaglia, in his rage, called Marina a harlot, and said that she had arranged beIorehand
with Fastidio to violate the rules oI the lazaretto in order to compel me to choose their troupe. Petronio, taking
his sister's part, joined Fastidio, and the unlucky Battipaglia was dragged outside and treated to a generous dose
oI blows and IisticuIIs, which was not exactly the thing to console him Ior a lost engagement.
Soon aIterwards, Petronio brought me Therese's letter. She was ruining the duke, getting rich accordingly, and
waiting Ior me in Naples.
Everything being ready towards evening, I leIt Otranto with twenty actors, and six large trunks containing their
complete wardrobes. A light breeze which was blowing Irom the south might have carried us to CorIu in ten
hours, but when we had sailed about one hour my cayabouchiri inIormed me that he could see by the moonlight a
ship which might prove to be a corsair, and get hold oI us. I was unwilling to risk anything, so I ordered them to
lower the sails and return to Otranto. At day-break we sailed again with a good westerly wind, which would also
have taken us to CorIu; but aIter we had gone two or three hours, the captain pointed out to me a brigantine,
evidently a pirate, Ior she was shaping her course so as to get to windward oI us. I told him to change the course,
and to go by starboard, to see iI the brigantine would Iollow us, but she immediately imitated our manoeuvre. I
could not go back to Otranto, and I had no wish to go to AIrica, so I ordered the men to shape our course, so
as to land on the coast oI Calabria, by hard rowing and at the nearest point. The sailors, who were Irightened to
death, communicated their Iears to my comedians, and soon I heard nothing but weeping and sobbing. Every one
oI them was calling earnestly upon some saint, but not one single prayer to God did I hear. The bewailings oI
scaramouch, the dull and spiritless despair oI Fastidio, oIIered a picture which would have made me laugh
heartily iI the danger had been imaginary and not real. Marina alone was cheerIul and happy, because she did not
realize the danger we were running, and she laughed at the terror oI the crew and oI her companions.
A strong breeze sprang up towards evening, so I ordered them to clap on all sail