Old Age and Death, by Jacques Casanova, v30
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
This etext was produced by David Widger
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6e--OLD AGE AND DEATH
THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA DE SEINGALT
THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN
TO WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.
OLD AGE AND DEATH OF CASANOVA
APPENDIX AND SUPPLEMENT
Whether the author died before the work was complete, whether the
concluding volumes were destroyed by himself or his literary executors,
or whether the MS. fell into bad hands, seems a matter of uncertainty,
and the materials available towards a continuation of the Memoirs are
extremely fragmentary. We know, however, that Casanova at last succeeded
in obtaining his pardon from the authorities of the Republic, and he
returned to Venice, where he exercised the honourable office of secret
agent of the State Inquisitors--in plain language, he became a spy. It
seems that the Knight of the Golden Spur made a rather indifferent
"agent;" not surely, as a French writer suggests, because the dirty work
was too dirty for his fingers, but probably because he was getting old
and stupid and out-of-date, and failed to keep in touch with new forms of
turpitude. He left Venice again and paid a visit to Vienna, saw beloved
Paris once more, and there met Count Wallenstein, or Waldstein. The
conversation turned on magic and the occult sciences, in, which Casanova
was an adept, as the reader of the Memoirs will remember, and the count
took a fancy to the charlatan. In short Casanova became librarian at the
count's Castle of Dux, near Teplitz, and there he spent the fourteen
remaining years of his life.
As the Prince de Ligne (from whose Memoirs we learn these particulars)
remarks, Casanova's life had been a stormy and adventurous one, and it
might have been expected that he would have found his patron's library a
pleasant refuge after so many toils and travels. But the man carried
rough weather and storm in his own heart, and found daily opportunities
of mortification and resentment. The coffee was ill made, the maccaroni
not cooked in the true Italian style, the dogs had bayed during the
night, he had been made to dine at a small table, the parish priest had
tried to convert him, the soup had been served too hot on purpose to
annoy him, he had not been introduced to a distinguished guest, the count
had lent a book without telling him, a groom had not taken off his hat;
such were his complaints. The fact is Casanova felt his dependent
position and his utter poverty, and was all the more determined to stand
to his dignity as a man who had talked with all the crowned heads of
Europe, and had fought a duel with the Polish general. And he had
another reason for finding life bitter--he had lived beyond his time.
Louis XV. was dead, and Louis XVI. had been guillotined; the Revolution
had come; and Casanova, his dress, and his manners, appeared as odd and
antique as some "blood of the Regency" would appear to us of these days.
Sixty years before, Marcel, the famous dancing-master, had taught young
Casanova how to enter a room with a lowly and ceremonious bow; and still,
though the eighteenth century is drawning to a close, old Casanova enters
the rooms of Dux with the same stately bow, but now everyone laughs. Old
Casanova treads the grave measures of the minuet; they applauded his
dancing once, but now everyone laughs. Young Casanova was always dressed
in the height of the fashion; but the age of powder, wigs, velvets, and
silks has departed, and old Casanova's attempts at elegance ("Strass"
diamonds have replaced the genuine stones with him) are likewise greeted
with laughter. No wonder the old adventurer denounces the whole house of
Jacobins and canaille; the world, he feels, is permanently out of joint
for him; everything is cross, and everyone is in a conspiracy to drive
the iron into his soul.
At last these persecutions, real or imaginary, drive him away from Dux;
he considers his genius bids him go, and, as before, he obeys. Casanova
has but little pleasure or profit out of this his last journey; he has to
dance attendance in ante-chambers; no one will give him any office,
whether as tutor, librarian, or chamberlain. In one quarter only is he
well received--namely, by the famous Duke of Weimar; but in a few days he
becomes madly jealous of the duke's more famous protegees, Goethe and
Wieland, and goes off declaiming against them and German literature
generally--with which literature he was wholly unacquainted. From Weimar
to Berlin; where there are Jews to whom he has introductions. Casanova
thinks them ignorant, superstitious, and knavish; but they lend him
money, and he gives bills on Count Wallenstein, which are paid. In six
weeks the wanderer returns to Dux, and is welcomed with open arms; his
journeys are over at last.
But not his troubles. A week after his return there are strawberries at
dessert; everyone is served before himself, and when the plate comes
round to him it is empty. Worse still: his portrait is missing from his
room, and is discovered 'salement placarde a la porte des lieux
Five more years of life remained to him. They were passed in such petty
mortifications as we have narrated, in grieving over his 'afreuse
vieillesse', and in laments over the conquest of his native land Venice,
once so splendid and powerful. His appetite began to fail, and with it
failed his last source of pleasure, so death came to him somewhat as a
release. He received the sacraments with devotion, exclaimed,--
"Grand Dieu, et vous tous temoins de ma mort, j'ai vecu en philosophe, et
je meurs en Chretien," and so died.
It was a quiet ending to a wonderfully brilliant and entirely useless
career. It has been suggested that if the age in which Casanova lived
had been less corrupt, he himself might have used his all but universal
talents to some advantage, but to our mind Casanova would always have
remained Casanova. He came of a family of adventurers, and the reader of
his Memoirs will remark how he continually ruined his prospects by his
ineradicable love for disreputable company. His "Bohemianism" was in his
blood, and in his old age he regrets--not his past follies, but his
inability to commit folly any longer. Now and again we are inclined to
pronounce Casanova to be an amiable man; and if to his generosity and
good nature he had added some elementary knowledge of the distinction
between right and wrong, he might certainly have laid some claim to the
character. The Prince de Ligne draws the following portrait of him under
the name of Aventuros:
"He would be a handsome man if he were not ugly; he is tall and strongly
built, but his dark complexion and his glittering eyes give him a fierce
expression. He is easier to annoy than amuse; he laughs little but makes
others laugh by the peculiar turn he gives to his conversation. He knows
everything except those matters on the knowledge of which he chiefly
prides himself, namely, dancing, the French language, good taste, and
knowledge of the world. Everything about him is comic, except his
comedies; and all his writings are philosophical, saving those which
treat of philosophy. He is a perfect well of knowledge, but he quotes
Homer and Horace ad nauseam."
THE MEMOIRS OF
Containing an Outline of Casanova's career from the
year 1774, when his own Memoirs abruptly
end, until his death in 1798
PART THE FIRST
CASANOVA'S RETURN TO VENICE
Thus Casanova ended his Memoirs, concluding his narrative with his
sojourn at Trieste, in January 1774, where he had remained, except for a
few excursions, since the 15th November 1772. He was forty-nine years of
age. Since his unfortunate experiences in England, the loss of his
fortune and the failure of his efforts to obtain congenial and
remunerative employment in Germany or Russia, he had come to concentrate
his efforts on a return to his native city.
Of his faithful friends, the nobles Bragadin, Barbaro and Dandolo, the
first had died in 1767, having gone into debt "that I might have enough,"
sending Casanova, from his death-bed, a last gift of a thousand crowns.
Barbaro who had died also, in 1771, left Casanova a life-income of six
sequins a month. The survivor, Dandolo, was poor, but until his death,
he also gave Casanova a monthly provision of six sequins.
However, Casanova was not without influential friends who might not only
obtain a pardon from the State Inquisitors but also assist him to
employment; and, in fact, it was through such influence as that wielded
by the Avogador Zaguri and the Procurator Morosini, that Casanova
received his pardon, and later, a position as "Confidant," or Secret
Agent, to the Inquisitors at Venice.
Casanova re-entered Venice the 14th September 1774 and, presenting
himself, on the 18th, to Marc-Antoine Businello, Secretary of the
Tribunal of the Inquisitors of State, was advised that mercy had been
accorded him by reason of his refutation of the History of the Venetian
Government by Amelot de la Houssaie which he had written during his
forty-two day imprisonment at Barcelona in 1768. The three Inquisitors,
Francesco Grimani, Francesco Sagredo and Paolo Bembo, invited him to
dinner to hear his story of his escape from The Leads.
In 1772, Bandiera, the Republic's resident at Ancona, drew this portrait
"One sees everywhere this unhappy rebel against the justice of the August
Council, presenting himself boldly, his head carried high, and well
equipped. He is received in many houses and announces his intention of
going to Trieste and, from there, of returning to Germany. He is a man
of forty years or more," [in reality, forty-seven] "of high stature and
excellent appearance, vigorous, of a very brown color, the eye bright,
the wig short and chestnut-brown. He is said to be haughty and
disdainful; he speaks at length, with spirit and erudition." [Letter of
information to the Very Illustrious Giovanni Zon, Secretary of the August
Council of Ten at Venice. 2 October 1772.]
Returning to Venice after an absence of eighteen years, Casanova renewed
his acquaintance with many old friends, among whom were:
The Christine of the Memoirs. Charles, who married Christine, the
marriage being arranged by Casanova while in Venice in 1747, was of
financial assistance to Casanova, who "found him a true friend." Charles
died "a few months before my last departure from Venice," in 1783.
Mlle. X---- C---- V----, really Giustina de Wynne, widow of the Count
Rosenberg, Austrian Ambassador at Venice. "Fifteen years afterwards, I
saw her again and she was a widow, happy enough, apparently, and enjoying
a great reputation on account of her rank, wit and social qualities, but
our connection was never renewed."
Callimena, who was kind to him "for love's sake alone" at Sorrento in
Marcoline, the girl he took away from his younger brother, the Abby
Casanova, at Geneva in 1763.
Father Balbi, the companion of his flight from The Leads.
Doctor Gozzi, his former teacher at Padua, now become Arch-Priest of St.
George of the Valley, and his sister Betting. "When I went to pay him a
visit . . . she breathed her last in my arms, in 1776, twenty-four
hours after my arrival. I will speak of her death in due time."
Angela Toselli, his first passion. In 1758 this girl married the
advocate Francesco Barnaba Rizzotti, and in the following year she gave
birth to a daughter, Maria Rizzotti (later married to a M. Kaiser) who
lived at Vienna and whose letters to Casanova were preserved at Dux.
C---- C----, the young girl whose love affair with Casanova became
involved with that of the nun M---- M---- Casanova found her in Venice "a
widow and poorly off."
The dancing girl Binetti, who assisted Casanova in his flight from
Stuttgart in 1760, whom he met again in London in 1763, and who was the
cause of his duel with Count Branicki at Warsaw in 1766. She danced
frequently at Venice between 1769 and 1780.
The good and indulgent Mme. Manzoni, "of whom I shall have to speak very
The patricians Andrea Memmo and his brother Bernardo who, with
P. Zaguri were personages of considerable standing in the Republic and
who remained his constant friends. Andrea Memmo was the cause of the
embarrassment in which Mlle. X---- C---- V---- found herself in Paris
and which Casanova vainly endeavored to remove by applications of his
astonishing specific, the 'aroph of Paracelsus'.
It was at the house of these friends that Casanova became acquainted with
the poet, Lorenzo Da Ponte. "I made his acquaintance," says the latter,
in his own Memoirs, "at the house of Zaguri and the house of Memmo, who
both sought after his always interesting conversation, accepting from
this man all he had of good, and closing their eyes, on account of his
genius, upon the perverse parts of his nature."
Lorenzo Da Ponte, known above all as Mozart's librettist, and whose youth
much resembled that of Casanova, was accused of having eaten ham on
Friday and was obliged to flee from Venice in 1777, to escape the
punishment of the Tribunal of Blasphemies. In his Memoirs, he speaks
unsparingly of his compatriot and yet, as M. Rava notes, in the numerous
letters he wrote Casanova, and which were preserved at Dux, he proclaims
his friendship and admiration.
Irene Rinaldi, whom he met again at Padua in 1777, with her daughter who
"had become a charming girl; and our acquaintance was renewed in the
The ballet-girl Adelaide, daughter of Mme. Soavi, who was also a dancer,
and of a M. de Marigny.
Barbara, who attracted Casanova's attention at Trieste, in 1773, while he
was frequenting a family named Leo, but toward whom he had maintained an
attitude of respect. This girl, on meeting him again in 1777, declared
that "she had guessed my real feelings and had been amused by my foolish
At Pesaro, the Jewess Leah, with whom he had the most singular
experiences at Ancona in 1772.
RELATIONS WITH THE INQUISITORS
Soon after reaching Venice, Casanova learned that the Landgrave of Hesse
Cassel, following the example of other German princes, wished a Venetian
correspondent for his private affairs. Through some influence he
believed he might obtain this small employment; but before applying for
the position he applied to the Secretary of the Tribunal for permission.
Apparently nothing came of this, and Casanova obtained no definite
employment until 1776.
Early in 1776, Casanova entered the service of the Tribunal of
Inquisitors as an "occasional Confidant," under the fictitious name of
Antonio Pratiloni, giving his address as "at the Casino of S. E. Marco
In October 1780, his appointment was more definitely established and he
was given a salary of fifteen ducats a month. This, with the six sequins
of life-income left by Barbaro and the six given by Dandolo, gave him a
monthly income of three hundred and eighty-four lires--about seventy-four
U. S. dollars--from 1780 until his break with the Tribunal at the end of
In the Archives of Venice are preserved forty-eight letters from
Casanova, including the Reports he wrote as a "Confidant," all in the
same handwriting as the manuscript of the Memoirs. The Reports may be
divided into two classes: those referring to commercial or industrial
matters, and those referring to the public morals.
Among those of the first class, we find:
A Report relating to Casanova's success in having a change made in the
route of the weekly diligence running from Trieste to Mestre, for which
service, rendered during Casanova's residence at Trieste in 1773, he
received encouragement and the sum of one hundred ducats from the
A Report, the 8th September 1776, with information concerning the rumored
project of the future Emperor of Austria to invade Dalmatia after the
death of Maria Theresa. Casanova stated he had received this information
from a Frenchman, M. Salz de Chalabre, whom he had known in Paris twenty
years before. This M. Chalabre [printed Calabre] was the pretended
nephew of Mme. Amelin. "This young man was as like her as two drops of
water, but she did not find that a sufficient reason for avowing herself
his mother." The boy was, in fact, the son of Mme. Amelin and of M. de
Chalabre, who had lived together for a long time.
A Report, the 12th of December 1776, of a secret mission to Trieste, in
regard to a project of the court of Vienna for making Fiume a French
port; the object being to facilitate communications between this port and
the interior of Hungary. For this inquiry, Casanova received sixteen
hundred lires, his expenditures amounting to seven hundred and sixty-six
A Report, May-July 1779, of an excursion in the market of Ancona for
information concerning the commercial relations of the Pontifical States
with the Republic of Venice. At Forli, in the course of this excursion,
Casanova visited the dancing-girl Binetti. For this mission Casanova
received forty-eight sequins.
A Report, January 1780, remarking a clandestine recruiting carried out by
a certain Marrazzani for the [Prussian] regiment of Zarembal.
A Report, the 11th October 1781, regarding a so-called Baldassare
Rossetti, a Venetian subject living at Trieste, whose activities and
projects were of a nature to prejudice the commerce and industry of the
Among the Reports relating to public morals may be noted:
December 1776. A Report on the seditious character of a ballet called
"Coriolanus." The back of this report is inscribed: "The impressario of
S. Benedetto, Mickel de l'Agata, shall be summoned immediately; it has
been ordered that he cease, under penalty of his life, from giving the
ballet Coriolanus at the theater. Further, he is to collect and deposit
all the printed programmes of this ballet."
December 1780. A Report calling to the attention of the Tribunal the
scandalous disorders produced in the theaters when the lights were
3rd May 1781. A Report remarking that the Abbe Carlo Grimani believed
himself exempt, in his position as a priest, from the interdiction laid
on patricians against frequenting foreign ministers and their suites. On
the back of this Report is written: "Ser Jean Carlo, Abbe Grimani, to be
gently reminded, by the Secretary, of the injunction to abstain from all
commerce with foreign ministers and their adherents"
Venetian nobles were forbidden under penalty of death from holding any
communication with foreign ambassadors or their households. This was
intended as a precaution to preserve the secrets of the Senate.
26th November 1781. A Report concerning a painting academy where nude
studies were made, from models of both sexes, while scholars only twelve
or thirteen years of age were admitted, and where dilettantes who were
neither painters nor designers, attended the sessions.
22nd December 1781. By order, Casanova reported to the Tribunal a list
of the principal licentious or antireligious books to be found in the
libraries and private collections at Venice: la Pucelle; la Philosophie
de l'Histoire; L'Esprit d'Helvetius; la Sainte Chandelle d'Arras; les
Bijoux indiscrets; le Portier des Chartreux; les Posies de Baffo; Ode
a Priape; de Piron; etc., etc.
In considering this Report, which has been the subject of violent
criticism, we should bear in mind three points:
first--the Inquisitors required this information; second--no one in their
employ could have been in a better position to give it than Casanova;
third--Casanova was morally and economically bound, as an employee of the
Tribunal, to furnish the information ordered, whatever his personal
distaste for the undertaking may have been. We may even assume that he
permitted himself to express his feelings in some indiscreet way, and his
break with the Tribunal followed, for, at the end of 1781, his commission
was withdrawn. Certainly, Casanova's almost absolute dependence on his
salary, influenced the letter he wrote the Inquisitors at this time.
"To the Illustrious and Most Excellent Lords, the Inquisitors of State:
"Filled with confusion, overwhelmed with sorrow and repentance,
recognizing myself absolutely unworthy of addressing my vile letter to
Your Excellencies confessing that I have failed in my duty in the
opportunities which presented themselves, I, Jacques Casanova, invoke, on
my knees, the mercy of the Prince; I beg that, in compassion and grace,
there may be accorded me that which, in all justice and on reflection,
may be refused me.
"I ask the Sovereign Munificence to come to my aid, so that, with the
means of subsistence, I may apply myself vigorously, in the future, to
the service to which I have been privileged.
"After this respectful supplication, the wisdom of Your Excellencies may
judge the disposition of my spirit and of my intentions."
The Inquisitors decided to award Casanova one month's pay, but specified
that thereafter he would receive salary only when he rendered important
In 1782 Casanova made a few more Reports to the Tribunal, for one of
which, regarding the failure of an insurance and commercial house at
Trieste, he received six sequins. But the part of a guardian of the
public morals, even through necessity, was undoubtedly unpleasant to him;
and, in spite of the financial loss, it may be that his release was a
Intimately connected with Casanova's life at this period was a girl named
Francesca Buschini. This name does not appear in any of the literary,
artistic or theatrical records of the period, and, of the girl, nothing
is known other than that which she herself tells us in her letters to
Casanova. From these very human letters, however, we may obtain, not
only certain facts, but also, a very excellent idea of her character.
Thirty-two of her letters, dated between July 1779 and October 1787,
written in the Venetian dialect, were preserved in the library at Dux.
She was a seamstress, although often without work, and had a brother, a
younger sister and also a mother living with her. The probabilities are
that she was a girl of the most usual sort, but greatly attached to
Casanova who, even in his poverty, must have dazzled her as a being from
another world. She was his last Venetian love, and remained a faithful
correspondent until 1787; and it is chiefly from her letters, in which
she comments on news contained in Casanova's letters to her, that light
is thrown on the Vienna-Paris period, particularly, of Casanova's life.
For this, Francesca has placed us greatly in her debt.
With this girl, at least between 1779 and 1782, Casanova rented a small
house at Barbaria delle Tole, near S. Giustina, from the noble Pesaro at
S. Stae. Casanova, always in demand for his wit and learning, often took
dinner in the city. He knew that a place always awaited him at the house
of Memmo and at that of Zaguri and that, at the table of these
patricians, who were distinguished by their intellectual superiority, he
would meet men notable in science and letters. Being so long and so
closely connected with theatrical circles, he was often seen at the
theater, with Francesca. Thus, the 9th August 1786, the poor girl, in an
excess of chagrin writes: "Where are all the pleasures which formerly you
procured me? Where are the theatres, the comedies which we once saw
On the 28th July 1779, Francesca wrote:
"Dearest and best beloved,
" . . . In the way of novelties, I find nothing except that S. E.
Pietro Zaguri has arrived at Venice; his servant has been twice to ask
for you, and I have said you were still at the Baths of Abano . . ."
The Casanova-Buschini establishment kept up relations, more or less
frequent and intimate, with a few persons, most of whom are mentioned in
Francesca's letters; the Signora Anzoletta Rizzotti; the Signora
Elisabeth Catrolli, an ancient comedienne; the Signora Bepa Pezzana; the
Signora Zenobia de Monti, possibly the mother of that Carlo de Monti,
Venetian Consul at Trieste, who was a friend to Casanova and certainly
contributed toward obtaining his pardon from the Inquisitors;
a M. Lunel, master of languages, and his wife.
Casanova's principal writings during this period were:
His translation of the Iliad, the first volume of which was issued in
1775, the second in 1777 and the third in 1778.
During his stay at Abano in 1778, he wrote the Scrutinio del libro,
eulogies of M. de Voltaire "by various hands." In the dedication of this
book, to the Doge Renier, he wrote, "This little book has recently come
from my inexperienced pen, in the hours of leisure which are frequent at
Abano for those who do not come only for the baths."
From January until July 1780, he published, anonymously, a series of
miscellaneous small works, seven pamphlets of about one hundred pages
each, distributed at irregular intervals to subscribers.
From the 7th October to the end of December, 1780, on the occasions of
the representations given by a troupe of French comedians at the San
Angelo theater, Casanova wrote a little paper called The Messenger of
Thalia. In one of the numbers, he wrote:
"French is not my tongue; I make no pretentions and, wrong or astray, I
place on the paper what heaven sends from my pen. I give birth to
phrases turned to Italian, either to see what they look like or to
produce a style, and often, also, to draw, into a purist's snare, some
critical doctor who does not know my humor or how my offense amuses me."
The "little romance" referred to in the following letter to "Mlle. X----
C---- V---- ," appeared in 1782, with the title; 'Di anecdoti vinizani
militari a amorosi del secolo decimo quarto sotto i dogati di Giovanni
Gradenigoe di Giovanni Dolfin'. Venezia, 1782.
MLLE. X . . . C . . . V. . .
In 1782, a letter written by this lady, Giustina de Wynne, referring to a
visit to Venice of Paul I, Grand Duke, afterward Emperor of Russia, and
his wife, was published under the title of Du sejour des Comptes du Nord
a Venise en janvier mdcclxxxii. If he had not previously done so,
Casanova took this occasion to recall himself to the memory of this lady
to whom he had once been of such great service. And two very polite
letters were exchanged:
"The fine epistle which V. E. has allowed to be printed upon the sojourn
of C. and of the C. du Nord in this city, exposes you, in the position of
an author, to endure the compliments of all those who trouble themselves
to write. But I flatter myself, Madam, that V. E. will not disdain mine.
"The little romance, Madam, a translation from my dull and rigid pen, is
not a gift but a very paltry offering which I dare make to the
superiority of your merit.
"I have found, Madam, in your letter, the simple, flowing style of
gentility, the one which alone a woman of condition who writes to her
friend may use with dignity. Your digressions and your thoughts are
flowers which . . . (forgive an author who pilfers from you the delicious
nonchalance of an amiable writer) or . . . a will-o'-the-wisp which, from
time to time, issues from the work, in spite of the author, and burns the
"I aspire, Madam, to render myself favorable to the deity to which reason
advises me to make homage. Accept then the offering and render happy he
who makes it with your indulgence.
"I have the honor to sign myself, if you will kindly permit me, with very
"I am very sensible, Monsieur, of the distinction which comes to me from
your approbation of my little pamphlet. The interest of the moment, its
references and the exaltation of spirits have gained for it the tolerance
and favorable welcome of the good Venetians. It is to your politeness in
particular, Monsieur, that I believe is due the marked success which my
work has had with you. I thank you for the book which you sent me and I
will risk thanking you in advance for the pleasure it will give me. Be
persuaded of my esteem for yourself and for your talents. And I have the
honor to be, Monsieur.
"Your very humble servant de Wynne de Rosemberg."
Among Casanova's papers at Dux was a page headed "Souvenir," dated the
2nd September 1791, and beginning: "While descending the staircase, the
Prince de Rosemberg told me that Madame de Rosemberg was dead . . . .
This Prince de Rosemberg was the nephew of Giustina."
Giustina died, after a long illness, at Padua, the 21st August 1791, at
the age of fifty-four years and seven months.
LAST DAYS AT VENICE
Toward the end of 1782, doubtless convinced that he could expect nothing
more from the Tribunal, Casanova entered the service of the Marquis
Spinola as a secretary. Some years before, a certain Carletti, an
officer in the service of the court of Turin, had won from the Marquis a
wager of two hundred and fifty sequins. The existence of this debt
seemed to have completely disappeared from the memory of the loser. By
means of the firm promise of a pecuniary recompense, Casanova intervened
to obtain from his patron a written acknowledgment of the debt owing to
Carletti. His effort was successful; but instead of clinking cash,
Carletti contented himself with remitting to the negotiator an assignment
on the amount of the credit. Casanova's anger caused a violent dispute,
in the course of which Carlo Grimani, at whose house the scene took
place, placed him in the wrong and imposed silence.
The irascible Giacomo conceived a quick resentment. To discharge his
bile, he found nothing less than to publish in the course of the month of
August, under the title of: 'Ne amori ne donne ovvero la Stalla d'Angia
repulita', a libel in which Jean Carlo Grimani, Carletti, and other
notable persons were outraged under transparent mythological pseudonyms.
This writing embroiled the author with the entire body of the Venetian
To allow the indignation against him to quiet down, Casanova went to pass
some days at Trieste, then returned to Venice to put his affairs in
order. The idea of recommencing his wandering life alarmed him. "I have
lived fifty-eight years," he wrote, "I could not go on foot with winter
at hand, and when I think of starting on the road to resume my
adventurous life, I laugh at myself in the mirror."
PART THE SECOND
TRAVELS IN 1783
Casanova left Venice in January 1783, and went to Vienna.
On the 16th April Elisabeth Catrolli wrote to him at Vienna:
"Dearest of friends,
"Your letter has given me great pleasure. Be assured, I infinitely
regret your departure. I have but two sincere friends, yourself and
Camerani. I do not hope for more. I could be happy if I could have at
least one of you near me to whom 1 could confide my cruel anxieties.
"To-day, I received from Camerani a letter informing me that, in a former
one, he had sent me a bill of exchange: I did not receive it, and I fear
it has been lost.
"Dear friend, when you reach Paris, clasp him to your heart for me. .In
regard to Chechina [Francesca Buschini] I would say that I have not seen
her since the day I took her your letter. Her mother is the ruin of that
poor girl; let that suffice; I will say no more. . . . "
After leaving Venice, Casanova apparently took an opportunity to pay his
last disrespects to the Tribunal. At least, in May 1783, M. Schlick,
French Secretary at Venice, wrote to Count Vergennes: "Last week there
reached the State Inquisitors an anonymous letter stating that, on the
25th of this month, an earthquake, more terrible than that of Messina,
would raze Venice to the ground. This letter has caused a panic here.
Many patricians have left the capital and others will follow their
example. The author of the anonymous letter . . . is a certain
Casanova, who wrote from Vienna and found means to slip it into the
Ambassador's own mails."
In about four months, Casanova was again on the way to Italy. He paused
for a week at Udine and arrived at Venice on the 16th June. Without
leaving his barge, he paused at his house just long enough to salute
Francesca. He left Mestre on Tuesday the 24th June and on the same day
dined at the house of F. Zanuzzi at Bassano. On the 25th he left Bassano
by post and arrived in the evening at Borgo di Valsugano.
On the 29th, he wrote to Francesca from the Augsbourg. He had stopped at
Innsbruck to attend the theater and was in perfect health. He had
reached Frankfort in forty-eight hours, traveling eighteen posts without
From Aix-la-Chapelle, on the 16th July, he wrote Francesca that he had
met, in that city, Cattina, the wife of Pocchini. Pocchini was sick and
in deep misery. Casanova, recalling all the abominable tricks this rogue
had played on him refused Cattina the assistance she begged for in tears,
laughed in her face, and said: "Farewell, I wish you a pleasant death."
At Mayence, Casanova embarked on the Rhine in company with the Marquis
Durazzo, former Austrian Ambassador at Venice. The voyage was excellent
and in two days he arrived at Cologne, in rugged health, sleeping well
and eating like a wolf.
On the 3oth July he wrote to Francesca from Spa and in this letter
enclosed a good coin. Everything was dear at Spa; his room cost eight
lires a day with everything else in proportion.
On the 6th September he wrote from Antwerp to one of his good friends,
the Abbe Eusebio della Lena, telling him that at Spa an English woman who
had a passion for speaking Latin wished to submit him to trials which he
judged it unnecessary to state precisely. He refused all her proposals,
saying, however, that he would not reveal them to anyone; but that he did
not feel he should refuse also "an order on her banker for twenty-five
On the 9th he wrote to Francesca from Brussels, and on the 12th he sent
her a bill of exchange on the banker Corrado for one hundred and fifty
lires. He said he had been intoxicated "because his reputation had
required it." "This greatly astonishes me," Francesca responded, "for I
have never seen you intoxicated nor even illuminated . . . . I am
very happy that the wine drove away the inflammation in your teeth."
Practically all information of Casanova's movements in 1783 and 1784 is
obtained from Francesca's letters which were in the library at Dux.
In her letters of the 27th June and 11th July, Francesca wrote Casanova
that she had directed the Jew Abraham to sell Casanova's satin habit and
velvet breeches, but could not hope for more than fifty lires because
they were patched. Abraham had observed that at one time the habit had
been placed in pledge with him by Casanova for three sequins.
On the 6th September, she wrote:
"With great pleasure, I reply to the three dear letters which you wrote
me from Spa: the first of the 6th August, from which I learned that your
departure had been delayed for some days to wait for someone who was to
arrive in that city. I was happy that your appetite had returned,
because good cheer is your greatest pleasure . . . .
"In your second letter which you wrote me from Spa on the 16th August, I
noted with sorrow that your affairs were not going as you wished. But
console yourself, dear friend, for happiness will come after trouble; at
least, I wish it so, also, for you yourself can imagine in what need I
find myself, I and all my family . . . . I have no work, because I
have not the courage to ask it of anyone. My mother has not earned even
enough to pay for the gold thread with the little cross which you know I
love. Necessity made me sell it.
"I received your last letter of the 20th August from Spa with another
letter for S. E. the Procurator Morosini. You directed me to take it to
him myself, and on Sunday the last day of August, I did not fail to go
there exactly at three o'clock. At once on my arrival, I spoke to a
servant who admitted me without delay; but, my dear friend, I regret
having to send you an unpleasant message. As soon as I handed him the
letter, and before he even opened it, he said to me, 'I always know
Casanova's affairs which trouble me.' After having read hardly more than
a page, he said: 'I know not what to do!' I told him that, on the 6th of
this month, I was to write you at Paris and that, if he would do me the
honor of giving me his reply, I would put it in my letter. Imagine what
answer he gave me! I was much surprised! He told me that I should wish
you happiness but that he would not write to you again. He said no more.
I kissed his hands and left. He did not give me even a sou. That is all
he said to me . . . .
"S. E. Pietro Zaguri sent to me to ask if I knew where you were, because
he had written two letters to Spa and had received no reply . . . ."
On the night of the 18th or 19th September 1783, Casanova arrived at
On the 30th he wrote Francesca that he had been well received by his
sister-in-law and by his brother, Francesco Casanova, the painter.
Nearly all his friends had departed for the other world, and he would now
have to make new ones, which would be difficult as he was no longer
pleasing to the women.
On the 14th October he wrote again, saying that he was in good health and
that Paris was a paradise which made him feel twenty years old. Four
letters followed; in the first, dated from Paris on S. Martin's Day, he
told Francesco not to reply for he did not know whether he would prolong
his visit nor where he might go. Finding no fortune in Paris, he said he
would go and search elsewhere. On the 23rd, he sent one hundred and
fifty lires; "a true blessing," to the poor girl who was always short of
Between times, Casanova passed eight days at Fontainebleau, where he met
"a charming young man of twenty-five," the son of "the young and lovely
O'Morphi" who indirectly owed to him her position, in 1752, as the
mistress of Louis XV. "I wrote my name on his tablets and begged him to
present my compliments to his mother."
He also met, in the same place, his own son by Mme. Dubois, his former
housekeeper at Soleure who had married the good M. Lebel. "We shall hear
of the young gentleman in twenty-one years at Fontainebleau."
"When I paid my third visit to Paris, with the intention of ending my
days in that capital, I reckoned on the friendship of M. d'Alembert, but
he died, like, Fontenelle, a fortnight after my arrival, toward the end
It is interesting to know that, at this time, Casanova met his famous
contemporary, Benjamin Franklin. "A few days after the death of the
illustrious d'Alembert," Casanova assisted, at the old Louvre, in a
session of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. "Seated
beside the learned Franklin, I was a little surprised to hear Condorcet
ask him if he believed that one could give various directions to an air
balloon. This was the response: 'The matter is still in its infancy, so
we must wait.' I was surprised. It is not believable that the great
philosopher could ignore the fact that it would be impossible to give the
machine any other direction than that governed by the air which fills it,
but these people 'nil tam verentur, quam ne dubitare aliqua de re
On the 13th November, Casanova left Paris in company with his brother,
Francesco, whose wife did not accompany him. "His new wife drove him
away from Paris."
"Now [1797 or 1798] I feel that I have seen Paris and France for the last
time. That popular effervescence [the French Revolution] has disgusted
me and I am too old to hope to see the end of it."
On the 29th November, Casanova wrote from Frankfort that a drunken
postillon had upset him and in the fall he had dislocated his left
shoulder, but that a good bone-setter had restored it to place. On the
1st December he wrote that he was healed, having taken medicine and
having been blooded. He promised to send Francesca eight sequins to pay
her rent. He reached Vienna about the 7th of December and on the 15th
sent Francescd a bill of exchange for eight sequins and two lires.
On the last day of 1783, Francesca wrote to him at Vienna:
"I see by your good letter that you will go to Dresden and then to Berlin
and that you will return to Vienna the 10th January . . . .
I am astonished, my dear friend, at the great journeys you make in this
cold weather, but, still, you are a great man, big-hearted, full of
spirit and courage; you travel in this terrible cold as though it were
nothing . . . ."
On the 9th January, Casanova wrote from Dessau to his brother Giovanni,
proposing to make peace with him, but without results. On the 27th, he
was at Prague. By the 16th February, he was again in Vienna, after a
trip lasting sixty-two days. His health was perfect, and he had gained
flesh due, as he wrote Francesca, to his contented mind which was no
In February, he entered the service of M. Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador,
"to write dispatches."
On the 10th March, Francesca wrote:
"Dearest of Friends, I reply at once to your good letter of the 28th
February which I received Sunday . . . . I thank you for your
kindness which makes you say that you love me and that when you have
money you will send me some . . . but that at the moment you are dry
as a salamander. I do not know what sort of animal that is. But as for
me I am certainly dry of money and I am consumed with the hope of having
some . . . . I see that you were amused at the Carnival and that you
were four times at the masked ball, where there were two hundred women,
and that you danced minuets and quadrilles to the great astonishment of
the ambassador Foscarini who told everyone that you were sixty years old,
although in reality you have not yet reached your sixtieth year. You
might well laugh at that and say that he must be blind to have such an
"I see that you assisted, with your brother, at a grand dinner at the
Ambassador's . . . .
"You say that you have read my letters to your brother and that he
salutes me. Make him my best compliments and thank him. You ask me to
advise you whether, if he should happen to return to Venice with you, he
could lodge with you in your house. Tell him yes, because the chickens
are always in the loft and make no dirt; and, as for the dogs, one
watches to see that they do not make dirt. The furniture of the
apartment is already in place; it lacks only a wardrobe and the little
bed which you bought for your nephew and the mirror; as for the rest,
everything is as you left it. . . ."
It is possible that, at the "grand dinner," Casanova was presented to
Count Waldstein, without whose kindness to Casanova the Memoirs probably
would never have been written. The Lord of Dux, Joseph Charles Emmanuel
Waldstein-Wartenberg, Chamberlain to Her Imperial Majesty, descendant of
the great Wallenstein, was the elder of the eleven children of Emmanuel
Philibert, Count Waldstein, and Maria Theresa, Princess Liechtenstein.
Very egotistic and willful in his youth, careless of his affairs, and an
imprudent gambler, at thirty years of age he had not yet settled down.
His mother was disconsolated that her son could not separate himself from
occupations "so little suited to his spirit and his birth:"
On the 13th March 1784, Count Lamberg wrote Casanova: "I know M. le C.
de Waldstein through having heard him praised by judges worthy of
appreciating the transcendent qualities of more than one kind peculiar to
the Count. I congratulate you on having such a Maecenas, and I
congratulate him in his turn on having chosen such a man as yourself."
Which last remark certainly foreshadows the library at Dux.
Later, on the lath March, 1785, Zaguri wrote: "In two months at the
latest, all will be settled. I am very happy." Referring further, it is
conjectured, to Casanova's hopes of placing himself with the Count.
LETTERS FROM FRANCESCA
20th March 1784. "I see that you will print one of your books; you say
that you will send me two hundred copies which I can sell at thirty sous
each; that you will tell Zaguri and that he will advise those who wish
copies to apply to me . . ."
This book was the Lettre historico-critique sur un fait connu dependant
d'une cause peu connue, adressee au duc de * * *, 1784.
3rd April 1784. "I see with pleasure that you have gone to amuse
yourself in company with two ladies and that you have traveled five posts
to see the Emperor [Joseph II] . . . . You say that your fortune
consists of one sequin . . . . I hope that you obtained permission to
print your book, that you will send me the two hundred copies, and that I
may be able to sell them. . . ."
14th April 1784. "You say that a man without money is the image of
death, that he is a very wretched animal. I learn with regret that I am
unlikely to see you at the approaching Festival of the Ascension . . .
that you hope to see me once more before dying . . . . You make me
laugh, telling me that at Vienna a balloon was made which arose in the
air with six persons and that it might be that you would go up also."
28th April 1784. "I see, to my lively regret, that you have been in bed
with your usual ailment [hemorrhoids]. But I am pleased to know that you
are better. You certainly should go to the baths . . . . I have been
discouraged in seeing that you have not come to Venice because you have
no money .... P. S. Just at this moment I have received a good letter,
enclosing a bill of exchange, which I will go and have paid . . . ."
5th May 1784. "I went to the house of M. Francesco Manenti, at
S. Polo di Campo, with my bill of exchange, and he gave me at once
eighteen pieces of ten lires each . . . . I figure that you made fun
of me saying seriously that you will go up in a balloon and that, if the
wind is favorable, you will go in the air to Trieste and then from
Trieste to Venice."
19th May 1784. "I see, to my great regret, that you are in poor health
and still short of money .... You say that you need twenty sequins and
that you have only twenty trari . . . . I hope that your book is
printed. . . ."
29th May 1784. "I note with pleasure that you are going to take the
baths; but I regret that this treatment enfeebles and depresses you. It
reassures me that you do not fail in your appetite nor your sleep....
I hope I will not hear you say again that you are disgusted with
everything, and no longer in love with life . . . . I see that for
you, at this moment, fortune sleeps . . . . I am not surprised that
everything is so dear in the city where you are, for at Venice also one
pays dearly and everything is priced beyond reach."
Zaguri wrote Casanova the 12th May, that he had met Francesca in the
Mongolfieri casino. And on the 2nd June Casanova, doubtless feeling his
helplessness in the matter of money, and the insufficiency of his
occasional remittances, and suspicious of Francesca's loyalty, wrote her
a letter of renunciation. Then came her news of the sale of his books;
and eighteen months passed before he wrote to her again.
On the 12th June 1784, Francesca replied: "I could not expect to convey
to you, nor could you figure, the sorrow that tries me in seeing that you
will not occupy yourself any more with me . . . . I hid from you that
I had been with that woman who lived with us, with her companion, the
cashier of the Academie des Mongolfceristes. Although I went to this
Academy with prudence and dignity, I did not want to write you for fear
you would scold me. That is the only reason, and hereafter you may be
certain of my sincerity and frankness. . . . I beg you to forgive me
this time, if I write you something I have never written for fear that
you would be angry with me because I had not told you. Know then that
four months ago, your books which were on the mezzanine were sold to a
library for the sum of fifty lires, when we were in urgent need. It was
my mother who did it. . . ."
26th June 1784. ". . . Mme. Zenobia [de Monti] has asked me if I
would enjoy her company. Certain that you would consent I have allowed
her to come and live with me. She has sympathy for me and has always
7th July 1784. "Your silence greatly disturbs me! To receive no more of
your letters! By good post I have sent you three letters, with this one,
and you have not replied to any of them. Certainly, you have reason for
being offended at me, because I hid from you something which you learned
from another . . . . But you might have seen, from my last letter,
that I have written you all the truth about my fault and that I have
asked your pardon for not writing it before.... Without you and your
help, God knows what will become of us.... For the rent of your chamber
Mme. Zenobia will give us eight lires a month and five lires for
preparing her meals. But what can one do with thirteen lires! . . .
I am afflicted and mortified . . . . Do not abandon me."
LAST DAYS AT VIENNA
In 1785, at Vienna, Casanova ran across Costa, his former secretary who,
in 1761, had fled from him taking "diamonds, watches, snuffbox, linen,
rich suits and a hundred louis." "In 1785, I found this runagate at
Vienna. He was then Count Erdich's man, and when we come to that period,
the reader shall hear what I did."
Casanova did not reach this period, in writing his Memoirs, but an
account of this meeting is given by Da Ponte, who was present at it, in
his Memoirs. Costa had met with many misfortunes, as he told Casanova,
and had himself been defrauded. Casanova threatened to have him hanged,
but according to Da Ponte, was dissuaded from this by counter accusations
made by Costa.
Da Ponte's narration of the incident is brilliant and amusing, in spite
of our feeling that it is maliciously exaggerated: "Strolling one morning
in the Graben with Casanova, I suddenly saw him knit his brows, squawk,
grind his teeth, twist himself, raise his hands skyward, and, snatching
himself away from me, throw himself on a man whom I seemed to know,
shouting with a very loud voice: 'Murderer, I have caught thee.'
A crowd having gathered as a result of this strange act and yell, I
approached them with some disgust; nevertheless, I caught Casanova's hand
and almost by force I separated him from the fray. He then told me the
story, with desperate motions and gestures, and said that his antagonist
was Gioachino Costa, by whom he had been betrayed. This Gioachino Costa,
although he had been forced to become a servant by his vices and bad
practices, and was at that very time servant to a Viennese gentleman, was
more or less of a poet. He was, in fact, one of those who had honored me
with their satire, when the Emperor Joseph selected me as poet of his
theater. Costa entered a cafe, and while I continued to walk with
Casanova, wrote and send him by a messenger, the following verses:
"'Casanova, make no outcry;
You stole, indeed, as well as I;
You were the one who first taught me;
Your art I mastered thoroughly.
Silence your wisest course will be.'
"These verses had the desired effect. After a brief silence, Casanova
laughed and then said softly in my ear : 'The rogue is right.' He went
into the cafe and motioned to Costa to come out; they began to walk
together calmly, as if nothing had happened, and they parted shaking
hands repeatedly and seemingly calm and friendly. Casanova returned to
me with a cameo on his little finger, which by a strange coincidence,
represented Mercury, the god-protector of thieves. This was his greatest
valuable, and it was all that was left of the immense booty, but
represented the character of the two restored friends, perfectly."
Da Ponte precedes this account with a libellous narrative of Casanova's
relations with the Marquise d'Urfe, even stating that Casanova stole from
her the jewels stolen in turn by Costa, but, as M. Maynial remarks, we
may attribute this perverted account "solely to the rancour and antipathy
of the narrator." It is more likely that Casanova frightened Costa
almost out of his wits, was grimly amused at his misfortunes, and let him
go, since there was no remedy to Casanova's benefit, for his former
rascality. Casanova's own brief, anticipatory account is given in his
In 1797, correcting and revising his Memoirs, Casanova wrote: "Twelve
years ago, if it had not been for my guardian angel, I would have
foolishly married, at Vienna, a young, thoughtless girl, with whom I had
fallen in love." In which connection, his remark is interesting: "I have
loved women even to madness, but I have always loved liberty better; and
whenever I have been in danger of losing it, fate has come to my rescue."
While an identification of the "young, thoughtless girl" has been
impossible, M. Rava believes her to be "C. M.," the subject of a poem
found at Dux, written in duplicate, in Italian and French, and headed
"Giacomo Casanova, in love, to C. M."
"When, Catton, to your sight is shown the love
Which all my tenderest caresses prove,
Feeling all pleasure's sharpest joys and fears,
Burning one moment, shivering the next,
Caressing you while showering you with tears,
Giving each charm a thousand eager kisses,
Wishing to touch at once a thousand blisses
And, at the ones beyond my power, vexed,
Abandoned in a furious desire,
Leaving these charms for other charms that fire,
Possessing all and yet desiring
Until, destroyed by excesses of pleasure,
Finding no words of love nor anything
To express my fires overflowing measure
Than deepening sighs and obscure murmuring:
Ah! Then you think to read my inmost heart
To find the love that can these signs impart
....Be not deceived. These transports, amorous cries,
These kisses, tears, desires and heavy sighs,
Of all the fire which devours me
Could less than even the lightest tokens be."
Evidently this same girl is the authoress of the two following letters
written by "Caton M . . . ." to Casanova in 1786.
12th April 1786. "You will infinitely oblige me if you will tell me to
whom you wrote such pretty things about me; apparently it is the Abbe Da
Ponte; but I would go to his house and, either he would prove that you
had written it or I would have the honor of telling him that he is the
most infamous traducer in the world. I think that the lovely picture
which you make of my future has not as much excuse as you may think, and,
in spite of your science, you deceive yourself.... But just now I will
inform you of all my wooers and you can judge for yourself by this
whether I deserve all the reproaches you made me in your last letter. It
is two years since I came to know the Count de K . . . .; I could have
loved him but I was too honest to be willing to satisfy his desires . .
. . Some months afterward, I came to know the Count de M . . .; he was
not so handsome as K . . . . but he possessed every possible art for
seducing a girl; I did everything for him, but I never loved him as much
as his friend. In fine, to tell you all my giddinesses in a few words, I
set everything right again with K . . . . and got myself into a
quarrel with M . . . ., then I left K. . . . and returned to M .
. . ., but at the house of the latter there was always an officer who
pleased me more than both the two others and who sometimes conducted me
to the house; then we found ourselves at the house of a friend, and it is
of this same officer that I am ill. So, my dear friend, that is all. I
do not seek to justify my past conduct; on the contrary, I know well that
I have acted badly.... I am much afflicted at being the cause of your
remaining away from Venice during the Carnival . . . . I hope to see
you soon again and am, with much love,
"Monsieur, your sincere
"Caton M. . . ."
16th July 1786. "I have spoken with the Abbe Da Ponte. He invited me to
come to his house because, he said, he had something to tell me for you.
I went there, but was received so coldly that I am resolved not to go
there again. Also, Mlle. Nanette affected an air of reserve and took at
on herself to read me lessons on what she was pleased to call my
libertinism . . . . I beg that you will write nothing more about me
to these two very dangerous personages.... Just now I will tell you of a
little trick which I played on you, which without doubt deserves some
punishment. The young, little Kasper, whom you formerly loved, came to
ask me for the address of her dear Monsieur de Casanova, so that she
could write a very tender letter full of recollections. I had too much
politeness to wish to refuse a pretty girl, who was once the favorite of
my lover, so just a request, so I gave her the address she wished; but I
addressed the letter to a city far from you. Is it not, my dear friend,
that you would like well to know the name of the city, so that you could
secure the letter by posts. But you can depend on my word that you will
not know it until you have written me a very long letter begging me very
humbly to indicate the place where the divine letter of the adorable
object of your vows has gone. You might well make this sacrifice for a
girl in whom the Emperor [Joseph II] interests himself, for it is known
that, since your departure from Vienna, it is he who is teaching her
French and music; and apparently he takes the trouble of instructing her
himself, for she often goes to his house to thank him for his kindnesses
to her, but I know not in what way she expresses herself.
"Farewell, my dear friend. Think sometimes of me and believe that I am
your sincere friend."
On the 23rd April 1785, the ambassador Foscarini died, depriving Casanova
of a protector, probably leaving him without much money, and not in the
best of health. He applied for the position of secretary to Count
Fabris, his former friend, whose name had been changed from Tognolo, but
without success. Casanova then determined to go to Berlin in the hope of
a place in the Academy. On the 30th July he arrived at Bruen in Moravia,
where his friend Maximilian-Joseph, Count Lamberg gave him, among other
letters of recommendation, a letter addressed to Jean-Ferdinand Opiz,
Inspector of Finances and Banks at Czaslau, in which he wrote:
"A celebrated man, M. Casanova, will deliver to you, my dear friend, the
visiting card with which he is charged for Mme. Opiz and yourself.
Knowing this amiable and remarkable man, will mark an epoch in your life,
be polite and friendly to him, 'quod ipsi facies in mei memoriam
faciatis'. Keep yourself well, write to me, and if you can direct him
to some honest man at Carlsbad, fail not to do so. . . ."
On the 15th August 1785, M. Opiz wrote Count Lamberg about Casanova's
"Your letter of the 30th, including your cards for my wife and myself,
was delivered the first of this month by M. Casanova. He was very
anxious to meet the Princess Lubomirski again at Carlsbad. But as
something about his carriage was broken, he was obliged to stop in
Czaslau for two hours which he passed in my company. He has left Czaslau
with the promise of giving me a day on his return. I am already
delighted. Even in the short space of time in which I enjoyed his
company, I found in him a man worthy of our highest consideration and of
our love, a benevolent philosopher whose homeland is the great expanse of
our planet (and not Venice alone) and who values only the men in the
kings . . . . I know absolutely no one at Carlsbad, so I sincerely
regret being unable to recommend him to anyone there, according to your
desire. He did not wish, on account of his haste, to pause even at
Prague and, consequently, to deliver, at this time, your letter to Prince
PART THE THIRD
THE CASTLE AT DUX
It is uncertain how long Casanova remained at Carlsbad. While there,
however, he met again the Polish nobleman Zawoiski, with whom he had
gambled in Venice in 1746. "As to Zawoiski, I did not tell him the story
until I met him in Carlsbad old and deaf, forty years later." He did not
return to Czaslau, but in September 1785 he was at Teplitz where he found
Count Waldstein whom he accompanied to his castle at Dux.
From this time onward he remained almost constantly at the castle where
he was placed in charge of the Count's library and given a pension of one
thousand florins annually.
Describing his visit to the castle in 1899, Arthur Symons writes: "I had
the sensation of an enormous building: all Bohemian castles are big, but
this one was like a royal palace. Set there in the midst of the town,
after the Bohemian fashion, it opens at the back upon great gardens, as
if it were in the midst of the country. I walked through room after
room, corridor after corridor; everywhere there were pictures, everywhere
portraits of Wallenstein, and battle scenes in which he led on his
troops. The library, which was formed, or at least arranged, by
Casanova, and which remains as he left it, contains some twenty-five
thousand volumes, some of them of considerable value . . . . The
library forms part of the Museum, which occupies a ground-floor wing of
the castle. The first room is an armoury, in which all kinds of 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 full of
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 of a bookcase, in the corner of one of the
windows, hangs a fine engraved portrait of Casanova."
In this elaborate setting, Casanova found the refuge he so sadly needed
for his last years. The evil days of Venice and Vienna, and the problems
and makeshifts of mere existence, were left behind. And for this refuge
he paid the world with his Memoirs.
LETTERS FROM FRANCESCA
In 1786, Casanova renewed his correspondence with Francesca, who wrote:
1st July 1786. "After a silence of a year and a half, I received from
you yesterday a good letter which has consoled me in informing me that
you are in perfect health. But, on the other hand, I was much pained to
see that in your letter you did not call me Friend, but Madame . . . .
You have reason to chide me and to reproach me for having rented a house
without surety or means of paying the rent. As to the advice you give me
that if some honest person would pay me my rent, or at least a part of
it, I should have no scruples about taking it because a little more, or a
little less, would be of little importance . . . . I declare to you
that I have been disconsolated at receiving from you such a reproach
which is absolutely unjustified . . . . You tell me that you have
near you a young girl who merits all your solicitations and your love,
she and her family of six persons who adore you and give you every
attention; that she costs you all you have, so that you cannot send me
even a sou . . . . I am pained to hear you say that you will never
return to Venice, and yet I hope to see you again. . . ."
The "young girl" referred to in Francesca's letter was Anna-Dorothea
Kleer, daughter of the porter of the castle. This young girl became
pregnant in 1786 and Casanova was accused of seducing her. The guilty
one, however, was a painter named Schottner who married the unfortunate
girl in January 1787.
9th August 1786.
"My only true friend,
"It is two days since I received your dear letter; I was very happy to
see your writing .... You have reason to mortify me and reproach me in
recalling all the troubles I caused you, and especially that which you
call treachery, the sale of your books, of which in part I was not guilty
. . . . Forgive me, my dear friend, me and my foolish mother who,
despite all my objections, absolutely insisted on selling them.
Regarding that which you write me that you know that my mother, last
year, told about that you had been my ruin, this may unhappily be true,
since you already know the evil thoughts of my mother, who even says that
you are still at Venice . . . . When have I not been always sincere
with you, and when have I not at least listened to your good advices and
offers? I am in a desperate situation, abandoned by all, almost in the
streets, almost about to be homeless . . . . Where are all the
pleasures which formerly you procured me? Where are the theatres, the
comedies which we once saw together? . . ."
5th January 1787.
"The first of the year I received your dear letter with the bill of
exchange for one hundred and twenty-five lires which you sent me so
generously . . . . You say you have forgiven me for all the troubles
I have caused you. Forget all, then, and do not accuse me any more of
things which are but too true and of which the remembrance alone cuts me
to the heart . . . . You write me that you have been forgotten by a
person of whom you were very fond, that she is married and that you have
not seen her for more than a month."
The "person" referred to was Anna Kleer.
5th October 1787.
. . "Until the other day, I had been waiting for your arrival, hoping
that you would come to assist at the entry of the Procurator Memmo....
I see by your good letter that you were not able to get away, since your
presence is nearly always necessary in the great castle . . . .
I learn of the visit you have received from the Emperor who wished to see
your library of forty-thousand volumes! . . . You say that you detest
the chase and that you are unhappy when politeness obliges you to go . .
. . I am pleased to know that you are in good health, that you are
stout and that you have a good appetite and sleep well . . . . I hope
that the printing of your book [Histoire de ma fuite] is going according
to your wishes. If you go to Dresden for the marriage of your niece,
enjoy yourself for me . . . . Forget not to write to me; this gives
me such pleasure! Remember me. Full of confidence in your friendship, I
am, and always will be, your true and sincere friend,
CORRESPONDENCE AND ACTIVITIES
In 1787, a book was published under the title of 'Dreissig Brief uber
Galizien by Traunpaur', which included this passage: "The most famous
adventurers of two sorts (there are two, in fact: honest adventurers and
adventurers of doubtful reputation) have appeared on the scene of the
kingdom of Poland. The best known on the shores of the Vistula are: the
miraculous Cagliostro: Boisson de Quency, grand charlatan, soldier of
fortune, decorated with many orders, member of numerous Academies: the
Venetian Casanova of Saint-Gall, a true savant, who fought a duel with
Count Branicki: the Baron de Poellnitz . . . the lucky Count Tomatis,
who knew so well how to correct fortune, and many others."
In June 1789, Casanova received a letter from Teresa Boisson de Quency,
the wife of the adventurer above referred to:
"Much honored Monsieur Giacomo:
"For a long time I have felt a very particular desire to evidence to you
the estimation due your spirit and your eminent qualities: the superb
sonnet augmented my wish. But the inconveniences of childbirth and the
cares required by a little girl whom I adore, made me defer this
pleasure. During my husband's absence, your last and much honored letter
came to my hands. Your amiable compliments to me, engage me to take the
pen to give you renewed assurance that you have in me a sincere admirer
of your great talent . . . . When I wish to point out a person who
writes and thinks with excellence, I name Monsieur Casanova . . . ."
In 1793, Teresa de Quency wished to return to Venice at which time Zaguri
wrote Casanova: "The Bassani has received letters from her husband which
tell her nothing more than that he is alive."
Casanova passed the months of May, June and July 1788 at Prague,
supervising the printing of the Histoire de ma fuite.
"I remember laughing very heartily at Prague, six years ago, on learning
that some thin-skinned ladies, on reading my flight from The Leads, which
was published at that date, took great offense at the above account,
which they thought I should have done well to leave out."
In May he was troubled with an attack of the grippe. In October, he was
in Dresden, apparently with his brother. Around this time "The
Magdalene," a painting by Correggio, was stolen from the Museum of the
On the 30th October 1788, Casanova wrote to the Prince Belozelski,
Russian Minister to the Court of Dresden: "Tuesday morning, after having
embraced my dear brother, I got into a carriage to return here. At the
barrier on the outskirts of Dresden, I was obliged to descend, and six
men carried the two chests of my carriage, my two night-bags and my
capelire into a little chamber on the ground level, demanded my keys, and
examined everything . . . . The youngest of these infamous executors
of such an order told me they were searching for 'The Magdalene! . . .
The oldest had the impudence to put his hands on my waistcoat . . . .
At last they let me go.
"This, my prince, delayed me so that I could not reach Petervalden by
daylight. I stopped at an evil tavern where, dying of famine and rage, I
ate everything I saw; and, wishing to drink and not liking beer, I gulped
down some beverage which my host told me was good and which did not seem
unpleasant. He told me that it was Pilnitz Moste. This beverage aroused
a rebellion in my guts. I passed the night tormented by a continual
diarrhoea. I arrived here the day before yesterday (the 28th), where I
found an unpleasant duty awaiting me. Two months ago, I brought a woman
here to cook, needing her while the Count is away; as soon as she
arrived, I gave her a room and I went to Leipzig. On returning here, I
found three servants in the hands of surgeons and all three blame my cook
for putting them in such a state. The Count's courier had already told
me, at Leipzig, that she had crippled him. Yesterday the Count arrived
and would do nothing but laugh, but I have sent her back and exhorted her
to imitate the Magdalene. The amusing part is that she is old, ugly and
In 1789, 1791 and 1792, Casanova received three letters from Maddalena
Allegranti, the niece of J. B. Allegranti the innkeeper with whom
Casanova lodged at Florence in 1771. "This young person, still a child,
was so pretty, so gracious, with such spirit and such charms, that she
incessantly distracted me. Sometimes she would come into my chamber to
wish me good-morning . . . . Her appearance, her grace, the sound of
her voice . . . were more than I could resist; and, fearing the
seduction would excuse mine, I could find no other expedient than to take
flight . . . . Some years later, Maddalena became a celebrated
At this period of Casanova's life, we hear again of the hussy who so
upset Casanova during his visit to London that he was actually on the
point of committing suicide through sheer desperation. On the 20th
September 1789, he wrote to the Princess Clari, sister of the Prince de
Ligne: "I am struck by a woman at first sight, she completely ravishes
me, and I am perhaps lost, for she may be a Charpillon."
There were, among the papers at Dux, two letters from Marianne
Charpillon, and a manuscript outlining the story of Casanova's relations
with her and her family, as detailed in the Memoirs: With the story in
mind, the letters from this girl, "the mistress, now of one, now of
another," are of interest:
"I know not, Monsieur, whether you forgot the engagement Saturday last;
as for me, I remember that you consented to give us the pleasure of
having you at dinner to-day, Monday, the 12th of the month. I would
greatly like to know whether your ill-humor has left you; this would
please me. Farewell, in awaiting the honor of seeing you.
"Marianne de Charpillon."
"As I have a part in all which concerns you, I am greatly put out to know
of the new illness which incommodes you; I hope that this will be so
trifling that we will have the pleasure of seeing you well and at our
house, to-day or to-morrow.
"And, in truth, the gift which you sent me is so pretty that I know not
how to express to you the pleasure it has given me and how much I value
it; and I cannot see why you must always provoke me by telling me that it
is my fault that you are filled with bile, while I am as innocent as a
new-born babe and would wish you so gentle and patient that your blood
would become a true clarified syrup; this will come to you if you follow
my advice. I am, Monsieur,
"Your very humble servant,
"Wednesday at six o'clock"
On the 8th April, 1790, Zaguri wrote in reference to vertigo of which
Casanova complained: "Have you tried riding horseback? Do you not think
that is an excellent preservative? I tried it this last summer and I
find myself very well"
In 1790, Casanova had a conversation with the Emperor Joseph II at
Luxemburg, on the subject of purchased nobility, which he reports in the
This same year, attending the coronation of Leopold at Prague, Casanova
met his grandson (and, probably, as he himself believed, his own son),
the son of Leonilda, who was the daughter of Casanova and Donna Lucrezia,
and who was married to the Marquis C . . . . In 1792, Leonilda wrote,
inviting Casanova to "spend the remainder of my days with her."
In February 1791, Casanova wrote to Countess Lamberg: "I have in my
capitularies more than four hundred sentences which pass for aphorisms
and which include all the tricks which place one word for another. One
can read in Livy that Hannibal overcame the Alps by means of vinegar. No
elephant ever uttered such a stupidity. Livy? Not at all. Livy was not
a beast; it is you who are, foolish instructor of credulous youth! Livy
did not say aceto which means vinegar, but aceta which means axe"
In April 1791, Casanova wrote to Carlo Grimani at Venice, stating that he
felt he had committed a great fault in publishing his libel, 'Ne amori ne
donne', and very humbly begging his pardon. Also that his Memoirs would
be composed of six volumes in octavo with a seventh supplementary volume
In June, Casanova composed for the theater of Princess Clari, at Teplitz,
a piece entitled: 'Le Polemoscope ou la Calomnie demasquee par la
presence d'esprit, tragicomedie en trois actes'. The manuscript was
preserved at Dux, together with another form of the same, having the sub-
title of 'La Lorgnette Menteuse ou la Calomnie demasquee'. It may be
assumed that the staging of this piece was an occasion of pleasant
activity for Casanova.
In January 1792, during Count Waldstein's absence in London or Paris,
Casanova was embroiled with M. Faulkircher, maitre d'hotel, over the
unpleasant matter indicated in two of Casanova's letters to this
"Your rascally Vidierol . . . tore my portrait out of one of my books,
scrawled my name on it, with the epithet which you taught him and then
stuck it on the door of the privy ....
"Determined to make sure of the punishment of your infamous valet, and
wishing at the same time to give proof of my respect for Count Waldstein,
not forgetting that, as a last resort, I have the right to invade his
jurisdiction, I took an advocate, wrote my complaint and had it
translated into German . . . . Having heard of this at Teplitz, and
having known that I would not save your name, you came to my chamber to
beg me to write whatever I wished but not to name you because it would
place you wrong before the War Council and expose you to the loss of your
pension . . . . I have torn up my first complaint and have written a
second in Latin, which an advocate of Bilin has translated for me and
which I have deposited at the office of the judiciary at Dux...."
Following this matter, Casanova attended the Carnival at Oberleutensdorf,
and left at Dux a manuscript headed 'Passe temps de Jacques Casanova de
Seingalt pour le carnaval de l'an 1792 dans le bourg d'Oberleutensdorf'.
While in that city, meditating on the Faulkircher incident, he wrote also
'Les quinze pardons, monologue nocturne du bibliothecaire', also
preserved in manuscript at Dux, in which we read:
"Gerron, having served twenty years as a simple soldier, acquired a great
knowledge of military discipline. This man was not yet seventy years
old. He had come to believe, partly from practice, partly from theory,
that twenty blows with a baton on the rump are not dishonoring. When the
honest soldier was unfortunate enough to deserve them, he accepted them
with resignation. The pain was sharp, but not lasting; it did not
deprive him of either appetite nor honor . . . . Gerron, becoming a
corporal, had obtained no idea of any kind of sorrow other than that
coming from the blows of a baton on the rump . . . . On this idea, he
thought that the soul of an honest man was no different than a soldier's
breech. If Gerron caused trouble to the spirit of a man of honor, he
thought that this spirit, like his own, had only a rump, and that any
trouble he caused would pass likewise. He deceived himself. The breech
of the spirit of an honest man is different than the breech of the spirit
of a Gerron who rendered compatible the rank of a military officer with
the vile employments of a domestic and the stable-master of some
particular lord. Since Gerron deceived himself, we must pardon him
all his faults . . ." etc.
Casanova complained of the Faulkircher incident to the mother of Count
Waldstein, who wrote: "I pity you, Monsieur, for being obliged to live
among such people and in such evil company, but my son will not forget
that which he owes to himself and I am sure he will give you all the
satisfaction you wish." Also to his friend Zaguri, who wrote, the 16th
March: "I hope that the gout in your hand will not torment you any more
. . . You have told me the story I asked about and which begins: 'Two
months have passed since an officer, who is at Vienna, insulted me!' I
cannot understand whether he who wrote you an insulting letter is at
Vienna or whether he is at Dux. When will the Count return?.... You
should await his return because you would have, among other reasons to
present to him, that of not wishing to have recourse to other
jurisdiction than his.... You say your letters have been intercepted?
Someone has put your portrait in the privy? The devil! It is a miracle
that you have not killed someone. Positively, I am curious to know the
results and I hope that you make no mistakes in this affair which appears
to me very delicate."
In August 1792, or thereabouts, Da Ponte on his way to Dresden, visited
Casanova at Dux, in the hope of collecting an old debt, but gave up this
hope on realizing Casanova's limited resources. In the winter of 1792-3
Da Ponte found himself in great distress in Holland. "Casanova was the
only man to whom I could apply," he writes in his Memoirs. "To better
dispose him, I thought to write him in verse, depicting my troubles and
begging him to send me some money on account of that which he still owed
me. Far from considering my request, he contented himself with replying,
in vulgar prose, by a laconic billet which I transcribe: 'When Cicero
wrote to his friends, he avoided telling them of his affairs.'"
In May 1793, Da Ponte wrote from London: "Count Waldstein has lived a
very obscure life in London, badly lodged, badly dressed, badly served,
always in cabarets, cafes, with porters, with rascals, with . . . we
will leave out the rest. He has the heart of an angel and an excellent
character, but not so good a head as ours."
Toward the end of 1792, Cssanova wrote a letter to Robespierre, which, as
he advises M. Opiz, the 13th January 1793, occupied one hundred and
twenty folio pages. This letter was not to be found at Dux and it may
possibly have been sent, or may have been destroyed by Casanova on the
advice of Abbe O'Kelly. Casanova's feelings were very bitter over the
trial of Louis XVI., and in his letters to M. Opiz he complained bitterly
of the Jacobins and predicted the ruin of France. Certainly, to
Casanova, the French Revolution represented the complete overthrow of
many of his cherished illusions.
On the 1st August 1793, Wilhelmina Rietz, Countess Lichtenau (called the
Pompadour of Frederic-William II., King of Prussia) wrote to the
librarian at Dux:
"It seems impossible to know where Count Valstaine [Waldstein] is
staying, whether he is in Europe, Africa, America, or possibly the
Megamiques. If he is there, you are the only one who could insure his
receiving the enclosed letter.
"For my part, I have not yet had time to read their history, but the
first reading I do will assuredly be that.
"Mademoiselle Chappuis has the honor of recalling herself to your memory,
and I have that of being your very humble servant,
The allusions to a "history" and to the 'Megamiques' in this letter refer
to Casanova's romance, 'Icosameron'.
About this time, Count Waldstein returned to Dux after having been, at
Paris, according to Da Ponte, concerned in planning the flight of Louis
XVI., and in attempting to save the Princess Lamballe. On the 17th
August, Casanova replied to the above letter:
"I handed the Count your letter two minutes after having received it,
finding him easily. I told him that he should respond at once, for the
post was ready to go; but, as he begged to wait for the following
ordinary, I did not insist. The day before yesterday, he begged me to
wait again, but he did not find me so complaisant. I respond to you,
Madame, for his carelessness in replying to letters is extreme; he is so
shameful that he is in despair when he is obliged to it. Although he may
not respond, be sure of seeing him at your house at Berlin after the
Leipzig Fair, with a hundred bad excuses which you will laugh at and
pretend to believe good ones . . . . This last month, my wish to see
Berlin again has become immeasurable, and I will do my best to have Count
Waldstein take me there in the month of October or at least to permit me
to go . . . . You have given me an idea of Berlin far different than
that the city left with me when I passed four months there twenty-nine
years ago . . . . If my 'Icosameron' interests you, I offer you its
Spirit. I wrote it here two years ago and I would not have published it
if I had not dared hope that the Theological Censor would permit it. At
Berlin no one raised the least difficulty . . . . If circumstances do
not permit me to pay you my respects at Berlin, I hope for the happiness
of seeing you here next year . . . ."
Sometime after this and following his quarrel with M. Opiz, Casanova
evidently passed through a period of depression, as indicated by a
manuscript at Dux, headed "Short reflection of a philosopher who finds
himself thinking of procuring his own death," and dated "the 13th
December 1793, the day dedicated to S. Lucie, remarkable in my too long
"Life is a burden to me. What is the metaphysical being who prevents me
from slaying myself? It is Nature. What is the other being who enjoins
me to lighten the burdens of that life which brings me only feeble
pleasures and heavy pains? It is Reason. Nature is a coward which,
demanding only conservation, orders me to sacrifice all to its existence.
Reason is a being which gives me resemblance to God, which treads
instinct under foot and which teaches me to choose the best way after
having well considered the reasons. It demonstrates to me that I am a
man in imposing silence on the Nature which opposes that action which
alone could remedy all my ills.
"Reason convinces me that the power I have of slaying myself is a
privilege given me by God, by which I perceive that I am superior to all
animals created in the world; for there is no animal who can slay itself
nor think of slaying itself, except the scorpion, which poisons itself,
but only when the fire which surrounds it convinces it that it cannot
save itself from being burned. This animal slays itself because it fears
fire more than death. Reason tells me imperiously that I have the right
to slay myself, with the divine oracle of Cen: 'Qui non potest vivere
bene non vivat male.' These eight words have such power that it is
impossible that a man to whom life is a burden could do other than slay
himself on first hearing them."
Certainly, however, Casanova did not deceive himself with these sophisms,
and Nature, who for many years had unquestionably lavished her gifts on
him, had her way.
Over the end of the year, the two mathematicians, Casanova and Opiz, at
the request of Count Waldstein, made a scientific examination of the
reform of the calendar as decreed the 5th October 1793 by the National
In January 1795, Casanova wrote to the Princess Lobkowitz to thank her
for her gift of a little dog. On the 16th the Princess wrote from
"I am enchanted at the charming reception you accorded the dog which I
sent you when I learned of the death of your well-loved greyhound,
knowing that she would nowhere be better cared for than with you,
Monsieur. I hope with all my heart that she has all the qualities which
may, in some fashion, help you to forget the deceased . . . ."
In the autumn of 1795, Casanova left Dux. The Prince de Ligne writes in
his Memoirs: "God directed him to leave Dux. Scarcely believing in more
than his death, which he no longer doubted, he pretended that each thing
he had done was by the direction of God and this was his guide. God
directed him to ask me for letters of recommendation to the Duke of
Weimar, who was my good friend, to the Duchess of Gotha, who did not know
me, and to the Jews of Berlin. And he departed secretly, leaving for
Count Waldstein a letter at once tender, proud, honest and irritating.
Waldstein laughed and said he would return. Casanova waited in ante-
chambers; no one would place him either as governor, librarian or
chamberlain. He said everywhere that the Germans were thorough beasts.
The excellent and very amiable Duke of Weimer welcomed him wonderfully;
but in an instant he became jealous of Goethe and Wieland, who were under
the Duke's protection. He declaimed against them and against the
literature of the country which he did not, and could not, know. At
Berlin, he declaimed against the ignorance, the superstition and the
knavery of the Hebrews to whom I had addressed him, drawing meanwhile,
for the money they claimed of him, bills of exchange on the Count who
laughed, paid, and embraced him when he returned. Casanova laughed,
wept, and told him that God had ordered him to make this trip of six
weeks, to leave without speaking of it, and to return to his chamber at
Dux. Enchanted at seeing us again, he agreeably related to us all the
misfortunes which had tried him and to which his susceptibility gave the
name of humiliations. 'I am proud,' he said, 'because I am nothing'. .
. . Eight days after his return, what new troubles! Everyone had been
served strawberries before him, and none remained for him."
The Prince de Ligne, although he was Casanova's sincere friend and
admirer, gives a rather somber picture of Casanova's life at Dux: "It
must not be imagined that he was satisfied to live quietly in the refuge
provided him through the kindness of Waldstein. That was not within his
nature. Not a day passed without trouble; something was certain to be
wrong with the coffee, the milk, the dish of macaroni, which he required
each day. There were always quarrels in the house. The cook had ruined
his polenta; the coachman had given him a bad driver to bring him to see
me; the dogs had barked all night; there had been more guests than usual
and he had found it necessary to eat at a side table. Some hunting-horn
had tormented his ear with its blasts; the priest had been trying to
convert him; Count Waldstein had not anticipated his morning greeting;
the servant had delayed with his wine; he had not been introduced to some
distinguished personage who had come to see the lance which had pierced
the side of the great Wallenstein; the Count had lent a book without
telling him; a groom had not touched his hat to him; his German speech
had been misunderstood; he had become angry and people had laughed at
Like Count Waldstein, however, the Prince de Ligne made the widest
allowances, understanding the chafing of Casanova's restless spirit.
"Casanova has a mind without an equal, from which each word is
extraordinary and each thought a book."
On the 16th December, he wrote Casanova: "One is never old with your
heart, your genius and your stomach."
Casanova's own comment on his trip away from Dux will be found in the
Memoirs. "Two years ago, I set out for Hamburg, but my good genius made
me return to Dux. What had I to do at Hamburg?"
On the 10th December, Casanova's brother Giovanni [Jean] died. He was
the Director of the Academy of Painting at Dresden. Apparently the two
brothers could not remain friends.
Giovanni left two daughters, Teresa and Augusta, and two sons, Carlo and
Lorenzo. While he was unable to remain friendly with his brother,
Casanova apparently wished to be of assistance to his nieces, who were
not in the best of circumstances, and he exchanged a number of letters
with Teresa after her father's death.
On the occasion of Teresa Casanova's visit to Vienna in 1792, Princess
Clari, oldest sister of the Prince de Ligne, wrote of her: "She is
charming in every way, pretty as love, always amiable; she has had great
success. Prince Kaunitz loves her to the point of madness."
In a letter of the 25th April 1796, Teresa assured her "very amiable and
very dear uncle" that the cautions, which occupied three-fourths of his
letter, were unnecessary; and compared him with his brother Francois, to
the injury of the latter. On the 5th May, Teresa wrote:
"Before thanking you for your charming letter, my very kind uncle, I
should announce the issue of our pension of one hundred and sixty crowns
a year, which is to say, eighty crowns apiece; I am well satisfied for
I did not hope to receive so much." In the same letter, Teresa spoke of
seeing much of a "charming man," Don Antonio, who was no other than the
rascally adventurer Don Antonio della Croce with whom Casanova had been
acquainted since 1753, who assisted Casanova in losing a thousand sequins
at Milan in 1763; who in 1767, at Spa, following financial reverses,
abandoned his pregnant mistress to the charge of Casanova; and who in
August 1795, wrote to Casanova: "Your letter gave me great pleasure as
the sweet souvenir of our old friendship, unique and faithful over a
period of fifty years."
It is probable that, at this time, Casanova visited Dresden and Berlin
also. In his letter "To Leonard Snetlage," he writes: "'That which
proves that revolution should arrive,' a profound thinker said to me in
Berlin, last year, 'is that it has arrived.'"
On the 1st March, 1798, Carlo Angiolini, the son of Maria Maddalena,
Casanova's sister, wrote to Casanova: "This evening, Teresa will marry M.
le Chambellan de Veisnicht [Von Wessenig] whom you know well." This
desirable marriage received the approval of Francesco also. Teresa, as
the Baroness Wessenig, occupied a prominent social position at Dresden.
She died in 1842.
Between the 13th February and the 6th December 1796, Casanova engaged in
a correspondence with Mlle. Henriette de Schuckmann who was visiting at
Bayreuth. This Henriette (unfortunately not the Henriette of the Memoirs
whose "forty letters" to Casanova apparently have not been located), had
visited the library at Dux in the summer of 1786. "I was with the
Chamberlain Freiberg, and I was greatly moved, as much by your
conversation as by your kindness which provided me with a beautiful
edition of Metastasio, elegantly bound in red morocco." Finding herself
at Bayreuth in an enforced idleness and wishing a stimulant, wishing also
to borrow some books, she wrote Casanova, under the auspices of Count
Koenig, a mutual friend, the 13th February 1796, recalling herself to his
memory. Casanova responded to her overtures and five of her letters were
preserved at Dux. On the 28th May Henriette wrote:
"But certainly, my good friend, your letters have given me the greatest
pleasure, and it is with a rising satisfaction that I pore over all you
say to me. I love, I esteem, I cherish, your frankness . . . .
I understand you perfectly and I love to distraction the lively and
energetic manner with which you express yourself."
On the 30th September, she wrote: "You will read to-day, if you please, a
weary letter; for your silence, Monsieur, has given me humors. A promise
is a debt, and in your last letter you promised to write me at least a
dozen pages. I have every right to call you a bad debtor; I could summon
you before a court of justice; but all these acts of vengeance would not
repair the loss which I have endured through my hope and my fruitless
waiting . . . . It is your punishment to read this trivial page;
but although my head is empty, my heart is not so, and it holds for you
a very living friendship."
In March 1797, this Henriette went to Lausanne and in May from there to
her father's home at Mecklenburg.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH JEAN-FERDINAND OPIZ
On the 27th July 1792, Casanova wrote M. Opiz that he had finished the
twelfth volume of his Memoirs, with his age at forty-seven years .
"Our late friend, the worthy Count Max Josef Lamberg," he added, "could
not bear the idea of my burning my Memoirs, and expecting to survive me,
had persuaded me to send him the first four volumes. But now there is no
longer any questions that his good soul has left his organs. Three weeks
ago I wept for his death, all the more so as he would still be living if
he had listened to me. I am, perhaps, the only one who knows the truth.
He who slew him was the surgeon Feuchter at Cremsir, who applied thirty-
six mercurial plasters on a gland in his left groin which was swollen but
not by the pox, as I am sure by the description he gave me of the cause
of the swelling. The mercury mounted to his esophagus and, being able to
swallow neither solids nor fluids, he died the 23rd June of positive
famine . . . . The interest of the bungling surgeon is to say that he
died of the pox. This is not true, I beg, you to give the lie to anyone
you hear saying it. I have before my eyes four hundred and sixty of his
letters over which I weep and which I will burn. I have asked Count
Leopold to burn mine, which he had saved, and I hope that he will please
me by doing it. I have survived all my true friends. 'Tempus abire mihi
est' Horace says to me.
"Returning to my Memoirs . . . I am a detestable man; but I do not
care about having it known, and I do not aspire to the honor of the
detestation of posterity. My work is full of excellent moral
instructions. But to what good, if the charming descriptions of my
offences excite the readers more to action than to repentance?
Furthermore, knowing readers would divine the names of all the women and
of the men which I have masked, whose transgressions are unknown to the
world, my indiscretion would injure them, they would cry out against my
perfidy, even though every word of my history were true . . . . Tell
me yourself whether or not I should burn my work? I am curious to have
On the 6th May 1793, Casanova wrote Opiz: "The letter of recommendation
you ask of me to the professor my brother for your younger son, honors
me; and there is no doubt that, having for you all the estimation your
qualities merit, I should send it to you immediately. But this cannot
be. And here is the reason. My brother is my enemy; he has given me
sure indications of it and it appears that his hate will not cease until
I no longer exist. I hope that he may long survive me and be happy.
This desire is my only apology."
"The epigraph of the little work which I would give to the public,"
Casanova wrote the 23rd August 1793, "is 'In pondere et mensura'. It is
concerned with gravity and measure. I would demonstrate not only that
the course of the stars is irregular but also that it is susceptible only
to approximate measures and that consequently we must join physical and
moral calculations in establishing celestial movements. For I prove that
all fixed axes must have a necessarily irregular movement of oscillation,
from which comes a variation in all the necessary curves of the planets
which compose their eccentricities and their orbits. I demonstrate that
light has neither body nor spirit; I demonstrate that it comes in an
instant from its respective star; I demonstrate the impossibility of many
parallaxes and the uselessness of many others. I criticize not only
Tiko-Brahi, but also Kepler and Newton . . . .
"I wish to send you my manuscript and give you the trouble of publishing
it with my name at Prague or elsewhere . . . . I will sell it to the
printer or to yourself for fifty florins and twenty-five copies on fine
paper when it is printed."
But Opiz replied:
"As the father of a family, I do not feel myself authorized to dispose of
my revenues on the impulse of my fancy or as my heart suggests.... and
no offer of yours could make me a book-seller."
This shows plainly enough that Opiz, for all his interest in Casanova,
had not the qualities of true friendship.
On the 6th September 1793, Casanova wrote:
"I will have my Reveries printed at Dresden, and I will be pleased to
send you a copy. I laughed a little at your fear that I would take
offense because you did not want my manuscript by sending me the
ridiculous sum I named to you. This refusal, my dear friend, did not
offend me. On the contrary it was useful as an aid in knowing character.
Add to this that in making the offer I thought to make you a gift. Fear
nothing from the event. Your system of economy will never interfere with
either my proceedings or my doctrines; and I am in no need of begging
you, for I think that your action followed only your inclination and
consequently your greatest pleasure."
On the insistence of Opiz, Casanova continued his correspondence, but he
passed over nothing more, neither in exact quotations from Latin authors,
nor solecisms, nor lame reasonings. He even reproached him for his poor
writing and did not cease joking at the philanthropic and amiable
sentiments Opiz loved to parade while at the same time keeping his purse-
strings tight. A number of quarreling letters followed, after which the
correspondence came to an end. One of Casanova's last letters, that of
the 2nd February 1794, concludes: "One day M. de Bragadin said to me:
'Jacques, be careful never to convince a quibbler, for he will become
your enemy.' After this wise advice I avoided syllogism, which tended
toward conviction. But in spite of this you have become my enemy. . . ."
Among the Casanova manuscripts at Dux was one giving his final comment on
his relations with Opiz. Accusing Opiz of bringing about a quarrel,
Casanova nevertheless admits that he himself may not be blameless, but
lays this to his carelessness. "I have a bad habit," he writes, "of not
reading over my letters. If, in re-reading those I wrote to M. Opiz,
I had found them bitter, I would have burned them." Probably Casanova
struck the root of the matter in his remark, "Perfect accord is the first
charm of a reciprocal friendship." The two men were primarily of
so different a temperament, that they apparently could not long agree
even on subjects on which they were most in accord.
The complete correspondence is of very considerable interest.
In 1786, Casanova published 'Le soliloque d'un penseur', in which he
speaks of Saint-Germain and of Cagliostro. On the 23rd December 1792,
Zaguri wrote Casanova that Cagliostro was in prison at San Leo. "Twenty
years ago, I told Cagliostro not to set his foot in Rome, and if he had
followed this advice he would not have died miserably in a Roman prison."
In January 1788, appeared 'Icosameron' a romance in five volumes,
dedicated to Count Waldstein, which he describes as "translated from the
English." This fanciful romance, which included philosophic and
theological discussions, was the original work of Casanova and not a
translation. It was criticized in 1789 by a literary journal at Jena.
Preserved at Dux were several manuscripts with variants of 'Icosameron'
and also an unpublished reply to the criticism.
In 1788 Casanova published the history of his famous flight from The
Leads. An article on this book appeared in the German 'Litteratur-
Zeitung', 29th June 1789: "As soon as the history was published and while
it was exciting much interest among us and among our neighbors, it was
seen that other attempts at flight from prisons would make their
appearance. The subject in itself is captivating; all prisoners awake
our compassion, particularly when they are enclosed in a severe prison
and are possibly innocent . . . . The history with which we are
concerned has all the appearances of truth; many Venetians have testified
to it, and the principal character, M. Casanova, brother of the
celebrated painter, actually lives at Dux in Bohemia where the Count
Waldstein has established him as guardian of his important library."
In July 1789 there was discovered, among the papers of the Bastille, the
letter which Casanova wrote from Augsburg in May 1767 to Prince Charles
of Courlande on the subject of fabricating gold. Carrel published this
letter at once in the third volume of his 'Memoirs authentiques et
historiques sur la Bastille'. Casanova kept a copy of this letter and
includes it in the Memoirs.
In October 1789, Casanova wrote M. Opiz that he was writing to a
professor of mathematics [M. Lagrange] at Paris, a long letter in
Italian, on the duplication of the cube, which he wished to publish.
In August 1790, Casanova published his 'Solution du Probleme Deliaque
demontree and Deux corollaires a la duplication de hexadre'. On the
subject of his pretended solution of this problem in speculative
mathematics, Casanova engaged with M. Opiz in a heated technical
discussion between the 16th September and 1st November 1790. Casanova
sought vainly to convince Opiz of the correctness of his solution.
Finally, M. Opiz, tired of the polemics, announced that he was leaving on
a six-weeks tour of inspection and that he would not be able to occupy
himself with the duplication of the cube for some time to come. On the
1st November, Casanova wished him a pleasant journey and advised him to
guard against the cold because "health is the soul of life."
In 1797, appeared the last book published during Casanova's lifetime, a
small work entitled: 'A Leonard Snetlage, docteur en droit de
l'Universite de Goettingue, Jacques Casanova, docteur en droit de
l'Universite de Padoue'. This was a careful criticism of the neologisms
introduced into French by the Revolution. In reference to Casanova's
title of "Doctor," researches by M. Favoro at the University of Padua
had failed to establish this claim, although, in the Memoirs Casanova had
"I remained at Padua long enough to prepare myself for the Doctor's
degree, which I intended to take the following year." With this devil of
a man, it is always prudent to look twice before peremptorily questioning
the truth of his statement. And in fact, the record of Casanova's
matriculation was discovered by Signor Bruno Brunelli.
SUMMARY of MY LIFE
The 2nd November, 1797, Cecilia Roggendorff wrote to Casanova: "By the
way, how do you call yourself, by your baptismal name? On what day and
in what year were you born? You may laugh, if you wish, at my questions,
but I command you to satisfy me . . ." To this request, Casanova
"Summary of My Life:--my mother brought me into the world at Venice on
the 2nd April, Easter day of the year 1725. She had, the night before,
a strong desire for crawfish. I am very fond of them.
"At baptism, I was named Jacques-Jerome. I was an idiot until I was
eight-and-a-half years old. After having had a hemorrhage for three
months, I was taken to Padua, where, cured of my imbecility, I applied
myself to study and, at the age of sixteen years I was made a doctor and
given the habit of a priest so that I might go seek my fortune at Rome.
"At Rome, the daughter of my French instructor was the cause of my being
dismissed by my patron, Cardinal Aquaviva.
"At the age of eighteen years, I entered the military service of my
country, and I went to Constantinople. Two years afterward, having
returned to Venice, I left the profession of honor and, taking the bit in
my teeth, embraced the wretched profession of a violinist. I horrified
my friends, but this did not last for very long.
"At the age of twenty-one years, one of the highest nobles of Venice
adopted me as his son, and, having become rich, I went to see Italy,
France, Germany and Vienna where I knew Count Roggendorff. I returned
to Venice, where, two years later, the State Inquisitors of Venice, for
just and wise reasons, imprisoned me under The Leads.
"This was the state prison, from which no one had ever escaped, but, with
the aid of God, I took flight at the end of fifteen months and went to
Paris. In two years, my affairs prospered so well that I became worth a
million, but, all the same, I went bankrupt. I made money in Holland;
suffered misfortune in Stuttgart; was received with honors in
Switzerland; visited M. de Voltaire; adventured in Genoa, Marseilles,
Florence and in Rome where the Pope Rezzonico, a Venetian, made me a
Chevalier of Saint-Jean-Latran and an apostolic protonotary. This was in
the year 1760.
"In the same year I found good fortune at Naples; at Florence I carried
off a girl; and, the following year, I was to attend the Congress at
Augsburg, charged with a commission from the King of Portugal. The
Congress did not meet there and, after the publication of peace, I passed
on into England, which great misfortunes caused me to leave in the
following year, 1764. I avoided the gibbet which, however, should not
have dishonored me as I should only have been hung. In the same year I
searched in vain for fortune at Berlin and at Petersburg, but I found it
at Warsaw in the following year. Nine months afterwards, I lost it
through being embroiled in a pistol duel with General Branicki; I pierced
his abdomen but in eight months he was well again and I was very much
pleased. He was a brave man. Obliged to leave Poland, I returned to
Paris in 1767, but a 'lettre de cachet' obliged me to leave and I went to
Spain where I met with great misfortunes. I committed the crime of
making nocturnal visits to the mistress of the 'vice-roi', who was a
"At the frontiers of Spain, I escaped from assassins only to suffer, at
Aix, in Provence, an illness which took me to the edge of the grave,
after spitting blood for eighteen months.
"In the year 1769, I published my Defense of the Government of Venice, in
three large volumes, written against Amelot de la Houssaie.
"In the following year the English Minister at the Court of Turin sent
me, well recommended, to Leghorn. I wished to go to Constantinople with
the Russian fleet, but as Admiral Orlof, would not meet my conditions, I
retraced my steps and went to Rome under the pontificate of Ganganelli.
"A happy love affair made me leave Rome and go to Naples and, three
months later, an unhappy love made me return to Rome. I had measured
swords for the third time with Count Medini who died four years ago at
London, in prison for his debts.
"Having considerable money, I went to Florence, where, during the
Christmas Festival, the Archduke Leopold, the Emperor who died four or
five years ago, ordered me to leave his dominions within three days. I
had a mistress who, by my advice, became Marquise de * * * at Bologna.
"Weary of running about Europe, I determined to solicit mercy from the
Venetian State Inquisitors. For this purpose, I established myself at
Trieste where, two years later, I obtained it. This was the 14th
September 1774. My return to Venice after nineteen years was the most
pleasant moment of my life.
"In 1782, I became embroiled with the entire body of the Venetian
nobility. At the beginning of 1783, I voluntarily left the ungrateful
country and went to Vienna. Six months later I went to Paris with the
intention of establishing myself there, but my brother, who had lived
there for twenty-six years, made me forget my interests in favor of his.
I rescued him from the hands of his wife and took him to Vienna where
Prince Kaunitz engaged him to establish himself. He is still there,
older than I am by two years.
"I placed myself in the service of M. Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador, to
write dispatches. Two years later, he died in my arms, killed by the
gout which mounted into his chest. I then set out for Berlin in the hope
of securing a position with the Academy, but, half way there, Count
Waldstein stopped me at Teplitz and led me to Dux where I still am and
where, according to all appearances, I shall die.
"This is the only summary of my life that I have written, and I permit
any use of it which may be desired.
"'Non erubesco evangelium'.
"This 17th November 1797.
In reference to Casanova's ironic remark about his escape from England,
see his conversation, on the subject of "dishonor," with Sir Augustus
Hervey at London in 1763, which is given in the Memoirs.
LAST DAYS AT DUX
Scattered through the Memoirs are many of Casanova's thoughts about his
old age. Some were possibly incorporated in the original text, others
possibly added when he revised the text in 1797. These vary from
resignation to bitterness, doubtless depending on Casanova's state of
mind at the moment he wrote them:
"Now that I am seventy-two years old, I believe myself no longer
susceptible of such follies. But alas! that is the very thing which
causes me to be miserable."
"I hate old age which offers only what I already know, unless I should
take up a gazette."
"Age has calmed my passions by rendering them powerless, but my heart has
not grown old and my memory has kept all the freshness of youth."
"No, I have not forgotten her [Henriette]; for even now, when my head is
covered with white hair, the recollection of her is still a source of
happiness for my heart."
"A scene which, even now, excites my mirth."
"Age, that cruel and unavoidable disease, compels me to be in good
health, in spite of myself."
"Now that I am but the shadow of the once brilliant Casanova, I love to
"Now that age has whitened my hair and deadened the ardor of my senses,
my imagination does not take such a high flight and I think differently."
"What embitters my old age is that, having a heart as warm as ever, I
have no longer the strength necessary to secure a single day as blissful
as those which I owed to this charming girl."
"When I recall these events, I grow young again and feel once more the
delights of youth, despite the long years which separate me from that
"Now that I am getting into my dotage, 1 look on the dark side of
everything. I am invited to a wedding and see naught but gloom; and,
witnessing the coronation of Leopold II, at Prague, I say to myself,
'Nolo coronari'. Cursed old age, thou art only worthy of dwelling in
"The longer I live, the more interest I take in my papers. They are the
treasure which attaches me to life and makes death more hateful still."
And so on, through the Memoirs, Casanova supplies his own picture,
knowing very well that the end, even of his cherished memories, is not
In 1797, Casanova relates an amusing, but irritating incident, which
resulted in the loss of the first three chapters of the second volume of
the Memoirs through the carelessness of a servant girl at Dux who took
the papers "old, written upon, covered with scribbling and erasures," for
"her own purposes," thus necessitating a re-writing, "which I must now
abridge," of these chapters. Thirty years before, Casanova would
doubtless have made love to the girl and all would have been forgiven.
But, alas for the "hateful old age" permitting no relief except
irritation and impotent anger.
On the 1st August, 1797, Cecilia Roggendorff, the daughter of the Count
Roggendorff [printed Roquendorf] whom Casanova had met at Vienna in 1753,
wrote: "You tell me in one of your letters that, at your death,
you will leave me, by your will, your Memoirs which occupy twelve
At this time, Casanova was revising, or had completed his revision of,
the twelve volumes. In July 1792, as mentioned above, Casanova wrote
Opiz that he had arrived at the twelfth volume. In the Memoirs
themselves we read, ". . . the various adventures which, at the age of
seventy-two years, impel me to write these Memoirs . . .," written
probably during a revision in 1797.
At the beginning of one of the two chapters of the last volume, which
were missing until discovered by Arthur Symons at Dux in 1899, we read:
"When I left Venice in the year 1783, God ought to have sent me to Rome,
or to Naples, or to Sicily, or to Parma, where my old age, according to
all appearances, might have been happy. My genius, who is always right,
led me to Paris, so that I might see my brother Francois, who had run
into debt and who was just then going to the Temple. I do not care
whether or not he owes me his regeneration, but I am glad to have
effected it. If he had been grateful to me, I should have felt myself
paid; it seems to me much better that he should carry the burden of his
debt on his shoulders, which from time to time he ought to find heavy. He
does not deserve a worse punishment. To-day, in the seventy-third year
of my life, my only desire is to live in peace and to be far from any
person who might imagine that he has rights over my moral liberty, for it
is impossible that any kind of tyranny should not coincide with this
Early in February, 1798, Casanova was taken sick with a very grave
bladder trouble of which he died after suffering for three-and-a-half
months. On the 16th February Zaguri wrote: "I note with the greatest
sorrow the blow which has afflicted you." On the 31st March, after
having consulted with a Prussian doctor, Zaguri sent a box of medicines
and he wrote frequently until the end.
On the 20th April Elisa von der Recke, whom Casanova had met, some years
before, at the chateau of the Prince de Ligne at Teplitz, having returned
to Teplitz, wrote: "Your letter, my friend, has deeply affected me.
Although myself ill, the first fair day which permits me to go out will
find me at your side." On the 27th, Elisa, still bedridden, wrote that
the Count de Montboisier and his wife were looking forward to visiting
Casanova. On the 6th May she wrote, regretting that she was unable to
send some crawfish soup, but that the rivers were too high for the
peasants to secure the crawfish. "The Montboisier family, Milady Clark,
my children and myself have all made vows for your recovery." On the
8th, she sent bouillon and madeira.
On the 4th June, 1798, Casanova died. His nephew, Carlo Angiolini was
with him at the time. He was buried in the churchyard of Santa Barbara
at Dux. The exact location of his grave is uncertain, but a tablet,
placed against the outside wall of the church reads:
Venedig 1725 Dux 1798
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