Return to Paris, Casanova, v12
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
Part 2 out of 3
Mdlle. X. C. V. began to take the remedies which I brought her, which
ought to have weakened and destroyed the result of love, but as she
did not experience any benefit, she was impatient to consult a
midwife. On the night of the last ball she recognized me as we had
agreed, and followed me out into the coach she saw me enter, and in
less than a quarter of an hour we reached the house of shame.
A woman of about fifty received us with great politeness, and asked
what she could do.
Mdlle. X. C. V. told her that she believed herself pregnant, and
that she desired some means of concealing her misfortune. The wretch
answered with a smile that she might as well tell her plainly that it
would be easy to procure abortion. "I will do your business," said
she, "for fifty Louis, half to be paid in advance on account of
drugs, and the rest when it's all over. I will trust in your
honesty, and you will have to trust in mine. Give me the twenty-five
Louis down, and come or send to-morrow for the drugs, and
instructions for using them."
So saying she turned up her clothes without any ceremony, and as I,
at Mdlle. X. C. V.'s request, looked away, she felt her and
pronounced, as she let down her dress, that she was not beyond the
"If my drugs," said she, "contrary to my expectation, do not do any
good, we will try some other ways, and, in any case, if I do not
succeed in obliging you I will return you your money."
"I don't doubt it for a moment," said I, "but would you tell me what
are those other ways!"
"I should tell the lady how to destroy the foetus."
I might have told her that to kill the child meant giving a mortal
wound to the mother, but I did not feel inclined to enter into a
argument with this vile creature.
"If madame decides on taking your advice," said I, "I will bring you
the money for drugs to-morrow."
I gave her two Louis and left. Mdlle. X. C. V. told me that she had
no doubt of the infamy of this woman, as she was sure it was
impossible to destroy the offspring without the risk of killing the
mother also. "My only trust," said she, "is in you." I encouraged
her in this idea, dissuading her from any criminal attempts, and
assured her over and over again that she should not find her trust in
me misplaced. All at once she complained of feeling cold, and asked
if we had not time to warm ourselves in Little Poland, saying that
she longed to see my pretty house. I was surprised and delighted
with the idea. The night was too dark for her to see the exterior
charms of my abode, she would have to satisfy herself with the
inside, and leave the rest to her imagination. I thought my hour had
come. I made the coach stop and we got down and walked some way, and
then took another at the corner of the Rue de la Ferannerie. I
promised the coachman six francs beyond his fare, and in a quarter of
an hour he put us down at my door.
I rang with the touch of the master, the Pearl opened the door, and
told me that there was nobody within, as I very well knew, but it was
her habit to do so.
"Quick!" said I, "light us a fire, and bring some glasses and a
bottle of champagne."
"Would you like an omelette?"
"Oh, I should like an omelette so much!" said Mdlle. X. C. V. She
was ravishing, and her laughing air seemed to promise me a moment of
bliss. I sat down before the blazing fire and made her sit on my
knee, covering her with kisses which she gave me back as lovingly. I
had almost won what I wanted when she asked me in a sweet voice to
stop. I obeyed, thinking it would please her, feeling sure that she
only delayed my victory to make it more complete, and that she would
surrender after the champagne. I saw love, kindness, trust, and
gratitude shining in her face, and I should have been sorry for her
to think that I claimed her as a mere reward. No, I wanted her love,
and nothing but her love.
At last we got to our last glass of champagne, we rose from the
table, and sentimentally but with gentle force I laid her on a couch
and held her amorously in my arms. But instead of giving herself up
to my embraces she resisted them, at first by those prayers which
usually make lovers more enterprising, then by serious remonstrances,
and at last by force. This was too much, the mere idea of using
violence has always shocked me, and I am still of opinion that the
only pleasure in the amorous embrace springs from perfect union and
agreement. I pleaded my cause in every way, I painted myself as the
lover flattered, deceived, despised! At last I told her that I had
had a cruel awakening, and I saw that the shaft went home. I fell on
my knees and begged her to forgive me. "Alas!" said she, in a voice
full of sadness, "I am no longer mistress of my heart, and have far
greater cause for grief than you." The tears flowed fast down her
cheeks, her head rested on my shoulder, and our lips met; but for all
that the piece was over. The idea of renewing the attack never came
into my head, and if it had I should have scornfully rejected it.
After a long silence, of which we both stood in need, she to conquer
her shame, and I to repress my anger, we put on our masks and
returned to the opera. On our way she dared to tell me that she
should be obliged to decline my friendship if she had to pay for it
"The emotions of love," I replied, "should yield to those of honour,
and your honour as well as mine require us to continue friends. What
I would have done for love I will now do for devoted friendship, and
for the future I will die rather than make another attempt to gain
those favours of which I thought you deemed me worthy."
We separated at the opera, and the vast crowd made me lose sight of
her in an instant. Next day she told me that she had danced all
night. She possibly hoped to find in that exercise the cure which no
medicine seemed likely to give her.
I returned to my house in a bad humour, trying in vain to justify a
refusal which seemed humiliating and almost incredible. My good
sense shewed me, in spite of all sophisms, that I had been grievously
insulted. I recollected the witty saying of Populia, who was never
unfaithful to her husband except when she was with child; "Non tollo
vectorem," said she, "nisi navi plena."
I felt certain that I was not loved, and the thought grieved me; and
I considered that it would be unworthy of me to love one whom I could
no longer hope to possess. I resolved to avenge myself by leaving
her to her fate, feeling that I could not allow myself to be duped as
I had been.
The night brought wisdom with it, and when I awoke in the morning my
mind was calm and I was still in love. I determined to act
generously by the unfortunate girl. Without my aid she would be
ruined; my course, then, would be to continue my services and to shew
myself indifferent to her favours. The part was no easy one, but I
played it right well, and at last my reward came of itself.
I Continue My Relations With Mdlle. X. C. V.--Vain Attempts to
Procure Abortion--The Aroph--She Flies From Home and Takes Refuge in
The difficulties I encountered only served to increase my love for my
charming Englishwoman. I went to see her every morning, and as my
interest in her condition was genuine, she could have no suspicion
that I was acting a part, or attribute my care of her to anything but
the most delicate feelings. For her part she seemed well pleased in
the alteration of my behaviour, though her satisfaction may very
probably have been assumed. I understood women well enough to know
that though she did not love me she was probably annoyed at seeing my
new character sit upon me so easily.
One morning in the midst of an unimportant and disconnected
conversation, she complimented me upon my strength of mind in
subduing my passion, adding, with a smile, that my desire could not
have pricked me very sharply, seeing that I had cured myself so well
in the course of a week. I quietly replied that I owed my cure not
to the weakness of my passion but to my self-respect.
"I know my own character," I said, "and without undue presumption, I
think I may say that I am worthy of a woman's love. Naturally, after
your convincing me that you think differently, I feel humiliated and
indignant. Do you know what effect such feelings have on the heart?"
"Alas!" said she, "I know too well. Their effect is to inspire one
with contempt for her who gave rise to them."
"That is going too far, at least in my case. My indignation was
merely succeeded by a renewed confidence in myself, and a
determination to be revenged."
"To be revenged! In what way?"
"I wish to compel you to esteem me, by proving to you that I am lord
of myself, and can pass by with indifference what I once so ardently
desired. I do not know whether I have succeeded yet, but I may say
that I can now contemplate your charms without desiring to possess
"You are making a mistake, for I never ceased to esteem you, and I
esteemed you as much a week ago as I do to-day. Nor for a moment I
did think you capable of leaving me to my fate as a punishment for
having refused to give way to your transports, and I am glad that I
read your character rightly."
We went on to speak of the opiate I made her take, and as she saw no
change in her condition she wanted me to increase the dose--a request
I took care not to grant, as I knew that more than half a drachm
might kill her. I also forbade her to bleed herself again, as she
might do herself a serious injury without gaining anything by it.
Her maid, of whom she had been obliged to make a confidante, had had
her bled by a student, her lover. I told Mdlle. X. C. V. that if
she wanted these people to keep her counsel she must be liberal with
them, and she replied that she had no money. I offered her money and
she accepted fifty louis, assuring me that she would repay me that
sum which she needed for her brother Richard. I had not as much
money about me, but I sent her the same day a packet of twelve
hundred francs with a note in which I begged her to have recourse to
me in all her necessities. Her brother got the money, and thought
himself authorized to apply to me for aid in a much more important
He was a young man and a profligate, and had got into a house of ill-
fame, from which he came out in sorry plight. He complained bitterly
that M. Farsetti had refused to lend him four louis, and he asked me
to speak to his mother that she might pay for his cure. I consented,
but when his mother heard what was the matter with him, she said it
would be much better to leave him as he was, as this was the third
time he had been in this condition, and that to have him cured was a
waste of money, as no sooner was he well than he began his dissipated
life afresh. She was quite right, for I had him cured at my expense
by an able surgeon, and he was in the same way a month after. This
young man seemed intended by nature for shameful excesses, for at the
age of fourteen he was an accomplished profligate.
His sister was now six months with child, and as her figure grew
great so did her despair. She resolved not to leave her bed, and it
grieved me to see her thus cast down. Thinking me perfectly cured of
my passion for her, she treated me purely as a friend, making me
touch her all over to convince me that she dare not shew herself any
longer. I played in short the part of a midwife, but with what a
struggle! I had to pretend to be calm and unconcerned when I was
consumed with passion. She spoke of killing herself in a manner that
made me shudder, as I saw that she had reflected on what she was
saying. I was in a difficult position when fortune came to my
assistance in a strange and amusing manner.
One day, as I was dining with Madame d'Urfe, I asked her if she knew
of any way by which a girl, who had allowed her lover to go too far,
might be protected from shame. "I know of an infallible method," she
replied, "the aroph of Paracelsus to wit, and it is easy of
application. Do you wish to know more about it?" she added; and
without waiting for me to answer she brought a manuscript, and put it
in my hands. This powerful emmenagogue was a kind of unguent
composed of several drugs, such as saffron, myrrh, etc., compounded
with virgin honey. To obtain the necessary result one had to employ
a cylindrical machine covered with extremely soft skin, thick enough
to fill the opening of the vagina, and long enough to reach the
opening of the reservoir or case containing the foetus. The end of
this apparatus was to be well anointed with aroph, and as it only
acted at a moment of uterine excitement it was necessary to apply it
with the same movement as that of coition. The dose had to be
repeated five or six times a day for a whole week.
This nostrum, and the manner of administering it, struck me in so
laughable a light that I could not keep my countenance. I laughed
with all my heart, but for all that I spent the next two hours in
reading the dreams of Paracelsus, in which Madame d'Urfe put more
trust than in the truths of the Gospel; I afterwards referred to
Boerhaave, who speaks of the aroph in more reasonable terms.
Seeing, as I have remarked, the charming X. C. V. several hours a day
without any kind of constraint, feeling in love with her all the
time, and always restraining my feelings, it is no wonder if the
hidden fire threatened at every moment to leap up from the ashes of
its concealment. Her image pursued me unceasingly, of her I always
thought, and every day made it more evident that I should know rest
no more till I succeeded in extinguishing my passion by obtaining
possession of all her charms.
As I was thinking of her by myself I resolved to tell her of my
discovery, hoping she would need my help in the introduction of the
cylinder. I went to see her at ten o'clock, and found her, as usual,
in bed; she was weeping because the opiate I gave her did not take
effect. I thought the time a good one for introducing the aroph of
Paracelsus, which I assured her was an infallible means of attaining
the end she desired; but whilst I was singing the praises of this
application the idea came into my head to say that, to be absolutely
certain, it was necessary for the aroph to be mingled with semen
which had not lost its natural heat.
"This mixture," said I, "moistening several times a day the opening
of the womb, weakens it to such a degree that the foetus is expelled
by its own weight:"
To these details I added lengthy arguments to persuade her of the
efficacy of this cure, and then, seeing that she was absorbed in
thought, I said that as her lover was away she would want a sure
friend to live in the same house with her, and give her the dose
according to the directions of Paracelsus.
All at once she burst into a peal of laughter, and asked me if I had
been jesting all the time.
I thought the game was up. The remedy was an absurd one, on the face
of it; and if her common sense told her as much it would also make
her guess my motive. But what limits are there to the credulity of a
woman in her condition?
"If you wish," said I, persuasively, "I will give you the manuscript
where all that I have said is set down plainly. I will also shew you
what Boerhaeve thinks about it."
I saw that these words convinced her; they had acted on her as if by
magic, and I went on while the iron was hot.
"The aroph," said I, "is the most powerful agent for bringing on
"And that is incompatible with the state I am now in; so the aroph
should procure me a secret deliverance. Do you know its
"Certainly; it is quite a simple preparation composed of certain
ingredients which are well known to me, and which have to be made
into a paste with butter or virgin honey. But this composition must
touch the orifice of the uterus at a moment of extreme excitement."
"But in that case it seems to me that the person who gives the dose
must be in love."
"Certainly, unless he is a mere animal requiring only physical
She was silent for some time, for though she was quick-witted enough,
a woman's natural modesty and her own frankness, prevented her from
guessing at my artifice. I, too, astonished at my success in making
her believe this fable, remained silent.
At last, breaking the silence, she said, sadly,
"The method seems to me an excellent one, but I do not think I ought
to make use of it."
Then she asked me if the aroph took much time to make.
"Two hours at most," I answered, "if I succeed in procuring English
saffron, which Paracelsus prefers to the Oriental saffron."
At that moment her mother and the Chevalier Farsetti came in, and
after some talk of no consequence she asked me to stay to dinner. I
was going to decline, when Mdlle. X. C. V. said she would sit at
table, on which I accepted; and we all left the room to give her time
to dress. She was not long in dressing, and when she appeared her
figure seemed to me quite nymph-like. I was astonished, and could
scarcely believe my eyes, and I was on the point of thinking that I
had been imposed on, for I could not imagine how she could manage to
conceal the fulness I had felt with my own hands.
M. Farsetti sat by her, and I by the mother. Mdlle. X. C. V., whose
head was full of the aroph, asked her neighbour, who gave himself out
for a great chemist, if he knew it.
"I fancy I know it better than anyone," answered Farsetti, in a self-
"What is it good for?"
"That is too vague a question."
"What does the word mean?"
"It is an Arabic word, of which I do not know the meaning; but no
doubt Paracelsus would tell us."
"The word," said I, "is neither Arabic nor Hebrew, nor, indeed, of
any language at all. It is a contraction which conceals two other
"Can you tell us what they are?" said the chevalier.
"Certainly; aro comes from aroma, and ph is the initial of
"Did you get that out of Paracelsus?" said Farsetti, evidently
"No, sir; I saw it in Boerhaave."
"That's good," said he, sarcastically; "Boerhaave says nothing of the
sort, but I like a man who quotes readily."
"Laugh, sir, if you like," said I, proudly, "but here is the test of
what I say; accept the wager if you dare. I don't quote falsely,
like persons who talk of words being Arabic."
So saying I flung a purse of gold on the table, but Farsetti, who was
by no means sure of what he was saying, answered disdainfully that he
However, Mdlle. X. C. V., enjoying his confusion, told him that was
the best way never to lose, and began to joke him on his Arabic
derivation. But, for my part, I replaced my purse in my pocket, and
on some trifling pretext went out and sent my servant to Madame
d'Urfe's to get me Boerhaave.
On my return to the room I sat down again at table, and joined gaily
in the conversation till the return of my messenger with the book. I
opened it, and as I had been reading it the evening before I soon
found the place I wanted, and giving it to him begged him to satisfy
himself that I had quoted not readily but exactly. Instead of taking
the book, he got up and went out without saying a word.
"He has gone away in a rage," said the mother; "and I would wager
anything that he will not come back again."
"I wager he will," said the daughter, "he will honour us with his
agreeable company before to-morrow's sun has set."
She was right. From that day Farsetti became my determined enemy,
and let no opportunity slip of convincing me of his hatred.
After dinner we all went to Passy to be present at a concert given by
M. de la Popeliniere, who made us stay to supper. I found there
Silvia and her charming daughter, who pouted at me and not without
cause, as I had neglected her. The famous adept, St. Germain,
enlivened the table with his wild tirades so finely delivered. I
have never seen a more intellectual or amusing charlatan than he.
Next day I shut myself up to answer a host of questions that Esther
had sent me. I took care to answer all those bearing on business
matters as obscurely as possible, not only for the credit of the
oracle, but also for fear of misleading the father and making him
lose money. The worthy man was the most honest of Dutch
millionaires, but he might easily make a large hole in his fortune,
if he did not absolutely ruin himself, by putting an implicit trust
in my infallibility. As for Esther, I confess that she was now no
more to me than a pleasant memory.
In spite of my pretence of indifference, my whole heart was given to
Mdlle. X. C. V., and I dreaded the moment when she would be no longer
able to hide her condition from her family. I was sorry for having
spoken about the aroph, as three days had gone by without her
mentioning it, and I could not very well reopen the question myself.
I was afraid that she suspected my motives, and that the esteem she
professed for me had been replaced by a much less friendly sentiment.
I felt that her scorn would be too much for me to bear. So
humiliated was I that I could not visit her, and I doubt if I should
have seen her again if she had not intervened. She wrote me a note,
in which she said I was her only friend, and that the only mark of
friendship she wanted was that I should come and see her every day,
if it were but for a moment. I hasted to take her my reply in my own
person, and promised not to neglect her, assuring her that at all
hazards she might rely on me. I flattered myself that she would
mention the aroph, but she did not do so. I concluded that, after
thinking it over, she had resolved to think no more about it.
"Would you like me," I said, "to invite your mother and the rest of
you to dine with me?"
"I shall be delighted," she replied. "It will be a forbidden
pleasure to me before long."
I gave them a dinner both sumptuous and delicate. I had spared no
expense to have everything of the best. I had asked Silvia, her
charming daughter, an Italian musician named Magali, with whom a
sister of Mdlle. X. C. V.'s was taken, and the famous bass La Garde.
Mdlle. X. C. V. was in the highest spirits all the time. Sallies of
wit, jests, good stories and enjoyment, were the soul of the banquet.
We did not separate till midnight, and before leaving Mdlle. X. C. V.
found a moment to whisper to me to come and see her early next
morning, as she wanted to speak to me on matters of importance.
It will be guessed that I accepted the invitation. I waited on her
before eight o'clock. She was very melancholy, and told me that she
was in despair, that la Popeliniere pressed on the marriage, and that
her mother persecuted her.
"She tells me that I must sign the contract, and that the dressmaker
will soon be coming to take my measure for my wedding dress. To that
I cannot consent, for a dressmaker would certainly see my situation.
I will die rather than confide in my mother, or marry before I am
"There is always time enough to talk about dying," said I, "when all
other means have failed. I think you could easily get rid of la
Popeliniere, who is a man of honour. Tell him how you are situated,
and he will act without compromising you, as his own interest is
sufficiently involved to make him keep the secret."
"But should I be much better off then? And how about my mother?"
"Your mother? Oh! I will make her listen to reason."
"You know not what she is like. The honour of the family would
oblige her to get me out of the way, but before that she would make
me suffer torments to which death is preferable by far. But why have
you said no more about the aroph? Is it not all a jest? It would
be a very cruel one."
"On the contrary, I believe it to be infallible, though I have never
been a witness of its effects; but what good is it for me to speak to
you? You can guess that a delicacy of feeling has made me keep
silence. Confide in your lover, who is at Venice; write him a
letter, and I will take care that it is given into his hands, in five
or six days, by a sure messenger. If he is not well off I will give
you whatever money may be needed for him to come without delay, and
save your honour and life by giving you the aroph."
"This idea is a good one and the offer generous on your part, but it
is not feasible, as you would see if you knew more about my
circumstances. Do not think any more of my lover; but supposing I
made up my mind to receive the aroph from another, tell me how it
could be done. Even if my lover were in Paris, how could he spend an
entire week with me, as he would have to? And how could he give me
the dose five or six times a day for a week? You see yourself that
this remedy is out of the question."
"So you would give yourself to another, if you thought that would
save your honour?"
"Certainly, if I were sure that the thing would be kept secret. But
where shall I find such a person? Do you think he would be easy to
find, or that I can go and look for him?"
I did not know what to make of this speech; for she knew I loved her,
and I did not see why she should put herself to the trouble of going
far when what she wanted was to her hand. I was inclined to think
that she wanted me to ask her to make choice of myself as the
administrator of the remedy, either to spare her modesty, or to have
the merit of yielding to my love and thus obliging me to be grateful;
but I might be wrong, and I did not care to expose myself to the
humiliation of a refusal. On the other hand I could hardly think she
wanted to insult me. Not knowing what to say or which way to turn,
and wanting to draw an explanation from her, I sighed profoundly,
took up my hat, and made as if I were going, exclaiming, "Cruel girl,
my lot is more wretched than yours."
She raised herself in the bed and begged me with tears in her eyes to
remain, and asked me how I could call myself more wretched than her.
Pretending to be annoyed and yet full of love for her, I told her
that the contempt in which she held me had affected me deeply, since
in her necessity she preferred the offices of one who was unknown to
her rather than make use of me.
"You are cruel and unjust," she said, weeping. "I see, for my part,
that you love me no longer since you wish to take advantage of my
cruel necessity to gain a triumph over me. This is an act of revenge
not worthy of a man of feeling."
Her tears softened me, and I fell on my knees before her.
"Since you know, dearest, that I worship you, how can you think me
capable of revenging myself on you? Do you think that I can bear to
hear you say that since your lover cannot help you you do not know
where to look for help?"
"But after refusing you my favours, could I ask this office of you
with any decency? Have I not good reason to be afraid that as I
refused to take pity on your love so you would refuse to take pity on
"Do you think that a passionate lover ceases to love on account of a
refusal which may be dictated by virtue? Let me tell you all I
think. I confess I once thought you did not love me, but now I am
sure of the contrary; and that your heart would have led you to
satisfy my love, even if you had not been thus situated. I may add
that you no doubt feel vexed at my having any doubts of your love."
"You have interpreted my feelings admirably. But how we are to be
together with the necessary freedom from observation remains to be
"Do not be afraid. Now I am sure of your consent, it will not be
long before I contrive some plan. In the meanwhile I will go and
make the aroph."
I had resolved that if ever I succeeded in persuading Mdlle. X. C. V.
to make use of my specific I would use nothing but honey, so the
composition of the aroph would not be a very complicated process.
But if one point was then plain and simple, another remained to be
solved, and its solution gave me some difficulty. I should have to
pass several nights in continual toils. I feared I had promised more
than I could perform, and I should not be able to make any abatement
without hazarding, not the success of the aroph, but the bliss I had
taken such pains to win. Again, as her younger sister slept in the
same room with her and close to her, the operation could not be
performed there. At last chance--a divinity which often helps
lovers--came to my aid.
I was obliged to climb up to the fourth floor and met the scullion on
my way, who guessed where I was going, and begged me not to go any
farther as the place was taken.
"But," said I, "you have just come out of it."
"Yes, but I only went in and came out again."
"Then I will wait till the coast is clear."
"For goodness' sake, sir, do not wait!"
"Ah, you rascal! I see what is going on. Well I will say nothing
about it, but I must see her."
"She won't come out, for she heard your steps and shut herself in."
"She knows me, does she?"
"Yes, and you know her."
"All right, get along with you! I won't say anything about it."
He went down, and the idea immediately struck me that the adventure
might be useful to me. I went up to the top, and through a chink I
saw Madelaine, Mdlle. X. C. V.'s maid. I reassured her, and promised
to keep the secret, whereon she opened the door, and after I had
given her a louis, fled in some confusion. Soon after, I came down,
and the scullion who was waiting for me on the landing begged me to
make Madelaine give him half the louis.
"I will give you one all to yourself," said I, "if you will tell me
the story"--an offer which pleased the rogue well enough. He told me
the tale of his loves, and said he always spent the night with her in
the garret, but that for three days they had been deprived of their
pleasures, as madam had locked the door and taken away the key. I
made him shew me the place, and looking through the keyhole I saw
that there was plenty of room for a mattress. I gave the scullion a
Louis, and went away to ripen my plans.
It seemed to me that there was no reason why the mistress should not
sleep in the garret as well as the maid. I got a picklock and
several skeleton keys, I put in a tin box several doses of the aroph-
that is, some honey mixed with pounded stag's horn to make it thick
enough, and the next morning I went to the "Hotel de Bretagne," and
immediately tried my picklock. I could have done without it, as the
first skeleton key I tried opened the wornout lock.
Proud of my idea, I went down to see Mdlle. X. C. V., and in a few
words told her the plan.
"But," said she, "I should have to go through Madelaine's room to get
to the garret."
"In that case, dearest, we must win the girl over."
"Tell her my secret?"
"Oh, I couldn't!"
"I will see to it; the golden key opens all doors."
The girl consented to all I asked her, but the scullion troubled me,
for if he found us out he might be dangerous. I thought, however,
that I might trust to Madelaine, who was a girl of wit, to look after
Before going I told the girl that I wanted to discuss some important
matters with her, and I told her to meet me in the cloisters of the
Augustinian Church. She came at the appointed time and I explained
to her the whole plan in all its details. She soon understood me,
and after telling me that she would take care to put her own bed in
the new kind of boudoir, she added that, to be quite safe, we must
make sure of the scullion.
"He is a sharp lad," said Madelaine, "and I think I can answer for
him. However, you may leave that to me."
I gave her the key and six louis, bidding her inform her mistress of
what we had agreed upon, and get the garret ready to receive us. She
went away quite merry. A maid who is in love is never so happy as
when she can make her mistress protect her intrigues.
Next morning the scullion called on me at my house. The first thing
I told him was to take care not to betray himself to my servants, and
never to come and see me except in a case of necessity. He promised
discretion, and assured me of his devotion to my service. He gave me
the key of the garret and told me that he had got another. I admired
his forethought, and gave him a present of six louis, which had more
effect on him than the finest words.
Next morning I only saw Mdlle. X. C. V. for a moment to warn her that
I should be at the appointed place at ten that evening. I went there
early without being seen by anybody. I was in a cloak, and carried
in my pocket the aroph, flint and steel, and a candle. I found a
good bed, pillows, and a thick coverlet--a very useful provision, as
the nights were cold, and we should require some sleep in the
intervals of the operation.
At eleven a slight noise made my heart begin to beat--always a good
sign. I went out, and found my mistress by feeling for her, and
reassured her by a tender kiss. I brought her in, barricaded the
door, and took care to cover up the keyhole to baffle the curious,
and, if the worse happened, to avoid a surprise.
On my lighting the candle she seemed uneasy, and said that the light
might discover us if anybody came up to the fourth floor.
"That's not likely," I said; "and besides, we can't do without it,
for how am I to give you the aroph in the dark?"
"Very good," she replied, "we can put it out afterwards."
Without staying for those preliminary dallyings which are so sweet
when one is at ease, we undressed ourselves, and began with all
seriousness to play our part, which we did to perfection. We looked
like a medical student about to perform an operation, and she like a
patient, with this difference that it was the patient who arranged
the dressing. When she was ready--that is, when she had placed the
aroph as neatly as a skull-cap fits a parson--she put herself in the
proper position for the preparation to mix with the semen.
The most laughable part of it all was that we were both as serious as
two doctors of divinity.
When the introduction of the aroph was perfect the timid lady put out
the candle, but a few minutes after it had to be lighted again. I
told her politely that I was delighted to begin again, and the voice
in which I paid her this compliment made us both burst into laughter.
I didn't take so short a time over my second operation as my first,
and my sweetheart, who had been a little put out, was now quite at
Her modesty had now been replaced by confidence, and as she was
looking at the aroph fitted in its place, she shewed me with her
pretty finger very evident signs of her co-operation in the work.
Then with an affectionate air, she asked me if I would not like to
rest, as we had still a good deal to do before our work was at an
"You see," said I, "that I do not need rest, and I think we had
better set to again."
No doubt she found my reason a good one, for, without saying
anything, she put herself ready to begin again, and afterwards we
took a good long sleep. When I woke up, feeling as fresh as ever, I
asked her to try another operation; and after carrying this through
successfully, I determined to be guided by her and take care of
myself, for we had to reserve our energies for the following nights.
So, about four o'clock in the morning she left me, and softly made
her way to her room, and at daybreak I left the hotel under the
protection of the scullion, who took me by a private door I did not
About noon, after taking an aromatic bath, I went to call on Mdlle.
X. C. V., whom I found sitting up in bed as usual, elegantly attired,
and with a happy smile on her lips. She spoke at such length on her
gratitude, and thanked me so often, that, believing myself, and with
good cause, to be her debtor, I began to get impatient.
"Is it possible," I said, "that you do not see how degrading your
thanks are to me? They prove that you do not love me, or that if
you love me, you think my love less strong than yours."
Our conversation then took a tender turn, and we were about to seal
our mutual ardours without troubling about the aroph, when prudence
bade us beware. It would not have been safe, and we had plenty of
time before us. We contented ourselves with a tender embrace till
the night should come.
My situation was a peculiar one, for though I was in love with this
charming girl I did not feel in the least ashamed of having deceived
her, especially as what I did could have no effect, the place being
taken. It was my self-esteem which made me congratulate myself on
the sharp practice which had procured me such pleasures. She told me
that she was sorry she had denied me when I had asked her before, and
said that she felt now that I had good reason to suspect the reality
of her love. I did my best to reassure her, and indeed all
suspicions on my part would have been but idle thoughts, as I had
succeeded beyond all expectation. However, there is one point upon
which I congratulate myself to this day--namely, that during those
nightly toils of mine, which did so little towards the object of her
desires, I succeeded in inspiring her with such a feeling of
resignation that she promised, of her own accord, not to despair any
more, but to trust in and be guided by me. She often told me during
our nocturnal conversations that she was happy and would continue to
be so, even though the aroph had no effect. Not that she had ceased
to believe in it, for she continued the application of the harmless
preparation till our last assaults, in which we wanted in those sweet
combats to exhaust all the gifts of pleasure.
"Sweetheart," said she, just before we parted finally, "it seems to
me that what we have been about is much more likely to create than to
destroy, and if the aperture had not been hermetically closed we
should doubtless have given the little prisoner a companion."
A doctor of the Sorbonne could not have reasoned better.
Three or four days afterwards I found her thoughtful but quiet. She
told me that she had lost all hope of getting rid of her burden
before the proper time. All the while, however, her mother
persecuted her, and she would have to choose in a few days between
making a declaration as to her state and signing the marriage
contract. She would accept neither of these alternatives, and had
decided on escaping from her home, and asked me to help her in doing
I had determined to help her, but I desired to save my reputation,
for it might have been troublesome if it had been absolutely known
that I had carried her off or furnished her with the means to escape.
And as for any other alternative, neither of us had any idea of
I left her and went to the Tuileries, where a sacred concert was
being given. The piece was a motet composed by Moudonville, the
words by the Abbe de Voisenon, whom I had furnished with the idea,
"The Israelites on Mount Horeb."
As I was getting out of my carriage, I saw Madame du Remain
descending alone from hers. I ran up. to her, and received a hearty
welcome. "I am delighted," said she, "to find you here, it is quite
a piece of luck. I am going to hear this novel composition, and have
two reserved seats. Will you do me the honour of accepting one?"
Although I had my ticket in my pocket I could not refuse so
honourable an offer, so, giving her my arm, we walked up to two of
the best places in the house.
At Paris no talking is allowed during the performance of sacred
music, especially when the piece is heard for the first time; so
Madame du Remain could draw no conclusions from my silence throughout
the performance, but she guessed that something was the matter from
the troubled and absent expression of my face, which was by no means
natural to me.
"M. Casanova," said she, "be good enough to give me your company for
an hour. I want to ask you-two or three questions which can only be
solved by your cabala. I hope you will oblige me, as I am, very
anxious to know the answers, but we must be quick as I have an
engagement to sup in Paris."
It may be imagined that I did not wait to be asked twice, and as soon
as we got to her house I went to work on the questions, and solved
them all in less than half an hour.
When I had finished, "M. Casanova;" said she, in the kindest manner
possible, "what is the matter with you? You are not in your usual
state of equanimity, and if I am not mistaken you are dreading some
dire event. Or perhaps you are on the eve of taking some important
resolution? I am not inquisitive, but if I can be of any service to
you at Court, make use of me, and be sure that I will do my best. If
necessary, I will go to Versailles to-morrow morning. I know all the
ministers. Confide in me your troubles, if I cannot lighten them I
can at least share them, and be sure I will keep your counsel."
Her words seemed to me a voice from heaven, a warning from my good
genius to open my heart to this lady, who had almost read my
thoughts, and had so plainly expressed her interest in my welfare.
After gazing at her for some seconds without speaking, but with a
manner that shewed her how grateful I was, "Yes madam," I said, "I am
indeed critically situated, may be on the serge of ruin, but your
kindness has calmed my soul and made me once more acquainted with
hope. You shall hear how I am placed. I am going to trust you with
a secret of the most delicate description, but I can rely on your
being as discreet as you are good. And if after hearing my story you
deign to give me your advice, I promise to follow it and never to
divulge its author."
After this beginning, which gained her close attention, I told her
all the circumstances of the case, neither concealing the young
lady's name nor any of the circumstances which made it my duty to
watch over her welfare. All the same I said nothing about the aroph
or the share I had taken in its exhibition. The incident appeared to
me too farcical for a serious drama, but I confessed that I had
procured the girl drugs in the hope of relieving her of her burden.
After this weighty communication I stopped, and Madame du Rumain
remained silent, as if lost in thought, for nearly a quarter of an
hour. At last she rose, saying,
"I am expected at Madame de la Marque's, and I must go, as I am to
meet the Bishop of Montrouge, to whom I want to speak, but I hope I
shall eventually be able to help you. Come here the day after
tomorrow, you will find me alone; above all, do nothing before you
see me. Farewell."
I left her full of hope, and resolved to follow her advice and hers
only in the troublesome affair in which I was involved.
The Bishop of Montrouge whom she was going to address on an important
matter, the nature of which was well known to me, was the Abbe de
Voisenon, who was thus named because he often went there. Montrouge
is an estate near Paris, belonging to the Duc de la Valiere.
I saw Mdlle. X. C. V. the following day, and contented myself with
telling her that in a couple of days I hope to give her some good
news. I was pleased with her manner, which was full of resignation
and trust in my endeavours.
The day after, I went to Madame du Rumain's punctually at eight. The
porter told me that I should find the doctor with my lady, but I went
upstairs all the same, and as soon as the doctor saw me he took his
leave. His name was Herrenschwand, and all the ladies in Paris ran
after him. Poor Poinsinet put him in a little one-act play called Le
Cercle, which, though of very ordinary merit, was a great success.
"My dear sir," said Madame du Rumain, as soon as we were alone, "I
have succeeded in my endeavours on your behalf, and it is now for you
to keep secret my share in the matter. After I had pondered over the
case of conscience you submitted to me, I went to the convent of C---
where the abbess is a friend of mine, and I entrusted her with the
secret, relying on her discretion. We agreed that she should receive
the young lady in her convent, and give her a good lay-sister to
nurse her through her confinement. Now you will not deny," said she,
with a smile, "that the cloisters are of some use. Your young friend
must go by herself to the convent with a letter for the abbess, which
I will give her, and which she must deliver to the porter. She will
then be admitted and lodged in a suitable chamber. She will receive
no visitors nor any letters that have not passed through my hands.
The abbess will bring her answers to me, and I will pass them on to
you. You must see that her only correspondent must be yourself, and
you must receive news of her welfare only through me. On your hand
in writing to her you must leave the address to be filled in by me.
I had to tell the abbess the lady's name, but not yours as she did
not require it.
"Tell your young friend all about our plans, and when she is ready
come and tell me, and I will give you the letter to the abbess. Tell
her to bring nothing but what is strictly necessary, above all no
diamonds or trinkets of any value. You may assure her that the
abbess will be friendly, will come and see her every now and then,
will give her proper books--in a word, that she will be well looked
after. Warn her not to confide in the laysister who will attend on
her. I have no doubt she is an excellent woman, but she is a nun,
and the secret might leak out. After she is safely delivered, she
must go to confession and perform her Easter duties, and the abbess
will give her a certificate of good behaviour; and she can then
return to her mother, who will be too happy to see her to say
anything more about the marriage, which, of course, she ought to give
as her reason of her leaving home."
After many expressions of my gratitude to her, and of my admiration
of her plan, I begged her to give me the letter on the spot, as there
was no time to be lost. She was good enough to go at once to her
desk, where she wrote as follows:
"My dear abbess--The young lady who will give you this letter is
the same of whom we have spoken. She wishes to spend three of four
months under your protection, to recover her peace of mind, to
perform her devotions, and to make sure that when she returns to her
mother nothing more will be said about the marriage, which is partly
the cause of her temporary separation from her family."
After reading it to me, she put it into my hands unsealed that Mdlle.
X. C. V. might be able to read it. The abbess in question was a
princess, and her convent was consequently a place above all
suspicion. As Madame du Rumain gave me the letter, I felt such an
impulse of gratitude that I fell on my knees before her. This
generous woman was useful to me on another occasion, of which I shall
speak later on.
After leaving Madame du Rumain I went straight to the "Hotel de
Bretagne," where I saw Mdlle. X. C. V., who had only time to tell me
that she was engaged for the rest of the day, but that she would come
to the garret at eleven o'clock that night, and that then we could
talk matters over. I was overjoyed at this arrangement, as I foresaw
that after this would come the awakening from a happy dream, and that
I should be alone with her no more.
Before leaving the hotel I gave the word to Madelaine, who in turn
got the scullion to have everything in readiness.
I kept the appointment, and had not long to wait for my mistress.
After making her read the letter written by Madame du Rumain (whose
name I withheld from her without her taking offence thereat) I put
out the candle, and without troubling about the aroph, we set
ourselves to the pleasant task of proving that we truly loved each
In the morning, before we separated, I gave her all the instructions
I had received from Madame du Rumain; and we agreed that she should
leave the house at eight o'clock with such things as she absolutely
required, that she should take a coach to the Place Maubert, then
send it away, and take another to the Place Antoine, and again,
farther on, a third coach, in which she was to go to the convent
named. I begged her not to forget to burn all the letters she had
received from me, and to write to me from the convent as often as she
could, to seal her letters but to leave the address blank. She
promised to carry out my instructions, and I then made her accept a
packet of two hundred louis, of which she might chance to be in need.
She wept, more for my situation than her own, but I consoled her by
saying that I had plenty of money and powerful patrons.
"I will set out," said she, "the day after to-morrow, at the hour
agreed on." And thereupon, I having promised to come to the house
the day after her departure, as if I knew nothing about it, and to
let her know what passed, we embraced each other tenderly, and I left
I was troubled in thinking about her fate. She had wit and courage,
but when experience is wanting wit often leads men to commit acts of
The day after the morrow I took a coach, and posted myself in a
corner of the street by which she had to pass. I saw her come, get
out of the coach, pay the coachman, go down a narrow street, and a
few minutes after reappear again, veiled and hooded, carrying a small
parcel in her hand. She then took another conveyance which went off
in the direction we had agreed upon.
The day following being Low Sunday, I felt that I must present myself
at the "Hotel de Bretagne," for as I went there every day before the
daughter's flight I could not stop going there without strengthening
any suspicions which might be entertained about me. But it was a
painful task. I had to appear at my ease and cheerful in a place
where I was quite sure all would be sadness and confusion. I must
say that it was an affair requiring higher powers of impudence than
fall to the lot of most men.
I chose a time when all the family would be together at table, and I
walked straight into the dining-room. I entered with my usual
cheerful manner, and sat down by madame, a little behind her,
pretending not to see her surprise, which, however, was plainly to be
seen, her whole face being flushed with rage and astonishment. I had
not been long in the room before I asked where her daughter was. She
turned round, looked me through and through, and said not a word.
"Is she ill?" said I.
"I know nothing about her."
This remark, which was pronounced in a dry manner, put me at my ease,
as I now felt at liberty to look concerned. I sat there for a
quarter of an hour, playing the part of grave and astonished silence,
and then, rising, I asked if I could do anything, for which all my
reward was a cold expression of thanks. I then left the room and
went to Mdlle. X. C. V.'s chamber as if I had thought she was there,
but found only Madelaine. I asked her with a meaning look where her
mistress was. She replied by begging me to tell her, if I knew.
"Has she gone by herself?"
"I know nothing at all about it, sir, but they say you know all. I
beg of you to leave me."
Pretending to be in the greatest astonishment, I slowly walked away
and took a coach, glad to have accomplished this painful duty. After
the reception I had met with I could without affectation pose as
offended, and visit the family no more, for whether I were guilty or
innocent, Madame X. C. V. must see that her manner had been plain
enough for me to know what it meant.
I was looking out of my window at an early hour two or three days
afterwards, when a coach stopped before my door, and Madame X C V-,
escorted by M. Farsetti got out. I made haste to meet them on the
stair, and welcomed them, saying I was glad they had done me the
honour to come and take breakfast with me, pretending not to know of
any other reason. I asked them to sit down before the fire, and
enquired after the lady's health; but without noticing my question
she said that she had not come to take breakfast, but to have some
"Madam," said I, "I am your humble servant; but first of all pray be
She sat down, while Farsetti continued standing. I did not press
him, but turning towards the lady begged her to command me.
"I am come here," she said, "to ask you to give me my daughter if she
be in your power, or to tell me where she is."
"Your daughter, madam? I know nothing about her! Do you think me
capable of a crime?"
"I do not accuse you of abducting her; I have not come here to
reproach you nor to utter threats, I have only come to ask you to
shew yourself my friend. Help me to get my daughter again this very
day; you will give me my life. I am certain that you know all. You
were her only confidant and her only friend; you passed hours with
her every day; she must have told you of her secret. Pity a bereaved
mother! So far no one knows of the facts; give her back to me and
all shall be forgotten, and her honour saved."
"Madam, I feel for you acutely, but I repeat that I know nothing of
The poor woman, whose grief touched me, fell at my feet and burst
into tears. I was going to lift her from the ground, when Farsetti
told her, in a voice full of indignation, that she should blush to
humble herself in such a manner before a man of my description. I
drew myself up, and looking at him scornfully said,
"You insolent scoundrel! What do you mean by talking of me like
"Everybody is certain that you know all about it."
"Then they are impudent fools, like you. Get out of my house this
instant and wait for me, I will be with you in a quarter of an hour."
So saying, I took the poor chevalier by the shoulders, and giving him
sundry shakes I turned him out of the room. He came back and called
to the lady to come, too, but she rose and tried to quiet me.
"You ought to be more considerate towards a lover," said she, "for he
would marry my daughter now, even after what she has done."
"I am aware of the fact, madam, and I have no doubt that his
courtship was one of the chief reasons which made your daughter
resolve to leave her home, for she hated him even more than she hated
"She has behaved very badly, but I promise not to say anything more
about marrying her. But I am sure you know all about it, as you gave
her fifty louis, without which she could not have done anything."
"Nay, not so."
"Do not deny it, sir; here is the evidence--a small piece of your
letter to her."
She gave me a scrap of the letter I had sent the daughter, with the
fifty louis for her brother. It contained the following lines,
"I hope that these wretched louis will convince you that I am ready
to sacrifice everything, my life if need be, to assure you of my
"I am far from disavowing this evidence of my esteem for your
daughter, but to justify myself I am obliged to tell you a fact which
I should have otherwise kept secret--namely, that I furnished your
daughter with this sum to enable her to pay your son's debts, for
which he thanked me in a letter which I can shew you."
"Your son, madam."
"I will make you an ample atonement for my suspicions."
Before I had time to make any objection, she ran down to fetch
Farsetti, who was waiting in the courtyard, and made him come up and
hear what I had just told her.
"That's not a likely tale," said the insolent fellow.
I looked at him contemptuously, and told him he was not worth
convincing, but that I would beg the lady to ask her son and see
whether I told the truth.
"I assure you," I added, "that I always urged your daughter to marry
M. de la Popeliniere."
"How can you have the face to say that," said Farsetti, "when you
talk in the letter of your affection?"
"I do not deny it," said I. "I loved her, and I was proud of my
affection for her. This affection, of whatever sort it may have been
(and that is not this gentleman's business), was the ordinary topic
of conversation between us. If she had told me that she was going to
leave her home, I should either have dissuaded her or gone with her,
for I loved her as I do at this moment; but I would never have given
her money to go alone."
"My dear Casanova," said the mother, "if you will help me to find her
I shall believe in your innocence."
"I shall be delighted to aid you, and I promise to commence the quest
"As soon as you have any news, come and tell me."
"You may trust me to do so," said I, and we parted.
I had to play my part carefully; especially it was essential that I
should behave in public in a manner consistent with my professions.
Accordingly, the next day I went to M. Chaban, first commissary of
police, requesting him to institute enquiries respecting the flight
of Mdlle. X. C. V. I was sure that in this way the real part I had
taken in the matter would be the better concealed; but the
commissary, who had the true spirit of his profession, and had liked
me when he first saw me six years before, began to laugh when he
heard what I wanted him to do.
"Do you really want the police to discover," said he, "where the
pretty Englishwoman is to be found?"
It then struck me that he was trying to make me talk and to catch me
tripping, and I had no doubt of it when I met Farsetti going in as I
was coming out.
Next day I went to acquaint Madame X. C. V. with the steps I had
taken, though as yet my efforts had not been crowned with success.
"I have been more fortunate than you," said she, "and if you will
come with me to the place where my daughter has gone, and will join
me in persuading her to return, all will be well."
"Certainly," said I, "I shall be most happy to accompany you."
Taking me at my word, she put on her cloak, and leaning on my arm
walked along till we came to a coach. She then gave me a slip of
paper, begging me to tell the coachman to drive us to the address
I was on thorns, and my heart beat fast, for I thought I should have
to read out the address of the convent. I do not know what I should
have done if my fears had been well grounded, but I should certainly
not have gone to the convent. At last I read what was written; it
was "Place Maubert," and I grew calm once more.
I told the coachman to drive us to the Place Maubert. We set off,
and in a short time stopped at the opening of an obscure back street
before a dirty-looking house, which did not give one a high idea of
the character of its occupants. I gave Madame X. C. V. my arm, and
she had the satisfaction of looking into every room in the five
floors of the house, but what she sought for was not there, and I
expected to see her overwhelmed with grief. I was mistaken, however.
She looked distressed but satisfied, and her eyes seemed to ask
pardon of me. She had found out from the coachman, who had taken her
daughter on the first stage of her journey, that she had alighted in
front of the house in question, and had gone down the back street.
She told me that the scullion had confessed that he had taken me
letters twice from his young mistress, and that Madelaine said all
the time that she was sure her mistress and I were in love with each
other. They played their parts well.
As soon as I had seen Madame X. C. V. safely home, I went to Madame
du Rumain to tell her what had happened; and I then wrote to my fair
recluse, telling her what had gone on in the world since her
Three or four days after this date, Madame du Rumain gave me the
first letter I received from Mdlle. X. C. V. She spoke in it of the
quiet life she was leading, and her gratitude to me, praised the
abbess and the lay-sister, and gave me the titles of the books they
lent her, which she liked reading. She also informed me what money
she had spent, and said she was happy in everything, almost in being
forbidden to leave her room.
I was delighted with her letter, but much more with the abbess's
epistle to Madame du Rumain. She was evidently fond of the girl, and
could not say too much in her praise, saying how sweet-tempered,
clever, and lady-like she was; winding up by assuring her friend that
she went to see her every day.
I was charmed to see the pleasure this letter afforded Madame du
Rumain--pleasure which was increased by the perusal of the letter I
had received. The only persons who were displeased were the poor
mother, the frightful Farsetti, and the old fermier, whose misfortune
was talked about in the clubs, the Palais-Royal, and the coffee-
houses. Everybody put me down for some share in the business, but I
laughed at their gossip, believing that I was quite safe.
All the same, la Popeliniere took the adventure philosophically and
made a one-act play out of it, which he had acted at his little
theatre in Paris. Three months afterwards he got married to a very
pretty girl, the daughter of a Bordeaux alderman. He died in the
course of two years, leaving his widow pregnant with a son, who came
into the world six months after the father's death. The unworthy
heir to the rich man had the face to accuse the widow of adultery,
and got the child declared illegitimate to the eternal shame of the
court which gave this iniquitous judgment and to the grief of every
honest Frenchman. The iniquitous nature of the judgment was
afterwards more clearly demonstrated--putting aside the fact that
nothing could be said against the mother's character--by the same
court having the, face to declare a child born eleven months after
the father's death legitimate.
I continued for ten days to call upon Madame X. C. V., but finding
myself coldly welcomed, decided to go there no more.
Fresh Adventures--J. J. Rousseau--I set Up A Business--Castel--Bajac
--A Lawsuit is Commenced Against Me--M. de Sartine
Mdlle. X. C. V. had now been in the convent for a month, and her
affair had ceased to be a common topic of conversation. I thought I
should hear no more of it, but I was mistaken. I continued, however,
to amuse myself, and my pleasure in spending freely quite prevented
me from thinking about the future. The Abbe de Bernis, whom I went
to see regularly once a week, told me one day that the comptroller-
general often enquired how I was getting on. "You are wrong," said
the abbe, "to neglect him." He advised me to say no more about my
claims, but to communicate to him the means I had spoken of for
increasing the revenues of the state. I laid too great store by the
advice of the man who had made my fortune not to follow it. I went
to the comptroller, and trusting in his probity I explained my scheme
to him. This was to pass a law by which every estate, except that
left by father to son, should furnish the treasury with one year's
income; every deed of gift formally drawn up being subject to the
same provision. It seemed to me that the law could not give offence
to anyone; the heir had only to imagine that he had inherited a year
later than was actually the case. The minister was of the same
opinion as myself, told me that there would not be the slightest
difficulty involved, and assured me that my fortune was made. In a
week afterwards his place was taken by M. de Silhouette, and when I
called on the new minister he told me coldly that when my scheme
became law he would tell me. It became law two years afterwards, and
when, as the originator of the scheme, I attempted to get my just
reward, they laughed in my face.
Shortly after, the Pope died, and he was succeeded by the Venetian
Rezzonico, who created my patron, the Abby de Bernis, a cardinal.
However, he had to go into exile by order of the king two days after
his gracious majesty had presented him with the red cap: so good a
thing it is to be the friend of kings!
The disgrace of my delightful abbe left me without a patron, but I
had plenty of money, and so was enabled to bear this misfortune with
For having undone all the work of Cardinal Richelieu, for having
changed the old enmity between France and Austria into friendship,
for delivering Italy from the horrors of war which befell her
whenever these countries had a bone to pick, although he was the
first cardinal made by a pope who had had plenty of opportunities for
discovering his character, merely because, on being asked, he had
given it as his opinion that the Prince de Soubise was not a fit
person to command the French armies, this great ecclesiastic was
driven into exile. The moment the Pompadour heard of this opinion of
his, she decreed his banishment--a sentence which was unpopular with
all classes of society; but they consoled themselves with epigrams,
and the new cardinal was soon forgotten. Such is the character of
the French people; it cares neither for its own misfortunes nor for
those of others, if only it can extract laughter from them.
In my time epigrammatists and poetasters who assailed ministers or
even the king's mistresses were sent to the Bastille, but the wits
still persisted in being amusing, and there were some who considered
a jest incomplete that was not followed by a prosecution. A man
whose name I have forgotten--a great lover of notoriety--appropriated
the following verses by the younger Crebellon and went to the
Bastille rather than disown them.
"All the world's upside down!
Jupiter has donned the gown--the King.
Venus mounts the council stair--the Pompadour.
Plutus trifles with the fair--M. de Boulogne.
Mercury in mail is drest--Marechal de Richelieu.
Mighty Mars has turned a priest--the Duc de Clermont, abbe of
Crebillon, who was not the sort of man to conceal his writings, told
the Duc de Choiseul that he had written some verses exactly like
these, but that it was possible the prisoner had been inspired with
precisely the same ideas. This jest was applauded, and the author of
"The Sofa" was let alone.
Cardinal de Bernis passed ten years in exile, 'procul negotiis', but
he was not happy, as he told me himself when I knew him in Rome
fifteen years afterwards. It is said that it is better to be a
minister than a king--an, opinion which seems ridiculous when it is
analyzed. The question is, which is the better, independence or its
contrary. The axiom may possibly be verified in a despotic
government under an absurd, weak, or careless king who serves as a
mere mask for his master the minister; but in all other cases it is
Cardinal de Bernis was never recalled; there is no instance of Louis
XV. having ever recalled a minister whom he had disgraced; but on the
death of Rezzonico he had to go to Rome to be present at the
conclave, and there he remained as French ambassador.
About this time Madame d'Urfe conceived a wish to make the
acquaintance of J. J. Rousseau, and we went to call upon him at
Montmorenci, on the pretext of giving him music to copy--an
occupation in which he was very skilled. He was paid twice the sum
given to any other copyist, but he guaranteed that the work should be
faultlessly done. At that period of his life copying music was the
great writer's sole means of subsistence.
We found him to be a man of a simple and modest demeanour, who talked
well, but who was not otherwise distinguished either intellectually
or physically. We did not think him what would be called a good-
natured man, and as he was far from having the manners of good
society Madame d'Urfe did not hesitate to pronounce him vulgar. We
saw the woman with whom he lived, and of whom we had heard, but she
scarcely looked at us. On our way home we amused ourselves by
talking about Rousseau's eccentric habits.
I will here note down the visit of the Prince of Conti (father of the
gentleman who is now known as the Comte de la March) to Rousseau.
The prince--a good-natured man-went by himself to Montmorenci, on
purpose to spend a day in conversation with the philosopher, who was
even then famous. He found him in the park, accosted him, and said
that he had come to dine with him and to talk without restraint.
"Your highness will fare but badly," said Rousseau: "however, I will
tell them to lay another knife and fork."
The philosopher gave his instructions, and came out and rejoined the
prince, with whom he walked up and down for two or three hours. When
it was dinner-time he took the prince into his dining-room, where the
table was laid for three.
"Who is going to dine with us?" said the prince. "I thought we were
to be alone."
"The third party," said Rousseau, "is my other self--a being who is
neither my wife, nor my mistress, nor my servant-maid, nor my mother,
nor my daughter, but yet personates all these characters at once."
"I daresay, my dear fellow, I daresay; but as I came to dine with you
alone, I will not dine with your--other self, but will leave you with
all the rest of you to keep your company."
So saying the prince bade him farewell and went out. Rousseau did
not try to keep him.
About this time I witnessed the failure of a play called 'Aristides'
Daughter', written by the ingenious Madame de Graffini, who died of
vexation five days after her play was damned. The Abbe de Voisenon
was horrified, as he had advised the lady to produce it, and was
thought to have had some hand in its composition, as well as in that
of the 'Lettres Peruviennes' and 'Cenie'. By a curious coincidence,
just about the same date, Rezzonico's mother died of joy because her
son had become pope. Grief and joy kill many more women than men,
which proves that if women have mere feeling than men they have also
When Madame d'Urfe thought that my adopted son was comfortably
settled in Viar's house, she made me go with her and pay him a visit.
I found him lodged like a prince, well dressed, made much of, and
almost looked up to. I was astonished, for this was more than I had
bargained for. Madame d'Urfe had given him masters of all sorts, and
a pretty little pony for him to learn riding on. He was styled M.
le Comte d'Aranda. A girl of sixteen, Viar's daughter, a fine-
looking young woman, was appointed to look after him, and she was
quite proud to call herself my lord's governess. She assured Madame
d'Urfe that she took special care of him; that as soon as he woke she
brought him his breakfast in bed; that she then dressed him, and did
not leave his side the whole day. Madame d'Urfe approved of
everything, told the girl to take even greater care of the count, and
promised that she should not go unrewarded. As for the young
gentleman, he was evidently quite happy, as he told me himself again
and again, but I suspected a mystery somewhere, and determined that I
would go and see him by myself another time and solve it.
On our journey home I told Madame d'Urfe how grateful I was for all
her goodness to the boy, and that I approved of all the arrangements
that had been made with the exception of the name Aranda, "which,"
said I, "may some day prove a thorn in his side." She answered that
the lad had said enough to convince her that he had a right to bear
that name. "I had," she said, "in my desk a seal with the arms of
the house of Aranda, and happening to take it up I shewed it him as
we shew trinkets to children to amuse them, but as soon as he saw it
he burst out,
"'How came you to have my arms?'
"Your arms!" I answered. "I got this seal from the Comte d'Aranda;
how can you prove that you are a scion of that race?"
"'Do not ask me, madam; my birth is a secret I can reveal to no
The imposition and above all the impudence of the young knave
astounded me. I should not have thought him capable of it, and a
week after I went to see him by myself to get at the bottom of all
I found my young count with Viar, who, judging by the awe the child
shewed of me, must have thought he belonged to me. He was unsparing
in his praises of his pupil, saying that he played the flute
capitally, danced and fenced admirably, rode well, and wrote a good
hand. He shewed me the pens he had cut himself with three, five, and
even nine points, and begged to be examined on heraldry, which, as
the master observed, was so necessary a science for a young nobleman.
The young gentleman then commenced in the jargon of heraldry to
blazon his own pretended arms, and I felt much inclined to burst into
laughter, partly because I did not understand a word he said, and
partly because he seemed to think the matter as important as would a
country squire with his thirty-two quarters. However, I was
delighted to see his dexterity in penmanship, which was undoubtedly
very great, and I expressed my satisfaction to Viar, who soon left us
to ourselves. We proceeded into the garden.
"Will you kindly inform me," I said, "how you can be so foolish as to
call yourself the Comte d'Aranda?"
He replied, with the utmost calmness, "I know it is foolish, but
leave me my title; it is of service to me here and gains me respect."
"It is an imposition I cannot wink at, as it may be fraught with
serious results, and may do harm to both of us. I should not have
thought that at your age you would be capable of such a knavish
trick. I know you did it out of stupidity, but after a certain limit
stupidity becomes criminal; and I cannot see how I am to remedy your
fault without disgracing you in the eyes of Madame d'Urfe."
I kept on scolding him till he burst into tears, saying,
"I had rather the shame of being sent back to my mother than the
shame of confessing to Madame d'Urfe that I had imposed on her; and I
could not bear to stay here if I had to give up my name."
Seeing that I could do nothing with him, unless, indeed, I sent him
to some place far removed from Paris under his proper name, I told
him to take comfort as I would try and do the best I could for both
"And now tell me--and take care to tell the truth--what sort of
feelings does Viar's daughter entertain for you?"
"I think, papa, that this is a case in which the reserve commended by
yourself, as well as by mother, would be appropriate."
"Yes, that sort of answer tells me a good deal, but I think you are
rather too knowing for your age. And you may as well observe that
when you are called upon for a confession, reserve is out of place,
and it's a confession I require from you."
"Well, papa, Viar's daughter is very fond of me, and she shews her
love in all sorts of ways."
"And do you love her?"
"Is she much with you in the morning?"
"She is with me the whole day."
"She is present when you go to bed?"
"Yes, she helps me to undress."
"I do not care to tell you."
I was astonished at the measured way in which he answered me, and as
I had heard enough to guess that the boy and girl were very good
friends indeed, I contented myself with warning him to take care of
his health, and with this I left him.
Some time after, my thoughts were occupied with a business
speculation which all my calculations assured me would be extremely
profitable. The plan was to produce on silks, by means of printing,
the exquisite designs which are produced at Lyons by the tedious
process of weaving, and thus to give customers excellent value at
much lower prices. I had the requisite knowledge of chemistry, and
enough capital to make the thing a success. I obtained the
assistance of a man with the necessary technical skill and knowledge,
intending to make him my manager.
I told my plan to the Prince de Conti, who encouraged me to
persevere, promising me his patronage, and all the privileges I could
wish for. That decided me to begin.
I rented a very large house near the Temple for a thousand crowns per
annum. The house contained a spacious hall, in which I meant to put
my workmen; another hall which was to be the shop; numerous rooms for
my workpeople to live in; and a nice room for myself in case I cared
to live on the premises.
I made the scheme into a company with thirty shares, of which I gave
five to my designer, keeping the remaining twenty-five to distribute
to those who were inclined to join the company. I gave one to a
doctor who, on giving surety, became the storekeeper, and came to
live in the house with his whole family; and I engaged four servants,
a waiting-maid, and a porter. I had to give another share to an
accountant, who furnished me with two clerks, who also took up their
abode in the house. The carpenters, blacksmiths, and painters worked
hard from morning to night, and in less than three weeks the place
was ready. I told the manager to engage twenty girls to paint, who
were to be paid every Saturday. I stocked the warehouse with three
hundred pieces of sarcenet and camlet of different shades and colours
to receive the designs, and I paid for everything in ready money.
I had made an approximate calculation with my manager that I should
have to spend three hundred thousand francs, and that would not break
me. If the worst happened I could fall back on my shares, which
produced a good income, but I hoped I should not be compelled to do
so, as I wanted to have an income of two hundred thousand francs a
All the while I did not conceal from myself that the speculation
might be my ruin, if custom did not come in, but on looking at my
beautiful materials these fears were dispelled, especially as I heard
everybody saying that I sold them much too cheap.
To set up the business I spent in the course of a month about sixty
thousand francs, and my weekly expenses amounted to twelve hundred
As for Madame d'Urfe she laughed every time she saw me, for she was
quite certain that this business was only meant to put the curious
off the scent and to preserve my incognito: so persuaded was she of
The sight of twenty girls, all more or less pretty, the eldest of
whom was not twenty-five, far from making me tremble as it ought,
delighted me. I fancied myself in the midst of a seraglio, and I
amused myself by watching their meek and modest looks as they did
their work under the direction of the foreman. The best paid did not
get more than twenty-four sous a day, and all of them had excellent
reputations, for they had been selected at her own request by the
manager's wife, a devout woman of ripe age, whom I hoped to find
obliging if the fancy seized me to test her choice. Manon Baletti
did not share my satisfaction in them. She trembled to see me the
owner of a harem, well knowing that sooner or later the barque of my
virtue would run on the rocks. She scolded me well about these
girls, though I assured her that none of them slept in the house.
This business increased my own ideas of my importance; partly from
the thought that I was on the high road to fortune, and partly
because I furnished so many people with the means of subsistence.
Alas! I was too fortunate; and my evil genius soon crossed my career.
It was now three months since Mdlle. X. C. V. had gone into the
convent, and the time of her delivery drew near. We wrote to each
other twice a week, and I considered the matter happily settled; M.
de la Popeliniere had married, and when Mdlle. X. C. V. returned to
her mother there would be nothing more to be said But just at this
period, when my happiness seemed assured, the hidden fire leapt forth
and threatened to consume me; how, the reader will see.
One day after leaving Madame d'Urfe's I went to walk in the
Tuileries. I had taken a couple of turns in the chief walk when I
saw that an old woman, accompanied by a man dressed in black, was
looking at me closely and communicating her observations to her
companion. There was nothing very astonishing in this in a public
place, and I continued my walk, and on turning again saw the same
couple still watching me. In my turn I looked at them, and
remembered seeing the man in a gaming-house, where he was known by
the name of Castel-Bajac. On scrutinizing the features of the hag, I
at last succeeded in recollecting who she was; she was the woman to
whom I had taken Mdlle. X. C. V. I felt certain that she had
recognized me, but not troubling myself about the matter I left the
gardens to walk elsewhere. The day after next, just as I was going
to get into my carriage, a man of evil aspect gave me a paper and
asked me to read it. I opened it, but finding it covered with an
illegible scrawl I gave it him back, telling him to read it himself.
He did so, and I found myself summoned to appear before the
commissary of police to answer to the plea which the midwife (whose
name I forget) brought against me.
Although I could guess what the charge would be, and was certain that
the midwife could furnish no proofs of her accusation, I went to an
attorney I knew and told him to appear for me. I instructed him that
I did not know any midwife in Paris whatsoever. The attorney waited
on the commissary, and on the day after brought me a copy of the
The midwife said that I came to her one night, accompanied by a young
lady about five months with child, and that, holding a pistol in one
hand and a packet of fifty Louis in the other, I made her promise to
procure abortion. We both of us (so she said) had masks on, thus.
shewing that we had been at the opera ball. Fear, said she, had
prevented her from flatly refusing to grant my request; but she had
enough presence of mind to say that the necessary drugs were not
ready, that she would have all in order by the next night; whereupon
we left, promising to return. In the belief that we would not fail
to keep the appointment, she went in to M. Castel-Bajac to ask him to
hide in the next room that she might be protected from my fury, and
that he might be a witness of what I said, but she had not seen me
again. She added that she would have given information the day after
the event if she had known who I was, but since M. Castel-Bajac had
told her my name on her recognizing me in the Tuileries, she had
thought it her bounden duty to deliver me to the law that she might
be compensated for the violence I had used to her. And this document
was signed by the said Castel-Bajac as a witness.
"This is an evident case of libel," said my attorney, "at least, if
she can't prove the truth of her allegations. My advice to you is to
take the matter before the criminal lieutenant, who will be able to
give you the satisfaction you require."
I authorized him to do what he thought advisable, and three or four
days after he told me that the lieutenant wished to speak to me in
private, and would expect me the same day at three o'clock in the
As will be expected, I was punctual to the appointment. I found the
magistrate to be a polite and good-hearted gentleman. He was, in
fact, the well-known M. de Sartine, who was the chief of police two
years later. His office of criminal lieutenant was saleable, and M.
de Sartine sold it when he was appointed head of the police.
As soon as I had made my bow, he asked me to sit down by him, and
addressed me as follows:
"I have asked you to call upon me in the interests of both of us, as
in your position our interests are inseparable. If you are innocent
of the charge which has been brought against you, you are quite right
to appeal to me; but before proceedings begin, you should tell me the
whole truth. I am ready to forget my position as judge, and to give
you my help, but you must see yourself that to prove the other side
guilty of slander, you must prove yourself innocent. What I want
from you is an informal and strictly confidential declaration, for
the case against you is a serious one, and of such a kind as to
require all your efforts to wipe off this blot upon your honour.
Your enemies will not respect your delicacy of feeling. They will
press you so hard that you will either be obliged to submit to a
shameful sentence, or to wound your feelings of honour in proving
your innocence. You see I am confiding in you, for in certain cases
honour seems so precious a thing to me that I am ready to defend it
with all the power of the law. Pay me back, then, in the same coin,
trust in me entirely, tell me the whole story without any reserves,
and you may rely upon my good offices. All will be well if you are
innocent, for I shall not be the less a judge because I am your
friend; but if you are guilty I am sorry for you, for I warn you that
I shall be just."
After doing my best to express my gratitude to him, I said that my
position did not oblige me to make any reservations on account of
honour, and that I had, consequently, no informal statement to make
"The midwife," I added, "is absolutely unknown to me. She is most
likely an abandoned woman, who with her worthy companion wants to
cheat me of my money."
"I should be delighted to think so," he answered, "but admitting the
fact, see how chance favours her, and makes it a most difficult thing
for you to prove your innocence.
"The young lady disappeared three months ago. She was known to be
your intimate friend, you called upon her at all hours; you spent a
considerable time with her the day before she disappeared, and no one
knows what has become of her; but everyone's suspicions point at you,
and paid spies are continually dogging your steps. The midwife sent
me a requisition yesterday by her counsel, Vauversin. She says that
the pregnant lady you brought to her house is the same whom Madame X.
C. V. is searching for. She also says that you both wore black
dominoes, and the police have ascertained that you were both at the
ball in black dominoes on the same night as that on which the midwife
says you came to her house; you are also known to have left the ball-
room together. All this, it is true, does not constitute full proof
of your guilt, but it makes one tremble for your innocence."
"What cause have I to tremble?"
"What cause! Why a false witness, easily enough hired for a little
money, might swear with impunity that he saw you come from the opera
together; and a coachman in the same way might swear he had taken you
to the midwife's. In that case I should be compelled to order your
arrest and examination, with a view to ascertain the name of the
person whom you took with you. Do you realize that you are accused
of procuring abortion; that three months have gone by without the
lady's retreat having been discovered; that she is said to be dead.
Do you realize, in short, what a very serious charge murder is?"
"Certainly; but if I die innocent, you will have condemned me
wrongly, and will be more to be pitied than I."
"Yes, yes, but that wouldn't make your case any better. You may be
sure, however, that I will not condemn an innocent man; but I am
afraid that you will be a long time in prison before you succeed in
proving your innocence. To be brief, you see that in twenty-four
hours the case looks very bad, and in the course of a week it might
look very much worse. My interest was aroused in your favour by the
evident absurdity of the accusations, but it is the other
circumstances about the case which make it a serious one for you. I
can partly understand the circumstances, and the feelings of love and
honour which bid you be silent. I have spoken to you, and I hope you
will have no reserves with me. I will spare you all the unpleasant
circumstances which threaten you, believing, as I do, that you are
innocent. Tell me all, and be sure that the lady's honour will not
suffer; but if, on the other hand, you are unfortunately guilty of
the crimes laid to your charge, I advise you to be prudent, and to
take steps which it is not my business to suggest. I warn you that
in three or four days I shall cite you to the bar of the court, and
that you will then find in me only the judge--just, certainly, but
severe and impartial."
I was petrified; for these words shewed me my danger in all its
nakedness. I saw how I should esteem this worthy man's good offices,
and said to him in quite another tone, that innocent as I was, I saw
that my best course was to throw myself on his kindness respecting
Mdlle. X. C. V., who had committed no crime, but would lose her
reputation by this unhappy business.
"I know where she is," I added, "and I may tell you that she would
never have left her mother if she had not endeavoured to force her
into a marriage she abhorred"
"Well, but the man is now married; let her return to her mother's
house, and you will be safe, unless the midwife persists in
maintaining that you incited her to procure abortion."
"There is no abortion in the matter; but other reasons prevent her
returning to her family. I can tell you no more without obtaining
the consent of another party. If I succeed in doing so I shall be
able to throw the desired light on the question. Be kind enough to
give me a second hearing on the day after to-morrow."
"I understand. I shall be delighted to hear what you have to say.
I thank and congratulate you. Farewell!"
I was on the brink of the precipice, but I was determined to leave
the kingdom rather than betray the honour of my poor dear sweetheart.
If it had been possible, I would gladly have put an end to the case
with money; but it was too late. I was sure that Farsetti had the
chief hand in all this trouble, that he was continually on my track,
and that he paid the spies mentioned by M. de Sartine. He it was who
had set Vauversin, the barrister, after me, and I had no doubt that
he would do all in his power to ruin me.
I felt that my only course was to tell the whole story to M. de
Sartine, but to do that I required Madame du Rumain's permission.
My Examination I Give the Clerk Three Hundred Louis--The Midwife and
Cartel-Bajac Imprisoned--Mdlle. X. C. V. Is Brought to Bed of a Son
and Obliges Her Mother to Make Me Amends--The Suit Against Me Is
Quashed--Mdlle. X. C. V. Goes With Her Mother to Brussels and From
Thence to Venice, Where She Becomes a Great Lady--My Work-girls--
Madame Baret--I Am Robbed, Put in Prison, and Set at Liberty Again--
I Go to Holland--Helvetius' "Esprit"--Piccolomini
The day after my interview with M. de Sartine I waited on Madame du
Rumain at an early hour. Considering the urgency of the case I took
the liberty of rousing her from her slumbers, and as soon as she was
ready to receive me I told her all.
"There can be no hesitation in the matter," said this delightful
woman. "We must make a confidant of M. de Sartine, and I will speak
to him myself to-day without fail."
Forthwith she went to her desk and wrote to the criminal lieutenant
asking him to see her at three o'clock in the afternoon. In less
than an hour the servant returned with a note in which he said he
would expect her. We agreed that I should come again in the evening,
when she would tell me the result of her interview.
I went to the house at five o'clock, and had only a few minutes to
"I have concealed nothing," said she; "he knows that she is on the
eve of her confinement, and that you are not the father, which speaks
highly for your generosity. I told him that as soon as the
confinement was over, and the young lady had recovered her health,
she would return to her mother, though she would make no confession,
and that the child should be well looked after. You have now nothing
to fear, and can calm yourself; but as the case must go on you will
be cited before the court the day after to-morrow. I advise you to
see the clerk of the court on some pretext or other, and to make him
accept a sum of money."
I was summoned to appear, and I appeared. I saw M. de Sartine,
'sedentem pro tribunali'. At the end of the sitting he told me that
he was obliged to remand me, and that during my remand I must not
leave Paris or get married, as all my civil rights were in suspense
pending the decision. I promised to follow his commands.
I acknowledged in my examination that I was at the ball in a black
domino on the night named in my accusation, but I denied everything
else. As for Mdlle. X. C. V., I said that neither I nor anyone of
her family had any suspicion that she was with child.
Recollecting that I was an alien, and that this circumstance might
make Vauversin call for my arrest, on the plea that I might fly the
kingdom, I thought the moment opportune for making interest with the
clerk of the court, and I accordingly paid him a visit. After
telling him of my fears, I slipped into his hand a packet of three
hundred louis, for which I did not ask for a receipt, saying that
they were to defray expenses if I were mulcted in costs. He advised
me to require the midwife to give bail for her appearance, and I told
my attorney to do so; but, four days after, the following incident
I was walking in the Temple Gardens, when I was accosted by a
Savoyard, who gave me a note in which I was informed that somebody in
an alley, fifty paces off, wanted to speak to me. "Either a love
affair or a challenge," I said to myself, "let's see." I stopped my
carriage, which was following me, and went to the place.
I cannot say how surprised I was to see the wretched Cartel-Bajac
standing before me. "I have only a word to say," said he, when he
saw me. "We will not be overheard here. The midwife is quite sure
that you are the man who brought a pregnant lady to her, but she is
vexed that you are accused of making away with her. Give her a
hundred louis; she will then declare to the court that she has been
mistaken, and your trouble will be ended. You need not pay the money
till she has made her declaration; we will take your word for it.
Come with me and talk it over with Vauversin. I am sure he will
persuade you to do as I suggest. I know where to find him, follow me
at some distance."
I had listened to him in silence, and I was delighted to see that the
rascals were betraying themselves. "Very good," said I to the
fellow, "you go on, and I will follow." I went after him to the
third floor of a house in the Rue aux Ours, where I found Vauversin
the barrister. No sooner had I arrived than he went to business
without any prefatory remarks.
"The midwife," he said, "will call on you with a witness apparently
with the intention of maintaining to your face that you are her man;
but she won't be able to recognize you. She will then proceed with
the witness to the court, and will declare that she has made a
mistake, and the criminal lieutenant will forthwith put an end to the
proceedings. You will thus be certain of gaining your case against
the lady's mother."
I thought the plan well conceived, and said that they would find me
at the Temple any day up to noon.
"But the midwife wants a hundred louis badly."
"You mean that the worthy woman rates her perjury at that price.
Well, never mind, I will pay the money, and you may trust to my word;
but I can't do so before she has taken oath to her mistake before the
"Very good, but you must first give me twenty-five louis to reimburse
me for my costs and fees."
"Certainly, if you will give me a formal receipt for the money."
He hesitated at first, but after talking it over the money proved too
strong a bait, and he wrote out the receipt and I gave him the
twenty-five louis. He thanked me, and said that though Madame X. C.
V. was his client, he would let me know confidentially how best to
put a stop to the proceedings. I thanked him with as much gratitude
as if I had really intended to make use of his services, and I left
to write and tell M. de Sartine what had taken place.
Three days afterwards I was told that a man and woman wanted to see
me. I went down and asked the woman what she wanted.
"I want to speak to M. Casanova."
"I am he."
"Then I have made a mistake, for which I hope you will forgive me."
Her companion smiled, and they went off.
The same day Madame du Rumain had a letter from the abbess telling
her that her young friend had given birth to a fine boy, who had been
sent away to a place where he would be well looked after. She stated
that the young lady could not leave the convent for the next six
weeks, at the end of which time she could return to her mother with a
certificate which would protect her from all annoyance.
Soon after the midwife was put in solitary confinement, Castel-Bajac
was sent to The Bicetre, and Vauversin's name was struck off the
rolls. The suit instituted against me by Madame X. C. V. went on
till her daughter reappeared, but I knew that I had nothing to fear.
The girl returned to her mother about the end of August armed with a
certificate from the abbess, who said she had been under her
protection for four months, during which time she had never left the
convent or seen any persons from outside. This was perfectly true,
but the abbess added that her only reason for her going back to her
family was that she had nothing more to dread from the attentions of
M. de la Popeliniere, and in this the abbess lied.
Mdlle. X. C. V. profited by the delight of her mother in seeing her
again safe and sound, and made her wait on M. de Sartine with the
abbess's certificate, stop all proceedings against me, and withdraw
all the charges she had made. Her daughter told her that if I liked
I might claim damages for libel, and that if she did not wish to
injure her reputation she would say nothing more about what had
The mother wrote me a letter of the most satisfactory character,
which I had registered in court, thus putting an end to the
prosecution. In my turn I wrote to congratulate her on the recovery
of her daughter, but I never set foot in her house again, to avoid
any disagreeable scenes with Farsetti.
Mdlle. X. C. V. could not stay any longer in Paris, where her tale
was known to everyone, and Farsetti took her to Brussels with her
sister Madelaine. Some time after, her mother followed her, and they
then went on to Venice, and there in three years' time she became a
great lady. 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.
In four years the reader will hear more of Castel-Bajac. Towards the
end of the same year (1759), before I went to Holland, I spent
several hundred francs to obtain the release of the midwife.
I lived like a prince, and men might have thought me happy, but I was
not. The enormous expenses I incurred, my love of spending money,
and magnificent pleasures, warned me, in spite of myself, that there
were rocks ahead. My business would have kept me going for a long
time, if custom had not been paralyzed by the war; but as it was, I,
like everybody else, experienced the effect of bad times. My
warehouse contained four hundred pieces of stuffs with designs on
them, but as I could not hope to dispose of them before the peace,
and as peace seemed a long way off, I was threatened with ruin.
With this fear I wrote to Esther to get her father to give me the
remainder of my money, to send me a sharp clerk, and to join in my
speculation. M. d'O---- said that if I would set up in Holland he
would become responsible for everything and give me half profits, but
I liked Paris too well to agree to so good an offer. I was sorry for
I spent a good deal of money at my private house, but the chief
expense of my life, which was unknown to others but which was ruining
me, was incurred in connection with the girls who worked in my
establishment. With my complexion and my pronounced liking for
variety, a score of girls, nearly all of them pretty and seductive,
as most Paris girls are, was a reef on which my virtue made shipwreck
every day. Curiosity had a good deal to do with it, and they
profited by my impatience to take possession by selling their favours
dearly. They all followed the example of the first favourite, and
everyone claimed in turn an establishment, furniture, money, and
jewels; and I knew too little of the value of money to care how much
they asked. My fancy never lasted longer than a week, and often
waned in three or four days, and the last comer always appeared the
most worthy of my attentions.
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