Return to Rome, Casanova, v28
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
Part 1 out of 3
This etext was produced by David Widger
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6c--ROME
THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA DE SEINGALT
THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN TO
WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.
RETURN TO ROME
Rome--The Actor's Punishment--Lord Baltimore--Naples--Sara Goudar--
Departure of Betty--Agatha--Medina--Albergoni--Miss Chudleigh--The Prince
of Francavilla--The Swimmers
As I fell over the Englishman I had struck my hand against a nail, and
the fourth finger of my left hand was bleeding as if a vein had been
opened. Betty helped me to tie a handkerchief around the wound, while Sir
B---- M---- read the letter with great attention. I was much pleased
with Betty's action, it shewed she was confident, and sure of her lover's
I took up my coat and carpet-bag, and went into the next room to change
my linen, and dress for dinner. Any distress at the termination of my
intrigue with Betty was amply compensated for by my joy at the happy
ending of a troublesome affair which might have proved fatal for me.
I dressed myself, and then waited for half an hour, as I heard Betty and
Sir B---- M---- speaking in English calmly enough, and I did not care to
interrupt them. At last the Englishman knocked at my door, and came in
looking humble and mortified. He said he was sure I had not only saved
Betty, but had effectually cured her of her folly.
"You must forgive my conduct, sir," said he, "for I could not guess that
the man I found with her was her saviour and not her betrayer. I thank
Heaven which inspired you with the idea of catching hold of me from
behind, as I should certainly have killed you the moment I set eyes on
you, and at this moment I should be the most wretched of men. You must
forgive me, sir, and become my friend."
I embraced him cordially, telling him that if I had been in his place I
should have acted in a precisely similar manner.
We returned to the room, and found Betty leaning against the bed, and
The blood continuing to flaw from my wound, I sent for a surgeon who said
that a vein had been opened, and that a proper ligature was necessary.
Betty still wept, so I told Sir B---- M---- that in my opinion she
deserved his forgiveness.
"Forgiveness?" said he, "you may be sure I have already forgiven her, and
she well deserves it. Poor Betty repented directly you shewed her the
path she was treading, and the tears she is shedding now are tears of
sorrow at her mistake. I am sure she recognizes her folly, and will
never be guilty of such a slip again."
Emotion is infectious. Betty wept, Sir B---- M---- wept, and I wept to
keep them company. At last nature called a truce, and by degrees our
sobs and tears ceased and we became calmer.
Sir B---- M----, who was evidently a man of the most generous character,
began to laugh and jest, and his caresses had great effect in calming
Betty. We made a good dinner, and the choice Muscat put us all in the
best of spirits.
Sir B---- M---- said we had better rest for a day or two; he had
journeyed fifteen stages in hot haste, and felt in need of repose.
He told us that on arriving at Leghorn, and finding no Betty there, he
had discovered that her trunk had been booked to Rome, and that the
officer to whom it belonged had hired a horse, leaving a watch as a
pledge for it. Sir B---- M---- recognized Betty's watch, and feeling
certain that she was either on horseback with her seducer or in the wagon
with her trunk, he immediately resolved to pursue.
"I provided myself," he added, "with two good pistols, not with the idea
of using one against her, for my first thought about her was pity, and my
second forgiveness; but I determined to blow out the scoundrel's brains,
and I mean to do it yet. We will start for Rome to-morrow."
Sir B---- M----'s concluding words filled Betty with joy, and I believe
she would have pierced her perfidious lover to the heart if he had been
brought before her at that moment.
"We shall find him at Roland's," said I.
Sir B---- M---- took Betty in his arms, and gazed at me with an air of
content, as if he would have shewn me the greatness of an English heart--
a greatness which more than atones for its weakness.
"I understand your purpose," I said, "but you shall not execute your
plans without me. Let me have the charge of seeing that justice is done
you. If you will not agree, I shall start for Rome directly, I shall get
there before you, and shall give the wretched actor warning of your
approach. If you had killed him before I should have said nothing, but
at Rome it is different, and you would have reason to repent of having
indulged your righteous indignation. You don't know Rome and priestly
justice. Come, give me your hand and your word to do nothing without my
consent, or else I shall leave you directly."
Sir B---- M---- was a man of my own height but somewhat thinner, and five
or six years older; the reader will understand his character without my
My speech must have rather astonished him, but he knew that my
disposition was benevolent, and he could not help giving me his hand and
"Yes, dearest," said Betty, "leave vengeance to the friend whom Heaven
has sent us."
"I consent to do so, provided everything is done in concert between us."
After this we parted, and Sir B---- M----, being in need of rest, I went
to tell the vetturino that we should start for Rome again on the
"For Rome! Then you have found your pocketbook? It seems to me, my good
sir, that you would have been wiser not to search for it."
The worthy man, seeing my hand done up in lint, imagined I had fought a
duel, and indeed everybody else came to the same conclusion.
Sir B---- M---- had gone to bed, and I spent the rest of the day in the
company of Betty, who was overflowing with the gratitude. She said we
must forget what had passed between us, and be the best of friends for
the rest of our days, without a thought of any further amorous relations.
I had not much difficulty in assenting to this condition.
She burned with the desire for vengeance on the scoundrelly actor who had
deceived her; but I pointed out that her duty was to moderate Sir B----
M----'s passions, as if he attempted any violence in Rome it might prove
a very serious matter for him, besides its being to the disadvantage of
his reputation to have the affair talked of.
"I promise you," I added, "to have the rogue imprisoned as soon as we
reach Rome, and that ought to be sufficient vengeance for you. Instead
of the advantages he proposed for himself, he will receive only shame and
all the misery of a prison."
Sir B---- M---- slept seven or eight hours, and rose to find that a good
deal of his rage had evaporated. He consented to abide by my
arrangements, if he could have the pleasure of paying the fellow a visit,
as he wanted to know him.
After this sensible decision and a good supper I went to my lonely couch
without any regret, for I was happy in the consciousness of having done a
We started at day-break the next morning, and when we reached
Acquapendente we resolved to post to Rome. By the post the journey took
twelve hours, otherwise we should have been three days on the road.
As soon as we reached Rome I went to the customhouse and put in the
document relating to Betty's trunk. The next day it was duly brought to
our inn and handed over to Betty.
As Sir B---- M---- had placed the case in my hands I went to the
bargello, an important person at Rome, and an expeditious officer when he
sees a case clearly and feels sure that the plaintiffs do not mind
spending their money. The bargello is rich, and lives well; he has an
almost free access to the cardinal-vicar, the governor, and even the Holy
He gave me a private interview directly, and I told him the whole story,
finally saying that all we asked for was that the rogue should be
imprisoned and afterwards expelled from Rome.
"You see," I added, "that our demand is a very moderate one, and we could
get all we want by the ordinary channels of the law; but we are in a
hurry, and I want you to take charge of the whole affair. If you care to
do so we shall be prepared to defray legal expenses to the extent of
The bargello asked me to give him the bill of exchange and all the
effects of the adventurer, including the letters.
I had the bill in my pocket and gave it him on the spot, taking a receipt
in exchange. I told him to send to the inn for the rest.
"As soon as I have made him confess the facts you allege against him,"
said the bargello, "we shall be able to do something. I have already
heard that he is at Roland's, and has been trying to get the
Englishwoman's trunk. If you liked to spend a hundred crowns instead of
fifty we could send him to the galleys for a couple of years."
"We will see about that," said I, "for the present we will have him into
He was delighted to hear that the horse was not l'Etoile's property, and
said that if I liked to call at nine o'clock he would have further news
I said I would come. I really had a good deal to do at Rome. I wanted
to see Cardinal Bernis in the first place, but I postponed everything to
the affair of the moment.
I went back to the inn and was told by a valet de place, whom Sir B----
M---- had hired, that the Englishman had gone to bed.
We were in need of a carriage, so I summoned the landlord and was
astonished to find myself confronted by Roland in person.
"How's this?" I said. "I thought you were still at the Place d'Espagne."
"I have given my old house to my daughter who has married a prosperous
Frenchman, while I have taken this palace where there are some
"Has your daughter many foreigners staying at her house now?"
"Only one Frenchman, the Comte de l'Etoile, who is waiting for his
equipage to come on. He has an excellent horse, and I am thinking of
buying it from him."
"I advise you to wait till to-morrow, and to say nothing about the advice
I have given you."
"Why should I wait?"
"I can't say any more just now."
This Roland was the father of the Therese whom I had loved nine years
before, and whom my brother Jean had married in 1762, a year after my
departure. Roland told me that my brother was in Rome with Prince
Beloselski, the Russian ambassador to the Court of Saxony.
"I understood that my brother could not come to Rome."
"He came with a safe-conduct which the Dowager Electress of Saxony
obtained for him from the Holy Father. He wants his case to be re-tried,
and there he makes a mistake, for if it were heard a hundred times the
sentence would continue the same. No one will see him, everyone avoids
him, even Mengs will have nothing to say to him."
"Mengs is here, is he? I though he had been at Madrid."
"He has got leave of absence for a year, but his family remains in
After hearing all this news which was far from pleasant to me, as I did
not wish to see Mengs or my brother, I went to bed, leaving orders that
I was to be roused in time for dinner.
In an hour's time I was awakened by the tidings that some one was waiting
to give me a note. It was one of the bargello's men, who had come to
take over l'Etoile's effects.
At dinner I told Sir B---- M---- what I had done, and we agreed that he
should accompany me to the bargello's in the evening.
In the afternoon we visited some of the principal palaces, and after
taking Betty back to the inn we went to the bargello, who told us our man
was already in prison, and that it would cost very little to send him to
"Before making up my mind I should like to speak to him," said Sir B----
"You can do so to-morrow. He confessed everything without any trouble,
and made a jest of it, saying he was not afraid of any consequences, as
the young lady had gone with him of her own free will. I shewed him the
bill of exchange, but he evinced no emotion whatever. He told me that he
was an actor by profession, but also a man of rank. As to the horse, he
said he was at perfect liberty to sell it, as the watch he had left in
pledge was worth more than the beast."
I had forgotten to inform the bargello that the watch aforesaid belonged
We gave the worthy official fifty crowns, and supped with Betty, who had,
as I have remarked, recovered her trunk, and had been busying herself in
putting her things to rights.
She was glad to hear that the rascal was in prison, but she did not seem
to wish to pay him a visit.
We went to see him in the afternoon of the next day.
The bargello had assigned us an advocate, who made out a document
demanding payment by the prisoner of the expenses of the journey, and of
his arrest, together with a certain sum as compensation to the person
whom he had deceived, unless he could prove his right to the title of
count in the course of six weeks.
We found l'Etoile with this document in his hand; someone was translating
it for him into French.
As soon as the rascal saw me, he said, with a laugh, that I owed him
twenty-five Louis as he had left Betty to sleep with me.
The Englishman told him he lied; it was he that had slept with her.
"Are you Betty's lover?" asked l'Etoile.
"Yes, and if I had caught you with her I should have blown out your
brains, for you have deceived her doubly; you're only a beggarly actor."
"I have three thousand crowns."
"I will pay six thousand if the bill proves to be a good one. In the
meanwhile you will stay here, and if it be false, as I expect it is, you
will go to the galleys."
"I shall speak to my counsel."
We went out and called on the advocate, for Sir B---- M---- had a lively
desire to send the impudent rascal to the galleys. However, it could not
be done, for l'Etoile said he was quite ready to give up the bill, but
that he expected Sir B---- M---- to pay a crown a day for his keep while
he remained in prison.
Sir B---- M---- thought he would like to see something of Rome, as he was
there, and was obliged to buy almost everything as he had left his
belongings behind him, while Betty was well provided for as her trunk was
of immense capacity. I went with them everywhere; it was not exactly the
life I liked, but there would be time for me to please myself after they
had gone. I loved Betty without desiring her, and I had taken a liking
to the Englishman who had an excellent heart. At first he wanted to stay
a fortnight at Rome, and then to return to Leghorn; but his friend Lord
Baltimore, who had come to Rome in the meanwhile, persuaded him to pay a
short visit to Naples.
This nobleman, who had with him a very pretty Frenchwoman and two
servants, said he would see to the journey, and that I must join the
party. I had made his acquaintance at London.
I was glad to have the opportunity of seeing Naples again. We lodged at
the "Crocielles" at Chiaggia, or Chiaja, as the Neapolitans call it.
The first news I heard was the death of the Duke of Matalone and the
marriage of his widow with Prince Caramanica.
This circumstance put an end to some of my hopes, and I only thought of
amusing myself with my friends, as if I had never been at Naples before.
Lord Baltimore had been there several times, but his mistress, Betty, and
Sir B---- M----, were strangers, and wanted to see everything. I
accordingly acted as cicerone, for which part I and my lord, too, were
much better qualified than the tedious and ignorant fellows who had an
official right to that title.
The day after our arrival I was unpleasantly surprised to see the
notorious Chevalier Goudar, whom I had known at London. He called on
This famous rout had a house at Pausilippo, and his wife was none other
than the pretty Irish girl Sara, formerly a drawer in a London tavern.
The reader has been already introduced to her. Goudar knew I had met
her, so he told me who she was, inviting us all to dine with him the next
Sara skewed no surprise nor confusion at the sight of me, but I was
petrified. She was dressed with the utmost elegance, received company
admirably, spoke Italian with perfect correctness, talked sensibly, and
was exquisitely beautiful; I was stupefied; the metamorphosis was so
In a quarter of an hour five or six ladies of the highest rank arrived,
with ten or twelve dukes, princes, and marquises, to say nothing of a
host of distinguished strangers.
The table was laid for thirty, but before dinner Madame Goudar seated
herself at the piano, and sang a few airs with the voice of a siren, and
with a confidence that did not astonish the other guests as they knew
her, but which astonished me extremely, for her singing was really
Goudar had worked this miracle. He had been educating her to be his wife
for six or seven years.
After marrying her he had taken her to Paris, Vienna, Venice, Florence,
Rome, etc., everywhere seeking fortune, but in vain. Finally he had come
to Naples, where he had brought his wife into the fashion of obliging her
to renounce in public the errors of the Anglican heresy. She had been
received into the Catholic Church under the auspices of the Queen of
Naples. The amusing part in all this was that Sara, being an Irishwoman,
had been born a Catholic, and had never ceased to be one.
All the nobility, even to the Court, went to see Sara, while she went
nowhere, for no one invited her. This kind of thing is a characteristic
of nobility all the world over.
Goudar told me all these particulars, and confessed that he only made his
living by gaming. Faro and biribi were the only pillars of his house;
but they must have been strong ones, for he lived in great style.
He asked me to join with him, and I did not care to refuse; my purse was
fast approaching total depletion, and if it were not for this resource I
could not continue living in the style to which I had been accustomed.
Having taken this resolution I declined returning to Rome with Betty and
Sir B---- M-----, who wanted to repay me all I had spent on her account.
I was not in a position to be ostentatious, so I accepted his generous
Two months later I heard that l'Etoile had been liberated by the
influence of Cardinal Bernis, and had left Rome. Next year I heard at
Florence that Sir B---- M----- had returned to England, where no doubt he
married Betty as soon as he became a widower.
As for the famous Lord Baltimore he left Naples a few days after my
friends, and travelled about Italy in his usual way. Three years later
he paid for his British bravado with his life. He committed the wild
imprudence of traversing the Maremma in August, and was killed by the
I stopped at "Crocielles," as all the rich foreigners came to live there.
I was thus enabled to make their acquaintance, and put them in the way of
losing their money at Goudar's. I did not like my task, but
circumstances were too strong for me.
Five or six days after Betty had left I chanced to meet the Abby Gama,
who had aged a good deal, but was still as gay and active as ever. After
we had told each other our adventures he informed me that, as all the
differences between the Holy See and the Court of Naples had been
adjusted, he was going back to Rome.
Before he went, however, he said he should like to present me to a lady
whom he was sure I should be very glad to see again.
The first persons I thought of were Donna Leonilda, or Donna Lucrezia,
her mother; but what was my surprise to see Agatha, the dancer with whom
I had been in love at Turin after abandoning the Corticelli.
Our delight was mutual, and we proceeded to tell each other the incidents
of our lives since we had parted.
My tale only lasted a quarter of an hour, but Agatha's history was a long
She had only danced a year at Naples. An advocate had fallen in love
with her, and she shewed me four pretty children she had given him. The
husband came in at supper-time, and as she had often talked to him about
me he rushed to embrace me as soon as he heard my name. He was an
intelligent man, like most of the pagletti of Naples. We supped together
like old friends, and the Abbe Gama going soon after supper I stayed with
them till midnight, promising to join them at dinner the next day.
Although Agatha was in the very flower of her beauty, the old fires were
not rekindled in me. I was ten years older. My coolness pleased me, for
I should not have liked to trouble the peace of a happy home.
After leaving Agatha I proceeded to Goudar's, in whose bank I took a
strong interest. I found a dozen gamesters round the table, but what was
my surprise to recognize in the holder of the bank Count Medini.
Three or four days before this Medini had been expelled from the house of
M. de Choiseul, the French ambassador; he had been caught cheating at
cards. I had also my reason to be incensed against him; and, as the
reader may remember, we had fought a duel.
On glancing at the bank I saw that it was at the last gasp. It ought to
have held six hundred ounces, and there were scarcely a hundred. I was
interested to the extent of a third.
On examining the face of the punter who had made these ravages I guessed
the game. It was the first time I had seen the rascal at Goudar's.
At the end of the deal Goudar told me that this punter was a rich
Frenchman who had been introduced by Medini. He told me I should not
mind his winning that evening, as he would be sure to lose it all and a
good deal more another time.
"I don't care who the punter is," said I, "it is not of the slightest
consequence to me, as I tell you plainly that as long as Medini is the
banker I will have nothing to do with it."
"I have told Medini about it and wanted to take a third away from the
bank, but he seemed offended and said he would make up any loss to you,
but that he could not have the bank touched."
"Very good, but if he does not bring me my money by to-morrow morning
there will be trouble. Indeed, the responsibility lies with you, for I
have told you that as long as Medini deals I will have nothing to do with
"Of course you have a claim on me for two hundred ounces, but I hope you
will be reasonable; it would be rather hard for me to lose two-thirds."
Knowing Goudar to be a greater rascal than Medini, I did not believe a
word he said; and I waited impatiently for the end of the game.
At one o'clock it was all over. The lucky punter went off with his
pockets full of gold, and Medini, affecting high spirits, which were very
much out of place, swore his victory should cost him dear.
"Will you kindly give me my two hundred ounces," said I, "for, of course,
Gondar told you that I was out of it?"
"I confess myself indebted to you for that amount, as you absolutely
insist, but pray tell me why you refuse to be interested in the bank when
I am dealing."
"Because I have no confidence in your luck."
"You must see that your words are capable of a very unpleasant
"I can't prevent your interpreting my words as you please, but I have a
right to my own opinion. I want my two hundred ounces, and I am quite
willing to leave you any moneys you propose to make out of the conqueror
of to-night. You must make your arrangements with M. Goudar, and by noon
to-morrow, you, M. Goudar, will bring me that sum."
"I can't remit you the money till the count gives it me, for I haven't
got any money."
"I am sure you will have some money by twelve o'clock to-morrow morning.
I would not listen to any of their swindling arguments, and went home
without the slightest doubt that they were trying to cheat me. I
resolved to wash my hands of the whole gang as soon as I had got my money
back by fair means or foul.
At nine the next morning I received a note from Medini, begging me to
call on him and settle the matter. I replied that he must make his
arrangements with Goudar, and I begged to be excused calling on him.
In the course of an hour he paid me a visit, and exerted all his
eloquence to persuade me to take a bill for two hundred ounces, payable
in a week. I gave him a sharp refusal, saying that my business was with
Goudar and Gondar only, and that unless I received the money by noon I
should proceed to extremities. Medini raised his voice, and told me that
my language was offensive; and forthwith I took up a pistol and placed it
against his cheek, ordering him to leave the room. He turned pale, and
went away without a word.
At noon I went to Gondar's without my sword, but with two good pistols in
my pocket. Medini was there, and began by reproaching me with attempting
to assassinate him in my own house.
I took no notice of this, but told Gondar to give me my two hundred
Goudar asked Medini to give him the money.
There would undoubtedly have been a quarrel, if I had not been prudent
enough to leave the room, threatening Gondar with ruin if he did not send
on the money directly.
Just as I was leaving the house, the fair Sara put her head out of the
window, and begged me to come up by the back stairs and speak to her.
I begged to be excused, so she said she would come down, and in a moment
she stood beside me.
"You are in the right about your money," she said, "but just at present
my husband has not got any; you really must wait two or three days, I
will guarantee the payment."
"I am really sorry," I replied, "not to be able to oblige such a charming
woman, but the only thing that will pacify me is my money, and till I
have had it, you will see me no more in your house, against which I
Thereupon she drew from her finger a diamond ring, worth at least four
hundred ounces, and begged me to accept it as a pledge.
I took it, and left her after making my bow. She was doubtless
astonished at my behaviour, for in her state of deshabille she could not
have counted on my displaying such firmness.
I was very well satisfied with my victory, and went to dine with the
advocate, Agatha's husband. I told him the story, begging him to find
someone who would give me two hundred ounces on the ring.
"I will do it myself," said he; and he gave me an acknowledgment and two
hundred ounces on the spot. He then wrote in my name a letter to Goudar,
informing him that he was the depositary of the ring.
This done, I recovered my good temper.
Before dinner Agatha took me into her boudoir and shewed me all the
splendid jewels I had given her when I was rich and in love.
"Now I am a rich woman," said she, "and my good fortune is all your
making; so take back what you gave me. Don't be offended; I am so
grateful to you, and my good husband and I agreed on this plan this
To take away any scruples I might have, she shewed me the diamonds her
husband had given her; they had belonged to his first wife and were worth
a considerable sum.
My gratitude was too great for words, I could only press her hand, and
let my eyes speak the feelings of my heart. Just then her husband came
It had evidently been concerted between them, for the worthy man embraced
me, and begged me to accede to his wife's request.
We then joined the company which consisted of a dozen or so of their
friends, but the only person who attracted my attention was a very young
man, whom I set down at once as in love with Agatha. His name was
Don Pascal Latilla; and I could well believe that he would be successful
in love, for he was intelligent, handsome, and well-mannered. We became
friends in the course of the meal.
Amongst the ladies I was greatly pleased with one young girl. She was
only fourteen, but she looked eighteen. Agatha told me she was studying
singing, intending to go on the stage as she was so poor.
"So pretty, and yet poor?"
"Yes, for she will have all or nothing; and lovers of that kind are rare
"But she must have some lover?"
"If she has, no one has heard of him. You had better make her
acquaintance and go and see her. You will soon be friends."
"What's her name?"
"Callimena. The lady who is speaking to her is her aunt, and I expect
they are talking about you."
We sat down to the enjoyment of a delicate and abundant meal. Agatha, I
could see, was happy, and delighted to shew me how happy she was. The
old Abbe Gama congratulated himself on having presented me. Don Pascal
Latilla could not be jealous of the attentions paid me by his idol, for I
was a stranger, and they were my due; while her husband prided himself on
his freedom from those vulgar prejudices to which so many Neapolitans are
In the midst of all this gaiety I could not help stealing many a furtive
glance towards Callimena. I addressed her again and again, and she
answered me politely but so briefly as to give me no opportunity of
displaying my powers in the way of persiflage.
I asked if her name was her family name or a pseudonym.
"It is my baptismal name."
"It is Greek; but, of course, you know what it means?"
"Mad beauty, or fair moon."
"I am glad to say that I have nothing in common with my name."
"Have you any brothers or sisters?"
"I have only one married sister, with whom you may possibly be
"What is her name, and who is her husband?"
"Her husband is a Piedmontese, but she does not live with him."
"Is she the Madame Slopis who travels with Aston?"
"I can give you good news of her."
After dinner I asked Agatha how she came to know Callimena.
"My husband is her godfather."
"What is her exact age?"
"She's a simple prodigy! What loveliness!"
"Her sister is still handsomer."
"I have never seen her."
A servant came in and said M. Goudar would like to have a little private
conversation with the advocate.
The advocate came back in a quarter of an hour, and informed me that
Goudar had given him the two hundred ounces, and that he had returned him
"Then that's all settled, and I am very glad of it. I have certainly
made an eternal enemy of him, but that doesn't trouble me much."
We began playing, and Agatha made me play with Callimena, the freshness
and simplicity of whose character delighted me.
I told her all I knew about her sister, and promised I would write to
Turin to enquire whether she were still there. I told her that I loved
her, and that if she would allow me, I would come and see her. Her reply
was extremely satisfactory.
The next morning I went to wish her good day. She was taking a music
lesson from her master. Her talents were really of a moderate order, but
love made me pronounce her performance to be exquisite.
When the master had gone, I remained alone with her. The poor girl
overwhelmed me with apologies for her dress, her wretched furniture, and
for her inability to give me a proper breakfast.
"All that make you more desirable in my eyes, and I am only sorry that I
cannot offer you a fortune."
As I praised her beauty, she allowed me to kiss her ardently, but she
stopped my further progress by giving me a kiss as if to satisfy me.
I made an effort to restrain my ardour, and told her to tell me truly
whether she had a lover.
"And have you never had one?"
"Not even a fancy for anyone?"
"What, with your beauty and sensibility, is there no man in Naples who
has succeeded in inspiring you with desire?"
"No one has ever tried to do so. No one has spoken to me as you have,
and that is the plain truth."
"I believe you, and I see that I must make haste to leave Naples, if I
would not be the most unhappy of men."
"What do you mean?"
"I should love you without the hope of possessing you, and thus I should
be most unhappy."
"Love me then, and stay. Try and make me love you. Only you must
moderate your ecstacies, for I cannot love a man who cannot exercise
"As just now, for instance?"
"Yes. If you calm yourself I shall think you do so for my sake, and thus
love will tread close on the heels of gratitude."
This was as much as to tell me that though she did not love me yet I had
only to wait patiently, and I resolved to follow her advice. I had
reached an age which knows nothing of the impatient desires of youth.
I gave her a tender embrace, and as I was getting up to go I asked her if
she were in need of money.
This question male her blush, and she said I had better ask her aunt, who
was in the next room.
I went in, and was somewhat astonished to find the aunt seated between
two worthy Capuchins, who were talking small talk to her while she worked
at her needle. At a little distance three young girls sat sewing.
The aunt would have risen to welcome me, but I prevented her, asked her
how she did, and smilingly congratulated her on her company. She smiled
back, but the Capuchins sat as firm as two stocks, without honouring me
with as much as a glance.
I took a chair and sat down beside her.
She was near her fiftieth year, though some might have doubted whether
she would ever see it again; her manner was good and honest, and her
features bore the traces of the beauty that time had ruined.
Although I am not a prejudiced man, the presence of the two evil-smelling
monks annoyed me extremely. I thought the obstinate way in which they
stayed little less than an insult. True they were men like myself, in
spite of their goats' beards and dirty frocks, and consequently were
liable to the same desires as I; but for all that I found them wholly
intolerable. I could not shame them without shaming the lady, and they
knew it; monks are adepts at such calculations.
I have travelled all over Europe, but France is the only country in which
I saw a decent and respectable clergy.
At the end of a quarter of an hour I could contain myself no longer, and
told the aunt that I wished to say something to her in private. I
thought the two satyrs would have taken the hint, but I counted without
my host. The aunt arose, however, and took me into the next room.
I asked my question as delicately as possible, and she replied,--
"Alas! I have only too great a need of twenty ducats (about eighty
francs) to pay my rent."
I gave her the money on the spot, and I saw that she was very grateful,
but I left her before she could express her feelings.
Here I must tell my readers (if I ever have any) of an event which took
place on that same day.
As I was dining in my room by myself, I was told that a Venetian
gentleman who said he knew me wished to speak to me.
I ordered him to be shewn. in, and though his face was not wholly
unknown to me I could not recollect who he was.
He was tall, thin and wretched, misery and hunger spewing plainly in his
every feature; his beard was long, his head shaven, his robe a dingy
brown, and bound about him with a coarse cord, whence hung a rosary and a
dirty handkerchief. In the left hand he bore a basket, and in the right
a long stick; his form is still before me, but I think of him not as a
humble penitent, but as a being in the last state of desperation; almost
"Who are you?" I said at length. "I think I have seen you before, and
yet . . ."
"I will soon tell you my name and the story of my woes; but first give me
something to eat, for I am dying of hunger. I have had nothing but bad
soup for the last few days."
"Certainly; go downstairs and have your dinner, and then come back to me;
you can't eat and speak at the same time."
My man went down to give him his meal, and I gave instructions that I was
not to be left alone with him as he terrified me.
I felt sure that I ought to know him, and longed to hear his story.
In three quarters of an hour he came up again, looking like some one in a
"Sit down," said I, "and speak freely."
"My name is Albergoni."
Albergoni was a gentleman of Padua, and one of my most intimate friends
twenty-five years before. He was provided with a small fortune, but an
abundance of wit, and had a great leaning towards pleasure and the
exercise of satire. He laughed at the police and the cheated husbands,
indulged in Venus and Bacchus to excess, sacrificed to the god of
pederasty, and gamed incessantly. He was now hideously ugly, but when I
knew him first he was a very Antinous.
He told me the following story:
"A club of young rakes, of whom I was one, had a casino at the Zuecca; we
passed many a pleasant hour there without hurting anyone. Some one
imagined that these meetings were the scenes of unlawful pleasures, the
engines of the law were secretly directed against us, and the casino was
shut up, and we were ordered to be arrested. All escaped except myself
and a man named Branzandi. We had to wait for our unjust sentence for
two years, but at last it appeared. My wretched fellow was condemned to
lose his head, and afterwards to be burnt, while I was sentenced to ten
years' imprisonment 'in carcere duro'. In 1765 I was set free, and went
to Padua hoping to live in peace, but my persecutors gave me no rest, and
I was accused of the same crime. I would not wait for the storm to
burst, so I fled to Rome, and two years afterwards the Council of Ten
condemned me to perpetual banishment.
"I might bear this if I had the wherewithal to live, but a brother-in-law
of mine has possessed himself of all I have, and the unjust Tribunal
winks at his misdeeds.
"A Roman attorney made me an offer of an annuity of two pawls a day on
the condition that I should renounce all claims on my estate. I refused
this iniquitous condition, and left Rome to come here and turn hermit. I
have followed this sorry trade for two years, and can bear it no more."
"Go back to Rome; you can live on two pawls a day."
"I would rather die."
I pitied him sincerely, and said that though I was not a rich man he was
welcome to dine every day at my expense while I remained in Naples, and I
gave him a sequin.
Two or three days later my man told me that the poor wretch had committed
In his room were found five numbers, which he bequeathed to Medini and
myself out of gratitude for our kindness to him. These five numbers were
very profitable to the Lottery of Naples, for everyone, myself excepted,
rushed to get them. Not a single one proved a winning number, but the
popular belief that numbers given by a man before he commits suicide are
infallible is too deeply rooted among the Neapolitans to be destroyed by
such a misadventure.
I went to see the wretched man's body, and then entered a cafe. Someone
was talking of the case, and maintaining that death by strangulation must
be most luxurious as the victim always expires with a strong erection.
It might be so, but the erection might also be the result of an agony of
pain, and before anyone can speak dogmatically on the point he must first
have had a practical experience.
As I was leaving the cafe I had the good luck to catch a handkerchief
thief in the act; it was about the twentieth I had stolen from me in the
month I had spent at Naples. Such petty thieves abound there, and their
skill is something amazing.
As soon as he felt himself caught, he begged me not to make any noise,
swearing he would return all the handkerchiefs he had stolen from me,
which, as he confessed, amounted to seven or eight.
"You have stolen more than twenty from me."
"Not I, but some of my mates. If you come with me, perhaps we shall be
able to get them all back."
"Is it far off?"
"In the Largo del Castello. Let me go; people are looking at us."
The little rascal took me to an evil-looking tavern, and shewed me into a
room, where a man asked me if I wanted to buy any old things. As soon as
he heard I had come for my handkerchiefs, he opened a big cupboard full
of handkerchiefs, amongst which I found a dozen of mine, and bought them
back for a trifle.
A few days after I bought several others, though I knew they were stolen.
The worthy Neapolitan dealer seemed to think me trustworthy, and three or
four days before I left Naples he told me that he could sell me, for ten
or twelve thousand ducats, commodities which would fetch four times that
amount at Rome or elsewhere.
"What kind of commodities are they?"
"Watches, snuff-boxes, rings, and jewels, which I dare not sell here."
"Aren't you afraid of being discovered?"
"Not much, I don't tell everyone of my business."
I thanked him, but I would not look at his trinkets, as I was afraid the
temptation of making such a profit would be too great.
When I got back to my inn I found some guests had arrived, of whom a few
were known to me. Bartoldi had arrived from Dresden with two young
Saxons, whose tutor he was. These young noblemen were rich and handsome,
and looked fond of pleasure.
Bartoldi was an old friend of mine. He had played Harlequin at the King
of Poland's Italian Theatre. On the death of the monarch he had been
placed at the head of the opera-buffa by the dowager electress, who was
passionately fond of music.
Amongst the other strangers were Miss Chudleigh, now Duchess of Kingston,
with a nobleman and a knight whose names I have forgotten.
The duchess recognized me at once, and seemed pleased that I paid my
court to her. An hour afterwards Mr. Hamilton came to see her, and I was
delighted to make his acquaintance. We all dined together. Mr.
Hamilton was a genius, and yet he ended by marrying a mere girl, who was
clever enough to make him in love with her. Such a misfortune often
comes to clever men in their old age. Marriage is always a folly; but
when a man marries a young woman at a time of life when his physical
strength is running low, he is bound to pay dearly for his folly; and if
his wife is amorous of him she will kill him even years ago I had a
narrow escape myself from the same fate.
After dinner I presented the two Saxons to the duchess; they gave her
news of the dowager electress, of whom she was very fond. We then went
to the play together. As chance would have it, Madame Goudar occupied
the box next to ours, and Hamilton amused the duchess by telling the
story of the handsome Irishwoman, but her grace did not seem desirous of
making Sara's acquaintance.
After supper the duchess arranged a game of quinze with the two
Englishmen and the two Saxons. The stakes were small, and the Saxons
proved victorious. I had not taken any part in the game, but I resolved
to do so the next evening.
The following day we dined magnificently with the Prince of Francavilla,
and in the afternoon he took us to the bath by the seashore, where we saw
a wonderful sight. A priest stripped himself naked, leapt into the
water, and without making the slightest movement floated on the surface
like a piece of deal. There was no trick in it, and the marvel must be
assigned to some special quality in his organs of breathing. After this
the prince amused the duchess still more pleasantly. He made all his
pages, lads of fifteen to seventeen, go into the water, and their various
evolutions afforded us great pleasure. They were all the sweethearts of
the prince, who preferred Ganymede to Hebe.
The Englishmen asked him if if he would give us the same spectacle, only
subsituting nymphs for the 'amoyini', and he promised to do so the next
day at his splendid house near Portici, where there was a marble basin in
the midst of the garden.
My Amours with Gallimena--Journey to Soyento--Medini--Goudar--
Miss Chudleigh--The Marquis Petina--Gaetano--Madame Cornelis's Son--
An Anecdote of Sara Goudar--The Florentines Mocked by the King--
My Journey to Salerno, Return to Naples, and Arrival at Rome
The Prince of Francavilla was a rich Epicurean, whose motto was 'Fovet et
He was in favour in Spain, but the king allowed him to live at Naples, as
he was afraid of his initiating the Prince of Asturias, his brothers, and
perhaps the whole Court, into his peculiar vices.
The next day he kept his promise, and we had the pleasure of seeing the
marble basin filled with ten or twelve beautiful girls who swam about in
Miss Chudleigh and the two other ladies pronounced this spectacle
tedious; they no doubt preferred that of the previous day.
In spite of this gay company I went to see Callimena twice a day; she
still made me sigh in vain.
Agatha was my confidante; she would gladly have helped me to attain my
ends, but her dignity would not allow of her giving me any overt
assistance. She promised to ask Callimena to accompany us on an
excursion to Sorento, hoping that I should succeed in my object during
the night we should have to spend there.
Before Agatha had made these arrangements, Hamilton had made similar ones
with the Duchess of Kingston, and I succeeded in getting an invitation.
I associated chiefly with the two Saxons and a charming Abbe Guliani,
with whom I afterwards made a more intimate acquaintance at Rome.
We left Naples at four o'clock in the morning, in a felucca with twelve
oars, and at nine we reached Sorrento.
We were fifteen in number, and all were delighted with this earthly
Hamilton took us to a garden belonging to the Duke of Serra Capriola, who
chanced to be there with his beautiful Piedmontese wife, who loved her
The duke had been sent there two months before for having appeared in
public in an equipage which was adjudged too magnificent. The minister
Tanucci called on the king to punish this infringement of the sumptuary
laws, and as the king had not yet learnt to resist his ministers, the
duke and his wife were exiled to this earthly paradise. But a paradise
which is a prison is no paradise at all; they were both dying of ennui,
and our arrival was balm in Gilead to them.
A certain Abbe Bettoni, whose acquaintance I had made nine years before
at the late Duke of Matalone's, had come to see them, and was delighted
to meet me again.
The abbe was a native of Brescia, but he had chosen Sorento as his
residence. He had three thousand crowns a year, and lived well, enjoying
all the gifts of Bacchus, Ceres, Comus, and Venus, the latter being his
favourite divinity. He had only to desire to attain, and no man could
desire greater pleasure than he enjoyed at Sorento. I was vexed to see
Count Medini with him; we were enemies, and gave each other the coldest
We were twenty-two at table and enjoyed delicious fare, for in that land
everything is good; the very bread is sweeter than elsewhere. We spent
the afternoon in inspecting the villages, which are surrounded by avenues
finer than the avenues leading to the grandest castles in Europe.
Abbe Bettoni treated us to lemon, coffee, and chocolate ices, and some
delicious cream cheese. Naples excells in these delicacies, and the abbe
had everything of the best. We were waited on by five or six country
girls of ravishing beauty, dressed with exquisite neatness. I asked him
whether that were his seraglio, and he replied that it might be so, but
that jealousy was unknown, as I should see for myself if I cared to spend
a week with him.
I envied this happy man, and yet I pitied him, for he was at least twelve
years older than I, and I was by no means young. His pleasures could not
last much longer.
In the evening we returned to the duke's, and sat down to a supper
composed of several kinds of fish.
The air of Sorento gives an untiring appetite, and the supper soon
After supper my lady proposed a game at faro, and Bettoni, knowing Medini
to be a professional gamester, asked him to hold the bank. He begged to
be excused, saying he had not enough money, so I consented to take his
The cards were brought in, and I emptied my poor purse on the table. It
only held four hundred ounces, but that was all I possessed.
The game began; and on Medini asking me if I would allow him a share in
the bank, I begged him to excuse me on the score of inconvenience.
I went on dealing till midnight, and by that time I had only forty ounces
left. Everybody had won except Sir Rosebury, who had punted in English
bank notes, which I had put into my pocket without counting.
When I got to my room I thought I had better look at the bank notes, for
the depletion of my purse disquieted me. My delight may be imagined. I
found I had got four hundred and fifty pounds--more than double what I
I went to sleep well pleased with my day's work, and resolved not to tell
anyone of my good luck.
The duchess had arranged for us to start at nine, and Madame de Serra
Capriola begged us to take coffee with her before going.
After breakfast Medini and Bettoni came in, and the former asked Hamilton
whether he would mind his returning with us. Of course, Hamilton could
not refuse, so he came on board, and at two o'clock I was back at my inn.
I was astonished to be greeted in my antechamber by a young lady, who
asked me sadly whether I remembered her. She was the eldest of the five
Hanoverians, the same that had fled with the Marquis dells Petina.
I told her to come in, and ordered dinner to be brought up.
"If you are alone," she said, "I should be glad to share your repast."
"Certainly; I will order dinner for two."
Her story was soon told. She had come to Naples with her husband, whom
her mother refused to recognize. The poor wretch had sold all he
possessed, and two or three months after he had been arrested on several
charges of forgery. His poor mate had supported him in prison for seven
years. She had heard that I was at Naples, and wanted me to help her,
not as the Marquis della Petina wished, by lending him money, but by
employing my influence with the Duchess of Kingston to make that lady
take her to England with her in her service.
"Are you married to the marquis?"
"Then how could you keep him for seven years?"
"Alas . . . . You can think of a hundred ways, and they would all be
"Can you procure me an interview with the duchess?"
"I will try, but I warn you that I shall tell her the simple truth."
"Come again to-morrow."
At six o'clock I went to ask Hamilton how I could exchange the English
notes I had won, and he gave me the money himself.
Before supper I spoke to the duchess about the poor Hanoverian. My lady
said she remembered seeing her, and that she would like to have a talk
with her before coming to any decision. I brought the poor creature to
her the next day, and left them alone. The result of the interview was
that the duchess took her into her service in the place of a Roman girl,
and the Hanoverian went to England with her. I never heard of her again,
but a few days after Petina sent to beg me to come and see him in prison,
and I could not refuse. I found him with a young man whom I recognized
as his brother, though he was very handsome and the marquis very ugly;
but the distinction between beauty and ugliness is often hard to point
This visit proved a very tedious one, for I had to listen to a long story
which did not interest me in the least.
As I was going out I was met by an official, who said another prisoner
wanted to speak to me.
"What's his name?"
"His name is Gaetano, and he says he is a relation of yours."
My relation and Gaetano! I thought it might be the abbe.
I went up to the first floor, and found a score of wretched prisoners
sitting on the ground roaring an obscene song in chorus.
Such gaiety is the last resource of men condemned to imprisonment on the
galleys; it is nature giving her children some relief.
One of the prisoners came up to me and greeted me as "gossip." He would
have embraced me, but I stepped back. He told me his name, and I
recognized in him that Gaetano who had married a pretty woman under my
auspices as her godfather. The reader may remember that I afterwards
helped her to escape from him.
"I am sorry to see you here, but what can I do for you?"
"You can pay me the hundred crowns you owe me, for the goods supplied to
you at Paris by me."
This was a lie, so I turned my back on him, saying I supposed
imprisonment had driven him mad.
As I went away I asked an official why he had been imprisoned, and was
told it was for forgery, and that he would have been hanged if it had not
been for a legal flaw. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life.
I dismissed him from my mind, but in the afternoon I had a visit from
an advocate who demanded a hundred crowns on Gaetano's behalf,
supporting his claim by the production of an immense ledger,
where my name appeared as debtor on several pages.
"Sir," said I, "the man is mad; I don't owe him anything, and the
evidence of this book is utterly worthless.
"You make a mistake, sir," he replied; "this ledger is good evidence, and
our laws deal very favorably with imprisoned creditors. I am retained
for them, and if you do not settle the matter by to-morrow I shall serve
you with a summons."
I restrained my indignation and asked him politely for his name and
address. He wrote it down directly, feeling quite certain that his
affair was as good as settled.
I called on Agatha, and her husband was much amused when I told my story.
He made me sign a power of attorney, empowering him to act for me, and he
then advised the other advocate that all communications in the case must
be made to him alone.
The 'paglietti' who abound in Naples only live by cheating, and
especially by imposing on strangers.
Sir Rosebury remained at Naples, and I found myself acquainted with all
the English visitors. They all lodged at "Crocielles," for the English
are like a flock of sheep; they follow each other about, always go to the
came place, and never care to shew any originality. We often arranged
little trips in which the two Saxons joined, and I found the time pass
very pleasantly. Nevertheless, I should have left Naples after the fair
if my love for Callimena had not restrained me. I saw her every day and
made her presents, but she only granted me the slightest of favours.
The fair was nearly over, and Agatha was making her preparations for
going to Sorento as had been arranged. She begged her husband to invite
a lady whom he had loved before marrying her while she invited Pascal
Latilla for herself, and Callimena for me.
There were thus three couples, and the three gentlemen were to defray all
Agatha's husband took the direction of everything.
A few days before the party I saw, to my surprise, Joseph, son of Madame
Cornelis and brother of my dear Sophie.
"How did you come to Naples? Whom are you with?"
"I am by myself. I wanted to see Italy, and my mother gave me this
pleasure. I have seen Turin, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Venice, and Rome;
and after I have done Italy I shall see Switzerland and Germany, and then
return to England by way of Holland."
"How long is this expedition to take?"
"I suppose you will be able to give a full account of everything when you
go back to London?"
"I hope to convince my mother that the money she spent was not wasted."
"How much do you think it will cost you?"
"The five hundred guineas she gave me, no more."
"Do you mean to say you are only going to spend five hundred guineas in
six months? I can't believe it."
"Economy works wonders."
"I suppose so. How have you done as to letters of introduction in all
these countries of which you now know so much?"
"I have had no introductions. I carry an English passport, and let
people think that I am English."
"Aren't you afraid of getting into bad company?"
"I don't give myself the chance. I don't speak to anyone, and when
people address me I reply in monosyllables. I always strike a bargain
before I eat a meal or take a lodging. I only travel in public
"Very good. Here you will be able to economize; I will pay all your
expenses, and give you an excellent cicerone, one who will cost you
"I am much obliged, but I promised my mother not to accept anything from
"I think you might make an exception in my case."
"No. I have relations in Venice, and I would not take so much as a
single dinner from them. When I promise, I perform."
Knowing his obstinacy, I did not insist. He was now a young man of
twenty-three, of a delicate order of prettiness, and might easily have
been taken for a girl in disguise if he had not allowed his whiskers to
Although his grand tour seemed an extravagant project, I could not help
admiring his courage and desire to be well informed.
I asked him about his mother and daughter, and he replied to my questions
He told me that Madame Cornelis was head over ears in debts, and spent
about half the year in prison. She would then get out by giving fresh
bills and making various arrangements with her creditors, who knew that
if they did not allow her to give her balls, they could not expect to get
My daughter, I heard, was a pretty girl of seventeen, very talented, and
patronized by the first ladies in London. She gave concerts, but had to
bear a good deal from her mother.
I asked him to whom she was to have been married, when she was taken from
the boarding school. He said he had never heard of anything of the kind.
"Are you in any business?"
"No. My mother is always talking of buying a cargo and sending me with
it to the Indies, but the day never seems to come, and I am afraid it
never will come. To buy a cargo one must have some money, and my mother
In spite of his promise, I induced him to accept the services of my man,
who shewed him all the curiosities of Naples in the course of a week.
I could not make him stay another week. He set out for Rome, and wrote
to me from there that he had left six shirts and a great coat behind him.
He begged me to send them on, but he forgot to give me his address.
He was a hare-brained fellow, and yet with the help of two or three sound
maxims he managed to traverse half Europe without coming to any grief.
I had an unexpected visit from Goudar, who knew the kind of company I
kept, and wanted me to ask his wife and himself to dinner to meet the two
Saxons and my English friends.
I promised to oblige him on the understanding that there was to be no
play at my house, as I did not want to be involved in any unpleasantness.
He was perfectly satisfied with this arrangement, as he felt sure his
wife would attract them to his house, where, as he said, one could play
without being afraid of anything.
As I was going to Sorento the next day, I made an appointment with him
for a day after my return.
This trip to Sorento was my last happy day.
The advocate took us to a house where we were lodged with all possible
comfort. We had four rooms; the first was occupied by Agatha and her
husband, the second by Callimena and the advocate's old sweetheart, the
third by Pascal Latilla, and the fourth by myself.
After supper we went early to bed, and rising with the sun we went our
several ways; the advocate with his old sweetheart, Agatha with Pascal,
and I with Callimena. At noon we met again to enjoy a delicious dinner,
and then the advocate took his siesta, while Pascal went for a walk with
Agatha and her husband's sweetheart, and I wandered with Callimena under
the shady alleys where the heat of the sun could not penetrate. Here it
was that Callimena consented to gratify my passion. She gave herself for
love's sake alone, and seemed sorry she had made me wait so long.
On the fourth day we returned to Naples in three carriages, as there was
a strong wind. Callimena persuaded me to tell her aunt what had passed
between us, that we might be able to meet without any restraint for the
I approved of her idea, and, not fearing to meet with much severity from
the aunt, I took her apart and told her all that had passed, making her
She was a sensible woman, and heard what I had to say with great good
humour. She said that as I seemed inclined to do something for her
niece, she would let me know as soon as possible what she wanted most.
I remarked that as I should soon be leaving for Rome, I should like to
sup with her niece every evening. She thought this a very natural wish
on my part, and so we went to Callimena, who was delighted to hear the
result of our interview.
I lost no time, but supped and passed that night with her. I made her
all my own by the power of my love, and by buying her such things as she
most needed, such as linen, dresses, etc. It cost me about a hundred
louis, and in spite of the smallness of my means I thought I had made a
good bargain. Agatha, whom I told of my good luck, was delighted to have
helped me to procure it.
Two or three days after I gave a dinner to my English friends, the two
Saxons, Bartoldi their governor, and Goudar and his wife.
We were all ready, and only waiting for M. and Madame Goudar, when I saw
the fair Irishwoman come in with Count Medini. This piece of insolence
made all the blood in my body rush to my head. However, I restrained
myself till Goudar came in, and then I gave him a piece of my mind. It
had been agreed that his wife should come with him. The rascally fellow
prevaricated, and tried hard to induce me to believe that Medini had not
plotted the breaking of the bank, but his eloquence was in vain.
Our dinner was a most agreeable one, and Sara cut a brilliant figure, for
she possessed every pleasing quality that can make a woman attractive.
In good truth, this tavern girl would have filled a throne with any
queen; but Fortune is blind.
When the dinner was over, M. de Buturlin, a distinguished Russian, and a
great lover of pretty women, paid me a visit. He had been attracted by
the sweet voice of the fair Sara, who was singing a Neapolitan air to the
guitar. I shone only with a borrowed light, but I was far from being
offended. Buturlin fell in love with Sara on the spot, and a few months
after I left he got her for five hundred Louis, which Goudar required to
carry out the order he had received, namely, to leave Naples in three
This stroke came from the queen, who found out that the king met Madame
Goudar secretly at Procida. She found her royal husband laughing
heartily at a letter which he would not shew her.
The queen's curiosity was excited, and at last the king gave in, and her
majesty read the following:
"Ti aspettero nel medesimo luogo, ed alla stessa ora, coll' impazienza
medesima che ha una vacca che desidera l'avvicinamento del toro."
"Chi infamia!" cried the queen, and her majesty gave the cow's husband to
understand that in three days he would have to leave Naples, and look for
bulls in other countries.
If these events had not taken place, M. de Buturlin would not have made
so good a bargain.
After my dinner, Goudar asked all the company to sup with him the next
evening. The repast was a magnificent one, but when Medini sat down at
the end of a long table behind a heap of gold and a pack of cards, no
punters came forward. Madame Goudar tried in vain to make the gentlemen
take a hand. The Englishmen and the Saxons said politely that they
should be delighted to play if she or I would take the bank, but they
feared the count's extraordinary fortune.
Thereupon Goudar had the impudence to ask me to deal for a fourth share.
"I will not deal under a half share," I replied, "though I have no
confidence in my luck."
Goudar spoke to Medini, who got up, took away his share, and left me the
I had only two hundred ounces in my purse. I placed them beside Goudar's
two hundred, and in two hours my bank was broken, and I went to console
myself with my Callimena.
Finding myself penniless I decided to yield to the pressure of Agatha's
husband, who continued to beg me to take back the jewelry I had given his
wife. I told Agatha I would never have consented if fortune had been
kinder to me. She told her husband, and the worthy man came out of his
closet and embraced me as if I had just made his fortune.
I told him I should like to have the value of the jewels, and the next
day I found myself once more in possession of fifteen thousand francs.
From that moment I decided to go to Rome, intending to stop there for
eight months; but before my departure the advocate said he must give me a
dinner at a casino which he had at Portici.
I had plenty of food for thought when I found myself in the house where I
had made a small fortune by my trick with the mercury five-and-twenty
The king was then at Portici with his Court, and our curiosity attracting
us we were witnesses of a most singular spectacle.
The king was only nineteen and loved all kinds of frolics. He conceived
a desire to be tossed in a blanket! Probably few crowned heads have
wished to imitate Sancho Panza in this manner.
His majesty was tossed to his heart's content; but after his aerial
journeys he wished to laugh at those whom he had amused. He began by
proposing that the queen should take part in the game; on her replying by
shrieks of laughter, his majesty did not insist.
The old courtiers made their escape, greatly to my regret, for I should
have liked to see them cutting capers in the air, specially Prince Paul
Nicander, who had been the king's tutor, and had filled him with all his
When the king saw that his old followers had fled, he was reduced to
asking the young nobles present to play their part.
I was not afraid for myself, as I was unknown, and not of sufficient rank
to merit such an honour.
After three or four young noblemen had been tossed, much to the amusement
of the queen and her ladies, the king cast his eyes on two young
Florentine nobles who had lately arrived at Naples. They were with their
tutor, and all three had been laughing heartily at the disport of the
king and his courtiers.
The monarch came up and accosted them very pleasantly, proposing that
they should take part in the game.
The wretched Tuscans had been baked in a bad oven; they were undersized,
ugly, and humpbacked.
His majesty's proposal seemed to put them on thorns. Everybody listened
for the effects of the king's eloquence; he was urging them to undress,
and saying that it would be unmannerly to refuse; there could be no
humiliation in it, he said, as he himself had been the first to submit.
The tutor felt that it would not do to give the king a refusal, and told
them that they must give in, and thereupon the two Florentines took off
When the company saw their figures and doleful expressions, the laughter
became general. The king took one of them by the hand, observing in an
encouraging manner that there would be no danger; and as a special honour
he held one of the corners of the blanket himself. But, for all that,
big tears rolled down the wretched young man's cheeks.
After three or four visits to the ceiling, and amusing everyone by the
display of his long thin legs, he was released, and the younger brother
went to the torture smilingly, for which he was rewarded by applause.
The governor, suspecting that his majesty destined him for the same fate,
had slipped out; and the king laughed merrily when he heard of his
Such was the extraordinary spectacle we enjoyed--a spectacle in every way
Don Pascal Latilla, who had been lucky enough to avoid his majesty's
notice, told us a number of pleasant anecdotes about the king; all shewed
him in the amiable light of a friend of mirth and an enemy to all pomp
and stateliness, by which kings are hedged in generally. He assured us
that no one could help liking him, because he always preferred to be
treated as a friend rather than a monarch.
"He is never more grieved," said Pascal, "than when his minister Tanucci
shews him that he must be severe, and his greatest joy is to grant a
Ferdinand had not the least tincture of letters, but as he was a man of
good sense he honoured lettered men most highly, indeed anyone of merit
was sure of his patronage. He revered the minister Marco, he had the
greatest respect for the memory of Lelio Caraffa, and of the Dukes of
Matalone, and he had provided handsomely for a nephew of the famous man
of letters Genovesi, in consideration of his uncle's merits.
Games of chance were forbidden; and one day he surprised a number of the
officers of his guard playing at faro. The young men were terrified at
the sight of the king, and would have hidden their cards and money.
"Don't put yourselves out," said the kindly monarch, "take care that
Tanucci doesn't catch you, but don't mind me."
His father was extremely fond of him up to the time when he was obliged
to resist the paternal orders in deference to State reasons.
Ferdinand knew that though he was the King of Spain's son, he was none
the less king of the two Sicilies, and his duties as king had the
prerogative over his duties as son.
Some months after the suppression of the Jesuits, he wrote his father a
"There are four things which astonish me very much. The first is that
though the Jesuits were said to be so rich, not a penny was found upon
them at the suppression; the second, that though the Scrivani of Naples
are supposed to take no fees, yet their wealth is immense; the third,
that while all the other young couples have children sooner or later, we
have none; and the fourth, that all men die at last, except Tanucci, who,
I believe, will live on in 'saecula saeculorum'."
The King of Spain shewed this letter to all the ministers and
ambassadors, that they might see that his son was a clever man, and he
was right; for a man who can write such a letter must be clever.
Two or three days later, the Chevalier de Morosini, the nephew of the
procurator, and sole heir of the illustrious house of Morosini, came to
Naples accompanied by his tutor Stratico, the professor of mathematics at
Padua, and the same that had given me a letter for his brother, the Pisan
professor. He stayed at the "Crocielles," and we were delighted to see
one another again.
Morosini, a young man of nineteen, was travelling to complete his
education. He had spent three years at Turin academy, and was now under
the superintendence of a man who could have introduced him to the whole
range of learning, but unhappily the will was wanting in the pupil. The
young Venetian loved women to excess, frequented the society of young
rakes, and yawned in good company. He was a sworn foe to study, and
spent his money in a lavish manner, less from generosity than from a
desire to be revenged on his uncle's economies. He complained of being
still kept in tutelage; he had calculated that he could spend eight
hundred sequins a month, and thought his allowance of two hundred sequins
a month an insult. With this notion, he set himself to sow debts
broadcast, and only laughed at his tutor when he mildly reproached him
for his extravagance, and pointed out that if he were saving for the
present, he would be able to be all the more magnificent on his return to
Venice. His uncle had made an excellent match for him; he was to marry a
girl who was extremely pretty, and also the heiress of the house of
Grimani de Servi.
The only redeeming feature in the young man's character was that he had a
mortal hatred of all kinds of play.
Since my bank had been broken I had been at Goudar's, but I would not
listen to his proposal that I should join them again. Medini had become
a sworn foe of mine. As soon as I came, he would go away, but I
pretended not to notice him. He was at Goudar's when I introduced
Morosini and his mentor, and thinking the young man good game he became
very intimate with him. When he found out that Morosini would not hear
of gaming, his hatred of me increased, for he was certain that I had
warned the rich Venetian against him.
Morosini was much taken with Sara's charms, and only thought of how he
could possess her. He was still a young man, full of romantic notions,
and she would have become odious in his eyes if he could have guessed
that she would have to be bought with a heavy price.
He told me several times that if a woman proposed payment for her
favours, his disgust would expel his love in a moment. As he said, and
rightly, he was as good a man as Madame Goudar was a woman.
This was distinctly a good point in his character; no woman who gave her
favours in exchange for presents received could hope to dupe him. Sara's
maxims were diametrically opposed to his; she looked on her love as a
bill of exchange.
Stratico was delighted to see him engaged in this intrigue, for the chief
point in dealing with him was to keep him occupied. If he had no
distractions he took refuge in bad company or furious riding. He would
sometimes ride ten or twelve stages at full gallop, utterly ruining the
horses. He was only too glad to make his uncle pay for them, as he swore
he was an old miser.
After I had made up my mind to leave Naples, I had a visit from Don
Pascal Latilla, who brought with him the Abbe Galiani, whom I had known
It may be remembered that I had known his brother at St. Agatha's, where
I had stayed with him, and left him Donna Lucrezia Castelli.
I told him that I had intended to visit him, and asked if Lucrezia were
still with him.
"She lives at Salerno," said he, "with her daughter the Marchioness
I was delighted to hear the news; if it had not been for the abbe's
visit, I should never have heard what had become of these ladies.
I asked him if he knew the Marchioness C----.
"I only know the marquis," he replied, "he is old and very rich."
That was enough for me.
A couple of days afterwards Morosini invited Sara, Goudar, two young
gamesters, and Medini, to dinner. The latter had not yet given up hopes
of cheating the chevalier in one way or another.
Towards the end of dinner it happened that Medini differed in opinion
from me, and expressed his views in such a peremptory manner that I
remarked that a gentleman would be rather more choice in his expressions.
"Maybe," he replied, "but I am not going to learn manners from you."
I constrained myself, and said nothing, but I was getting tired of his
insolence; and as he might imagine that my resentment was caused by fear,
I determined on disabusing him.
As he was taking his coffee on the balcony overlooking the sea, I came up
to him with my cup in my hand, and said that I was tired of the rudeness
with which he treated me in company.
"You would find me ruder still," he replied, "if we could meet without
"I think I could convince you of your mistake if we could have a private
"I should very much like to see you do it."
"When you see me go out, follow me, and don't say a word to anyone."
"I will not fail."
I rejoined the company, and walked slowly towards Pausilippo. I looked
back and saw him following me; and as he was a brave fellow, and we both
had our swords, I felt sure the thing would soon be settled.
As soon as I found myself in the open country, where we should not be
interrupted, I stopped short.
As he drew near I attempted a parley, thinking that we might come to a
more amicable settlement; but the fellow rushed on me with his sword in
one hand and his hat in the other.
I lunged out at him, and instead of attempting to parry he replied in
quart. The result was that our blades were caught in each other's
sleeves; but I had slit his arm, while his point had only pierced the
stuff of my coat.
I put myself on guard again to go on, but I could see he was too weak to
defend himself, so I said if he liked I would give him quarter.
He made no reply, so I pressed on him, struck him to the ground, and
trampled on his body.
He foamed with rage, and told me that it was my turn this time, but that
he hoped I would give him his revenge.
"With pleasure, at Rome, and I hope the third lesson will be more
effectual than the two I have already given you."
He was losing a good deal of blood, so I sheathed his sword for him and
advised him to go to Goudar's house, which was close at hand, and have
his wound attended to.
I went back to "Crocielles" as if nothing had happened. The chevalier
was making love to Sara, and the rest were playing cards.
I left the company an hour afterwards without having said a word about my
duel, and for the last time I supped with Callimena. Six years later I
saw her at Venice, displaying her beauty and her talents on the boards of
St. Benedict's Theatre.
I spent a delicious night with her, and at eight o'clock the next day I
went off in a post-chaise without taking leave of anyone.
I arrived at Salerno at two o'clock in the afternoon, and as soon as I
had taken a room I wrote a note to Donna Lucrezia Castelli at the Marquis
I asked her if I could pay her a short visit, and begged her to send a
reply while I was taking my dinner.
I was sitting down to table when I had the pleasure of seeing Lucrezia
herself come in. She gave a cry of delight and rushed to my arms.
This excellent woman was exactly my own age, but she would have been
taken for fifteen years younger.
After I had told her how I had come to hear about her I asked for news of
"She is longing to see you, and her husband too; he is a worthy old man,
and will be so glad to know you."
"How does he know of my existence?"
"Leonilda has mentioned your name a thousand times during the five years
they have been married. He is aware that you gave her five thousand
ducats. We shall sup together."
"Let us go directly; I cannot rest till I have seen my Leonilda and the
good husband God has given her. Have they any children?"
"No, unluckily for her, as after his death the property passes to his
relations. But Leonilda will be a rich woman for all that; she will have
a hundred thousand ducats of her own."
"You have never married."
"You are as pretty as you were twenty-six years ago, and if it had not
been for the Abbe Galiani I should have left Naples without seeing you."
I found Leonilda had developed into a perfect beauty. She was at that
time twenty-three years old.
Her husband's presence was no constraint upon her; she received me with
open arms, and put me completely at my ease.
No doubt she was my daughter, but in spite of our relationship and my
advancing years I still felt within my breast the symptoms of the
tenderest passion for her.
She presented me to her husband, who suffered dreadfully from gout, and
could not stir from his arm-chair.
He received me with smiling face and open arms, saying,--
"My dear friend, embrace me."
I embraced him affectionately, and in our greeting I discovered that he
was a brother mason. The marquis had expected as much, but I had not;
for a nobleman of sixty who could boast that he had been enlightened was
a 'rara avis' in the domains of his Sicilian majesty thirty years ago.
I sat down beside him and we embraced each other again, while the ladies
looked on amazed, wondering to see us so friendly to each other.
Donna Leonilda fancied that we must be old friends, and told her husband
how delighted she was. The old man burst out laughing, and Lucrezia
suspecting the truth bit her lips and said nothing. The fair marchioness
reserved her curiosity for another reason.
The marquis had seen the whole of Europe. He had only thought of
marrying on the death of his father, who had attained the age of ninety.
Finding himself in the enjoyment of thirty thousand ducats a year he
imagined that he might yet have children in spite of his advanced age.
He saw Leonilda, and in a few days he made her his wife, giving her a
dowry of a hundred thousand ducats. Donna Lucrezia went to live with her
daughter. Though the marquis lived magnificently, he found it difficult
to spend more than half his income.
He lodged all his relations in his immense palace; there were three
families in all, and each lived apart.
Although they were comfortably off they were awaiting with impatience the
death of the head of the family, as they would then share his riches.
The marquis had only married in the hope of having an heir; and these
hopes he could no longer entertain. However, he loved his wife none the
less, while she made him happy by her charming disposition.
The marquis was a man of liberal views like his wife, but this was a
great secret, as free thought was not appreciated at Salerno.
Consequently, any outsider would have taken the household for a truly
Christian one, and the marquis took care to adopt in appearance all the
prejudices of his fellow-countrymen.
Donna Lucrezia told me all this three hours after as we walked in a
beautiful garden, where her husband had sent us after a long conversation
on subjects which could not have been of any interest to the ladies.
Nevertheless, they did not leave us for a moment, so delighted were they
to find that the marquis had met a congenial spirit.
About six o'clock the marquis begged Donna Lucrezia to take me to the
garden and amuse me till the evening. His wife he asked to stay, as he
had something to say to her.
It was in the middle of August and the heat was great, but the room on
the ground floor which we occupied was cooled by a delicious breeze.
I looked out of the window and noticed that the leaves on the trees were
still, and that no wind was blowing; and I could not help saying to the
marquis that I was astonished to find his room as cool as spring in the
heats of summer.
"Your sweetheart will explain it to you," said he.
We went through several apartments, and at last reached a closet, in one
corner of which was a square opening.
From it rushed a cold and even violent wind. From the opening one could
go down a stone staircase of at least a hundred steps, and at the bottom
was a grotto where was the source of a stream of water as cold as ice.
Donna Lucrezia told me it would be a great risk to go down the steps
without excessively warm clothing.
I have never cared to run risks of this kind. Lord Baltimore, on the
other hand, would have laughed at the danger, and gone, maybe, to his
death. I told my old sweetheart that I could imagine the thing very well
from the description, and that I had no curiosity to see whether my
imagination were correct.
Lucrezia told me I was very prudent, and took me to the garden.
It was a large place, and separated from the garden common to the three
other families who inhabited the castle. Every flower that can be
imagined was there, fountains threw their glittering sprays, and grottoes
afforded a pleasing shade from the sun.
The alleys of this terrestrial paradise were formed of vines, and the
bunches of grapes seemed almost as numerous as the leaves.
Lucrezia enjoyed my surprise, and I told her that I was not astonished at
being more moved by this than by the vines of Tivoli and Frascati. The
immense rather dazzles the eyes than moves the heart.
She told me that her daughter was happy, and that the marquis was an
excellent man, and a strong man except for the gout. His great grief was
that he had no children. Amongst his dozen of nephews there was not one
worthy of succeeding to the title.
"They are all ugly, awkward lads, more like peasants than noblemen; all
their education has been given them by a pack of ignorant priests; and so
it is not to be wondered that the marquis does not care for them much."
"But is Leonilda really happy?"
"She is, though her husband cannot be quite so ardent as she would like
at her age."
"He doesn't seem to me to be a very jealous man."
"He is entirely free from jealousy, and if Leonilda would take a lover I
am sure he would be his best friend. And I feel certain he would be only
too glad to find the beautiful soil which he cannot fertile himself
fertilized by another."
"Is it positively certain that he is incapable of begetting a child?"
"No, when he is well he does his best; but there seems no likelihood of
his ardour having any happy results. There was some ground to hope in
the first six months of the marriage, but since he has had the gout so
badly there seems reason to fear lest his amorous ecstasies should have a
fatal termination. Sometimes he warts to approach her, but she dare not
let him, and this pains her very much."
I was struck with a lively sense of Lucrezia's merits, and was just
revealing to her the sentiments which she had re-awakened in my breast,
when the marchioness appeared in the garden, followed by a page and a
I affected great reverence as she came up to us; and as if we had given
each other the word, she answered me in atone of ceremonious politeness.
"I have come on an affair of the highest importance," she said, "and if I
fail I shall for ever lose the reputation of a diplomatist?"
"Who is the other diplomatist with whom you are afraid of failing?"
"Then your battle is over, for I consent before I know what you ask. I
only make a reserve on one point."
"So much the worse, as that may turn out to be just what I want you to
do. Tell me what it is."
"I was going to Rome, when the Abbe Galiani told me that Donna Lucrezia
was here with you."
"And can a short delay interfere with your happiness? Are you not your
"Smile on me once more; your desires are orders which must be obeyed. I
have always been my own master, but I cease to be so from this moment,
since I am your most humble servant."
"Very good. Then I command you to come and spend a few days with us at
an estate we have at a short distance. My husband will have himself
transported here. You will allow me to send to the inn for your
"Here, sweet marchioness, is the key to my room. Happy the mortal whom
you deign to command."
Leonilda gave the key to the page, a pretty boy, and told him to see that
all my belongings were carefully taken to the castle.
Her lady-in-waiting was very fair. I said so to Leonilda in French, not
knowing that the young lady understood the language, but she smiled and
told her mistress that we were old acquaintances.
"When had I the pleasure of knowing you, mademoiselle?"
"Nine year ago. You have often spoken to me and teased me."
"Where, may I ask?"
"At the Duchess of Matalone's."
"That may be, and I think I do begin to remember, but I really cannot
recollect having teased you."
The marchioness and her mother were highly amused at this conversation,
and pressed the girl to say how I had teased her. She confined herself,
however, to saying that I had played tricks on her. I thought I
remembered having stolen a few kisses, but I left the ladies to think
what they liked.
I was a great student of the human heart, and felt that these reproaches
of Anastasia's (such was her name) were really advances, but unskillfully
made, for if she had wanted more of me, she should have held her peace
and bided her time.
"It strikes me," said I, "that you were much smaller in those days."
"Yes, I was only twelve or thirteen. You have changed also."
"Yes, I have aged."
We began talking about the late Duke of Matalone, and Anastasia left us.
We sat down in a charming grotto, and began styling each other papa and
daughter, and allowing ourselves liberties which threatened to lead to
The marchioness tried to calm my transports by talking of her good
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