The Complete Memoires of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
Part 39 out of 70
the poet and the caricaturist to depict his expression of
amazement. Therese, who knew how to manage him, cried in a
pathetic an affectionate voice,--
"My dear Palesi, you see before you my father--nay, more than a
father, for this is my generous friend to whom I owe all. Oh,
happy moment for which my heart has longed for these ten years
At the word "father" the unhappy husband fixed his gaze on me, but
I restrained my laughter with considerable difficulty. Although
Therese was young for her age, she was only two years younger than
I; but friendship gives a new meaning to the sweet name of father.
"Yes, sir," said I, "your Therese is my daughter, my sister, my
cherished friend; she is an angel, and this treasure is your
"I did not reply to your last letter," said I, not giving him time
to come to himself.
"I know all," she replied. "You fell in love with a nun. You
were imprisoned under the Leads, and I heard of your almost
miraculous flight at Vienna. I had a false presentiment that I
should see you in that town. Afterwards I heard of you in Paris
and Holland, but after you left Paris nobody could tell me any
more about you. You will hear some fine tales when I tell you all
that has happened to me during the past ten years. Now I am
happy. I have my dear Palesi here, who comes from Rome. I
married him a couple of months ago. We are very fond of each
other, and I hope you will be as much his friend as mine."
At this I arose and embraced the husband, who cut such an
extraordinary figure. He met me with open arms, but in some
confusion; he was, no doubt, not yet quite satisfied as to the
individual who was his wife's father, brother, friend, and perhaps
lover, all at once. Therese saw this feeling in his eyes, and
after I had done she came and kissed him most affectionately,
which confused me in my turn, for I felt all my old love for her
renewed, and as ardent as it was when Don Sancio Pico introduced
me to her at Ancona.
Reassured by my embrace and his wife's caress, M. Palesi asked me
if I would take a cup of chocolate with them, which he himself
would make. I answered that chocolate was my favourite breakfast-
dish, and all the more so when it was made by a friend. He went
away to see to it. Our time had come.
As soon as we were alone Therese threw herself into my arms, her
face shining with such love as no pen can describe.
"Oh, my love! whom I shall love all my life, clasp me to your
breast! Let us give each other a hundred embraces on this happy
day, but not again, since my fate has made me another's bride.
To-morrow we will be like brother and sister; to-day let us be
She had not finished this speech before my bliss was crowned. Our
transports were mutual, and we renewed them again and again during
the half hour in which we had no fear of an interruption. Her
negligent morning dress and my great coat were highly convenient
under the circumstances.
After we had satiated in part our amorous ardour we breathed again
and sat down. There was a short pause, and then she said,
"You must know that I am in love with my husband and determined
not to deceive him. What I have just done was a debt I had to pay
to the remembrance of my first love. I had to pay it to prove how
much I love you; but let us forget it now. You must be contented
with the thought of my great affection for you--of which you can
have no doubt--and let me still think that you love me; but
henceforth do not let us be alone together, as I should give way,
and that would vex me. What makes you look so sad?"
"I find you bound, while I am free. I thought we had met never to
part again; you had kindled the old fires. I am the same to you
as I was at Ancona. I have proved as much, and you can guess how
sad I feel at your decree that I am to enjoy you no more. I find
that you are not only married but in love with your husband.
Alas! I have come too late, but if I had not stayed at Genoa I
should not have been more fortunate. You shall know all in due
time, and in the meanwhile I will be guided by you in everything.
I suppose your husband knows nothing of our connection, and my
best plan will be to be reserved, will it not?"
"Yes, dearest, for he knows nothing of my affairs, and I am glad
to say he shews no curiosity respecting them. Like everybody else,
he knows I made my fortune at Naples; I told him I went there when
I was ten years old. That was an innocent lie which hurts nobody;
and in my position I find that inconvenient truths have to give
way to lies. I give myself out as only twenty-four, how do you
think I look?"
"You look as if you were telling the truth, though I know you must
"You mean thirty-one, for when I knew you I couldn't have been
more than fourteen."
"I thought you were fifteen at least."
"Well, I might admit that between ourselves; but tell me if I look
more than twenty-four."
"I swear to you you don't look as old, but at Naples . . . ."
"At Naples some people might be able to contradict me, but nobody
would mind them. But I am waiting for what ought to be the
sweetest moment of your life."
"What is that, pray?"
"Allow me to keep my own counsel, I want to enjoy your surprise.
How are you off? If you want money, I can give you back all you
gave me, and with compound interest. All I have belongs to me; my
husband is not master of anything. I have fifty thousand ducats
at Naples, and an equal sum in diamonds. Tell me how much you
want--quick! the chocolate is coming."
Such a woman was Therese. I was deeply moved, and was about to
throw my arms about her neck without answering when the chocolate
came. Her husband was followed by a girl of exquisite beauty, who
carried three cups of chocolate on a silver-gilt dish. While we
drank it Palesi amused us by telling us with much humour how
surprised he was when he recognized the man who made him rise at
such an early hour as the same who had asked him his wife's name
the night before. Therese and I laughed till our sides ached, the
story was told so wittily and pleasantly. This Roman displeased
me less than I expected; his jealousy seemed only put on for
"At ten o'clock," said Theresa, "I have a rehearsal here of the
new opera. You can stay and listen if you like. I hope you will
dine with us every day, and it will give me great pleasure if you
will look upon my house as yours."
"To-day," said I, "I will stay with you till after supper, and
then I will leave you with your fortunate husband."
As I pronounced these words M. Palesi embraced me with effusion,
as if to thank me for not objecting to his enjoying his rights as
He was between the ages of twenty and twenty-two, of a fair
complexion, and well-made, but too pretty for a man. I did not
wonder at Therese being in love with him, for I knew too well the
power of a handsome face; but I thought that she had made a
mistake in marrying him, for a husband acquires certain rights
which may become troublesome.
Therese's pretty maid came to tell me that my carriage was at the
"Will you allow me," said I to her, "to have my footman in?"
"Rascal," said I, as soon as he came in, "who told you to come
here with my carriage?"
"Nobody, sir, but I know my duty."
"Who told you that I was here?"
"I guessed as much."
"Go and fetch Le Duc, and come back with him."
When they arrived I told Le Duc to pay the impertinent fellow
three days' wages, to strip him of his livery, and to ask Dr.
Vannini to get me a servant of the same build, not gifted with the
faculty of divination, but who knew how to obey his master's
orders. The rascal was much perturbed at the result of his
officiousness, and asked Therese to plead for him; but, like a
sensible woman, she told him that his master was the best judge of
the value of his services.
At ten o'clock all the actors and actresses arrived, bringing with
them a mob of amateurs who crowded the hall. Therese received
their greetings graciously, and I could see she enjoyed a great
reputation. The rehearsal lasted three hours, and wearied me
extremely. To relieve my boredom I talked to Palesi, whom I liked
for not asking me any particulars of my acquaintance with his
wife. I saw that he knew how to behave in the position in which
he was placed.
A girl from Parma, named Redegonde, who played a man's part and
sang very well, stayed to dinner. Therese had also asked a young
Bolognese, named Corticelli. I was struck with the budding charms
of this pretty dancer, but as I was just then full of Therese, I
did not pay much attention to her. Soon after we sat down I saw a
plump abbe coming in with measured steps. He looked to me a
regular Tartuffe, after nothing but Therese. He came up to her as
soon as he saw her, and going on one knee in the Portuguese
fashion, kissed her hand tenderly and respectfully. Therese
received him with smiling courtesy and put him at her right hand;
I was at their left. His voice, manner, and all about him told me
that I had known him, and in fact I soon recognized him as the
Abbe Gama, whom I had left at Rome seventeen years before with
Cardinal Acquaviva; but I pretended not to recognize him, and
indeed he had aged greatly. This gallant priest had eyes for no
one but Therese, and he was too busy with saying a thousand soft
nothings to her to take notice of anybody else in the company. I
hoped that in his turn he would either not recognize me or pretend
not to do so, so I was continuing my trifling talk with the
Corticelli, when Therese told me that the abbe wanted to know
whether I did not recollect him. I looked at his face
attentively, and with the air of a man who is trying to recollect
something, and then I rose and asked if he were not the Abbe Gama,
with whose acquaintance I was honoured.
"The same," said he, rising, and placing his arms round my neck he
kissed me again and again. This was in perfect agreement with his
crafty character; the reader will not have forgotten the portrait
of him contained in the first volume of these Memoirs.
After the ice had been thus broken it will be imagined that we had
a long conversation. He spoke of Barbaruccia, of the fair
Marchioness G----, of Cardinal S---- C----, and told me how he had
passed from the Spanish to the Portuguese service, in which he
still continued. I was enjoying his talk about numerous subjects
which had interested me in my early youth, when an unexpected
sight absorbed all my thinking faculties. A young man of fifteen
or sixteen, as well grown as Italians usually are at that age,
came into the room, saluted the company with easy grace, and
kissed Therese. I was the only person who did not know him, but I
was not the only one who looked surprised. The daring Therese
introduced him to me with perfect coolness with the words:--
"That is my brother."
I greeted him as warmly as I could, but my manner was slightly
confused, as I had not had time to recover my composure. This so-
called brother of Therese was my living image, though his
complexion was rather clearer than mine. I saw at once that he
was my son; nature had never been so indiscreet as in the amazing
likeness between us. This, then, was the surprise of which
Therese had spoken; she had devised the pleasure of seeing me at
once astounded and delighted, for she knew that my heart would be
touched at the thought of having left her such a pledge of our
mutual love. I had not the slightest foreknowledge in the matter,
for Therese had never alluded to her being with child in her
letters. I thought, however, that she should not have brought
about this meeting in the presence of a third party, for everyone
has eyes in their head, and anyone with eyes must have seen that
the young man was either my son or my brother. I glanced at her,
but she avoided meeting my eye, while the pretended brother was
looking at me so attentively that he did not hear what was said to
him. As to the others, they did nothing but look first at me and
then at him, and if they came to the conclusion that he was my son
they would be obliged to suppose that I had been the lover of
Therese's mother, if she were really his sister, for taking into
consideration the age she looked and gave herself out to be she
could not possibly be his mother. It was equally impossible that
I could be Therese's father, as I did not look any older than she
My son spoke the Neapolitan dialect perfectly, but he also spoke
Italian very well, and in whatever he said I was glad to recognize
taste, good sense, and intelligence. He was well-informed, though
he had been brought up at Naples, and his manners were very
distinguished. His mother made him sit between us at table.
"His favourite amusement," she said to me, "is music. You must
hear him on the clavier, and though I am eight years older I shall
not be surprised if you pronounce him the better performer."
Only a woman's delicate instinct could have suggested this remark;
men hardly ever approach women in this respect.
Whether from natural impulses or self-esteem, I rose from the
table so delighted with my son that I embraced him with the utmost
tenderness, and was applauded by the company. I asked everybody
to dine with me the next day, and my invitation was joyfully
accepted; but the Corticelli said, with the utmost simplicity,
"May I come, too?"
"Certainty; you too."
After dinner the Abbe Gama asked me to breakfast with him, or to
have him to breakfast the next morning, as be was longing for a
good talk with me.
"Come and breakfast with me," said I, "I shall be delighted to see
When the guests had gone Don Cesarino, as the pretended brother of
Therese was called, asked me if I would walk with him. I kissed
him, and replied that my carriage was at his service, and that he
and his brother-in-law could drive in it, but that I had resolved
not to leave his sister that day. Palesi seemed quite satisfied
with the arrangement, and they both went away.
When we were alone, I gave Therese an ardent embrace, and
congratulated her on having such a brother.
"My dear, he is the fruit of our amours; he is your son. He makes
me happy, and is happy himself, and indeed he has everything to
make him so."
"And I, too, am happy, dear Therese. You must have seen that I
recognized him at once."
"But do you want to give him a brother? How ardent you are!"
"Remember, beloved one, that to-morrow we are to be friends, and
By this my efforts were crowned with success, but the thought that
it was the last time was a bitter drop in the cup of happiness.
When we had regained our composure, Therese said,--
"The duke who took me from Rimini brought up our child; as soon as
I knew that I was pregnant I confided my secret to him. No one
knew of my delivery, and the child was sent to nurse at Sorrento,
and the duke had him baptized under the name of Caesar Philip
Land. He remained at Sorrento till he was nine, and then he was
boarded with a worthy man, who superintended his education and
taught him music. From his earliest childhood he has known me as
his sister, and you cannot think how happy I was when I saw him
growing so like you. I have always considered him as a sure
pledge of our final union. I was ever thinking what would happen
when we met, for I knew that he would have the same influence over
you as he has over me. I was sure you would marry me and make him
"And you have rendered all this, which would have made me happy,
"The fates decided so; we will say no more about it. On the death
of the duke I left Naples, leaving Cesarino at the same boarding
school, under the protection of the Prince de la Riccia, who has
always looked upon him as a brother. Your son, though he does not
know it, possesses the sum of twenty thousand ducats, of which I
receive the interest, but you may imagine that I let him want for
nothing. My only regret is that I cannot tell him I am his
mother, as I think he would love me still more if he knew that he
owed his being to me. You cannot think how glad I was to see your
surprise to-day, and how soon you got to love him."
"He is wonderfully like me."
"That delights me. People must think that you were my mother's
lover. My husband thinks that our friendship is due to the
connection between you and my mother. He told me yesterday that
Cesarino might be my brother on the mother's side, but not on my
father's; as he had seen his father in the theatre, but that he
could not possibly be my father, too. If I have children by
Palesi all I have will go to them, but if not Cesarino will be my
heir. My property is well secured, even if the Prince de Riccia
were to die."
"Come," said she, drawing me in the direction of her bed-room.
She opened a large box which contained her jewels and diamonds,
and shares to the amount of fifty thousand ducats. Besides that
she had a large amount of plate, and her talents which assured her
the first place in all the Italian theatres.
"Do you know whether our dear Cesarino has been in love yet?" said I.
"I don't think so, but I fancy my pretty maid is in love with him.
I shall keep my eyes open."
"You mustn't be too strict."
"No, but it isn't a good thing for a young man to engage too soon
in that pleasure which makes one neglect everything else."
"Let me have him, I will teach him how to live."
"Ask all, but leave me my son. You must know that I never kiss
him for fear of my giving way to excessive emotion. I wish you
knew how good and pure he is, and how well he loves me, I could
not refuse him anything."
"What will people say in Venice when they see Casanova again, who
escaped from The Leads and has become twenty years younger?"
"You are going to Venice, then, for the Ascensa?"
"Yes, and you are going to Rome?"
"And to Naples, to see my friend the Duke de Matalone."
"I know him well. He has already had a son by the daughter of the
Duke de Bovino, whom he married. She must be a charming woman to
have made a man of him, for all Naples knew that he was impotent."
"Probably, she only knew the secret of making him a father."
"Well, it is possible."
We spent the time by talking with interest on various topics till
Cesarino and the husband came back. The dear child finished his
conquest of me at supper; he had a merry random wit, and all the
Neapolitan vivacity. He sat down at the clavier, and after
playing several pieces with the utmost skill he began to sing
Neapolitan songs which made us all laugh. Therese only looked at
him and me, but now and again she embraced her husband, saying,
that in love alone lies happiness.
I thought then, and I think now, that this day was one of the
happiest I have ever spent.
The Corticelli--The Jew Manager Beaten--The False Charles Ivanoff
and the Trick He Played Me--I Am Ordered to Leave Tuscany
--I Arrive at Rome--My Brother Jean
At nine o'clock the next morning, the Abbe Gama was announced.
The first thing he did was to shed tears of joy (as he said) at
seeing me so well and prosperous after so many years. The reader
will guess that the abbe addressed me in the most flattering
terms, and perhaps he may know that one may be clever, experienced
in the ways of the world, and even distrustful of flattery, but
yet one's self-love, ever on the watch, listens to the flatterer,
and thinks him pleasant. This polite and pleasant abbe, who had
become extremely crafty from having lived all his days amongst the
high dignitaries at the court of the 'Servus Servorum Dei' (the
best school of strategy), was not altogether an ill-disposed man,
but both his disposition and his profession conspired to make him
inquisitive; in fine, such as I have depicted him in the first
volume of these Memoirs. He wanted to hear my adventures, and did
not wait for me to ask him to tell his story. He told me at great
length the various incidents in his life for the seventeen years
in which we had not seen one another. He had left the service of
the King of Spain for that of the King of Portugal, he was
secretary of embassy to the Commander Almada, and be had been
obliged to leave Rome because the Pope Rezzonico would not allow
the King of Portugal to punish certain worthy Jesuit assassins,
who had only broken his arm as it happened, but who had none the
less meant to take his life. Thus, Gama was staying in Italy
corresponding with Almada and the famous Carvalho, waiting for the
dispute to be finished before he returned to Rome. In point of
fact this was the only substantial incident in the abbe's story,
but he worked in so many episodes of no consequence that it lasted
for an hour. No doubt he wished me to shew my gratitude by
telling him all my adventures without reserve; but the upshot of
it was that we both shewed ourselves true diplomatists, he in
lengthening his story, I in shortening mine, while I could not
help feeling some enjoyment in bulking the curiosity of my
"What are you going to do in Rome?" said he, indifferently.
"I am going to beg the Pope to use his influence in my favour with
the State Inquisitors at Venice."
It was not the truth, but one lie is as good as another, and if I
had said I was only going for amusement's sake he would not have
believed me. To tell the truth to an unbelieving man is to
prostitute, to murder it. He then begged me to enter into a
correspondence with him, and as that bound me to nothing I agreed
to do so.
"I can give you a mark of my friendship," said he, "by introducing
you to the Marquis de Botta-Adamo, Governor of Tuscany; he is
supposed to be a friend of the regent's."
I accepted his offer gratefully, and he began to sound me about
Therese, but found my lips as tightly closed as the lid of a
miser's coffer. I told him she was a child when I made the
acquaintance of her family at Bologna, and that the resemblance
between her brother and myself was a mere accident--a freak of
nature. He happened to catch sight of a well-written manuscript
on the table, and asked me if that superb writing was my
secretary's. Costa, who was present, answered in Spanish that he
wrote it. Gama overwhelmed him with compliments, and begged me to
send Costa to him to copy some letters. I guessed that he wanted
to pump him about me, and said that I needed his services all the
"Well, well," said the abbe, "another time will do." I gave him no
answer. Such is the character of the curious.
I am not referring to that curiosity which depends on the occult
sciences, and endeavours to pry into the future--the daughter of
ignorance and superstition, its victims are either foolish or
ignorant. But the Abbe Gama was neither; he was naturally
curious, and his employment made him still more so, for he was
paid to find out everything. He was a diplomatist; if he had been
a little lower down in the social scale he would have been treated
as a spy.
He left me to pay some calls, promising to be back by dinner-time.
Dr. Vannini brought me another servant, of the same height as the
first, and engaged that he should obey orders and guess nothing.
I thanked the academician and inn-keeper, and ordered him to get
me a sumptuous dinner.
The Corticelli was the first to arrive, bringing with her her
brother, an effeminate-looking young man, who played the violin
moderately well, and her mother, who informed me that she never
allowed her daughter to dine out without herself and her son.
"Then you can take her back again this instant," said I, "or take
this ducat to dine somewhere else, as I don't want your company or
She took the ducat, saying that she was sure she was leaving her
daughter in good hands.
"You may be sure of that," said I, "so be off."
The daughter made such witty observations on the above dialogue
that I could not help laughing, and I began to be in love with
her. She was only thirteen, and was so small that she looked ten.
She was well-made, lively, witty, and fairer than is usual with
Italian women, but to this day I cannot conceive how I fell in
love with her.
The young wanton begged me to protect her against the manager of
the opera, who was a Jew. In the agreement she had made with him
he had engaged to let her dance a 'pas de deux' in the second
opera, and he had not kept his word. She begged me to compel the
Jew to fulfil his engagement, and I promised to do so.
The next guest was Redegonde, who came from Parma. She was a
tall, handsome woman, and Costa told me she was the sister of my
new footman. After I had talked with her for two or three minutes
I found her remarks well worthy of attention.
Then came the Abbe Gama, who congratulated me on being seated
between two pretty girls. I made him take my place, and he began
to entertain them as if to the manner born; and though the girls
were laughing at him, he was not in the least disconcerted. He
thought he was amusing them, and on watching his expression I saw
that his self-esteem prevented him seeing that he was making a
fool of himself; but I did not guess that I might make the same
mistake at his age.
Wretched is the old man who will not recognize his old age;
wretched unless he learn that the sex whom he seduced so often
when he was young will despise him now if he still attempts to
gain their favour.
My fair Therese, with her husband and my son, was the last to
arrive. I kissed Therese and then my son, and sat down between
them, whispering to Therese that such a dear mysterious trinity
must not be parted; at which Therese smiled sweetly. The abbe sat
down between Redegonde and the Corticelli, and amused us all the
time by his agreeable conversation.
I laughed internally when I observed how respectfully my new
footman changed his sister's plate, who appeared vain of honours
to which her brother could lay no claim. She was not kind; she
whispered to me, so that he could not hear,--
"He is a good fellow, but unfortunately he is rather stupid."
I had put in my pocket a superb gold snuff-box, richly enamelled
and adorned with a perfect likeness of myself. I had had it made
at Paris, with the intention of giving it to Madame d'Urfe, and I
had not done so because the painter had made me too young. I had
filled it with some excellent Havana snuff which M. de Chavigny
had given me, and of which Therese was very fond; I was waiting
for her to ask me for a pinch before I drew it out of my pocket.
The Abbe Gama, who had some exceedingly good snuff in an Origonela
box, sent a pinch to Therese, and she sent him her snuff in a
tortoise-shell box encrusted with gold in arabesques--an exquisite
piece of workmanship. Gama criticised Therese's snuff, while I
said that I found it delicious but that I thought I had some
better myself. I took out my snuff-box, and opening it offered
her a pinch. She did not notice the portrait, but she agreed that
my snuff was vastly superior to hers.
"Well, would you like to make an exchange?" said I. "Certainly,
give me some paper."
"That is not requisite; we will exchange the snuff and the snuff-
So saying, I put Therese's box in my pocket and gave her mine
shut. When she saw the portrait, she gave a cry which puzzled
everybody, and her first motion was to kiss the portrait.
"Look," said she to Cesarino, "here is your portrait."
Cesarino looked at it in astonishment, and the box passed from
hand to hand. Everybody said that it was my portrait, taken ten
years ago, and that it might pass for a likeness of Cesarino.
Therese got quite excited, and swearing that she would never let
the box out of her hands again, she went up to her son and kissed
him several times. While this was going on I watched the Abbe
Gama, and I could see that he was making internal comments of his
own on this affecting scene.
The worthy abbe went away towards the evening, telling me that he
would expect me to breakfast next morning.
I spent the rest of the day in making love to Redegonde, and
Therese, who saw that I was pleased with the girl, advised me to
declare myself, and promised that she would ask her to the house
as often as I liked. But Therese did not know her.
Next morning Gama told me that he had informed Marshal Botta that
I would come and see him, and he would present me at four o'clock.
Then the worthy abbe, always the slave of his curiosity,
reproached me in a friendly manner for not having told him
anything about my fortune.
"I did not think it was worth mentioning, but as you are
interested in the subject I may tell you that my means are small,
but that I have friends whose purses are always open to me."
"If you have true friends you are a rich man, but true friends are
I left the Abbe Gama, my head full of Redegonde, whom I preferred
to the young Corticelli, and I went to pay her a visit; but what a
reception! She received me in a room in which were present her
mother, her uncle, and three or four dirty, untidy little monkeys:
these were her brothers.'
"Haven't you a better room to receive your friends in?" said I.
"I have no friends, so I don't want a room."
"Get it, my dear, and you will find the friends come fast enough.
This is all very well for you to welcome your relations in, but
not persons like myself who come to do homage to your charms and
"Sir," said the mother, "my daughter has but few talents, and
thinks nothing of her charms, which are small."
"You are extremely modest, and I appreciate your feelings; but
everybody does not see your daughter with the same eyes, and she
pleased me greatly."
"That is an honour for her, and we are duly sensible of it, but
not so as to be over-proud. My daughter will see you as often as
you please, but here, and in no other place."
"But I am afraid of being in the way here."
"An honest man is never in the way."
I felt ashamed, for nothing so confounds a libertine as modesty in
the mouth of poverty; and not knowing what to answer I took my
I told Therese of my unfortunate visit, and we both, laughed at
it; it was the best thing we could do.
"I shall be glad to see you at the opera," said she, "and you can
get into my dressing-room if you give the door-keeper a small
piece of money."
The Abbe Gama came as he promised, to take me to Marshal Botta, a
man of high talents whom the affair of Genoa had already rendered
famous. He was in command of the Austrian army when the people,
growing angry at the sight of the foreigners, who had only come to
put them under the Austrian yoke, rose in revolt and made them
leave the town. This patriotic riot saved the Republic. I found
him in the midst of a crowd of ladies and gentlemen, whom he left
to welcome me. He talked about Venice in a way that shewed he
understood the country thoroughly, and I conversed to him on
France, and, I believe, satisfied him. In his turn he spoke of
the Court of Russia, at which he was staying when Elizabeth
Petrovna, who was still reigning at the period in question, so
easily mounted the throne of her father, Peter the Great. "It is
only in Russia," said he, "that poison enters into politics."
At the time when the opera began the marshal left the room, and
everybody went away. On my way the abbe assured me, as a matter
of course, that I had pleased the governor, and I afterwards went
to the theatre, and obtained admission to Therese's dressing-room
for a tester. I found her in the hands of her pretty chamber-
maid, and she advised me to go to Redegonde's dressing-room, as
she played a man's part, and might, perhaps, allow me to assist in
I followed her advice, but the mother would not let me come in, as
her daughter was just going to dress. I assured her that I would
turn my back all the time she was dressing, and on this condition
she let me in, and made me sit down at a table on which stood a
mirror, which enabled me to see all Redegonde's most secret parts
to advantage; above all, when she lifted her legs to put on her
breeches, either most awkwardly or most cleverly, according to her
intentions. She did not lose anything by what she shewed,
however, for I was so pleased, that to possess her charms I would
have signed any conditions she cared to impose upon me.
"Redegonde must know," I said to myself, "that I could see
everything in the glass;" and the idea inflamed me. I did not
turn round till the mother gave me leave, and I then admired my
charmer as a young man of five feet one, whose shape left nothing
to be desired.
Redegonde went out, and I followed her to the wings.
"My dear," said I, "I am going to talk plainly to you. You have
inflamed my passions and I shall die if you do not make me happy."
"You do not say that you will die if you chance to make me
"I could not say so, because I cannot conceive such a thing as
possible. Do not trifle with me, dear Redegonde, you must be
aware that I saw all in the mirror, and I cannot think that you
are so cruel as to arouse my passions and then leave me to
"What could you have seen? I don't know what you are talking
"May be, but know that I have seen all your charms. What shall I
do to possess you?"
"To possess me? I don't understand you, sir; I'm an honest girl."
"I dare say; but you wouldn't be any less honest after making me
happy. Dear Redegonde, do not let me languish for you, but tell
me my fate now this instant."
"I do not know what to tell you, but you can come and see me
whenever you like"
"When shall I find you alone?"
"Alone! I am never alone."
"Well, well, that's of no consequence; if only your mother is
present, that comes to the same thing. If she is sensible, she
will pretend not to see anything, and I will give you a hundred
ducats each time."
"You are either a madman, or you do not know what sort of people
With these words she went on, and I proceeded to tell Therese what
"Begin," said she, "by offering the hundred ducats to the mother,
and if she refuses, have no more to do with them, and go
I returned to the dressing-room, where I found the mother alone,
and without any ceremony spoke as follows:--
"Good evening, madam, I am a stranger here; I am only staying a
week, and I am in love with your daughter. If you like to be
obliging, bring her to sup with me. I will give you a hundred
sequins each time, so you see my purse is in your power."
"Whom do you think you are talking to, sir? I am astonished at
your impudence. Ask the townsfolk what sort of character I bear,
and whether my daughter is an honest girl or not! and you will not
make such proposals again."
As I went out I met Redegonde, and I told her word for word the
conversation I had had with her mother. She burst out laughing.
"Have I done well or ill?" said I.
"Well enough, but if you love me come and see me."
"See you after what your mother said?"
"Well, why not, who knows of it?"
"Who knows? You don't know me, Redegonde. I do not care to
indulge myself in idle hopes, and I thought I had spoken to you
Feeling angry, and vowing to have no more to do with this strange
girl, I supped with Therese, and spent three delightful hours with
her. I had a great deal of writing to do the next day and kept in
doors, and in the evening I had a visit from the young Corticelli,
her mother and brother. She begged me to keep my promise
regarding the manager of the theatre, who would not let her dance
the 'pas de deux' stipulated for in the agreement.
"Come and breakfast with me to-morrow morning," said I, "and I
will speak to the Israelite in your presence--at least I will do
so if he comes."
"I love you very much," said the young wanton, "can't I stop a
little longer here."
"You may stop as long as you like, but as I have got some letters
to finish, I must ask you to excuse my entertaining you."
"Oh! just as you please."
I told Costa to give her some supper.
I finished my letters and felt inclined for a little amusement, so
I made the girl sit by me and proceeded to toy with her, but in
such a way that her mother could make no objection. All at once
the brother came up and tried to join in the sport, much to my
"Get along with you," said I, "you are not a girl."
At this the young scoundrel proceeded to shew me his sex, but in
such an indecent fashion that his sister, who was sitting on my
knee, burst out laughing and took refuge with her mother, who was
sitting at the other end of the room in gratitude for the good
supper I had given her. I rose from my chair, and after giving
the impudent pederast a box on the ear I asked the mother with
what intentions she had brought the young rascal to my house. By
way of reply the infamous woman said,--
"He's a pretty lad, isn't he?"
I gave him a ducat for the blow I had given him, and told the
mother to begone, as she disgusted me. The pathic took my ducat,
kissed my hand, and they all departed.
I went to bed feeling amused at the incident, and wondering at the
wickedness of a mother who would prostitute her own son to the
basest of vices.
Next morning I sent and asked the Jew to call on me. The
Corticelli came with her mother, and the Jew soon after, just as
we were going to breakfast.
I proceeded to explain the grievance of the young dancer, and I
read the agreement he had made with her, telling him politely that
I could easily force him to fulfil it. The Jew put in several
excuses, of which the Corticelli demonstrated the futility. At
last the son of Judah was forced to give in, and promised to speak
to the ballet-master the same day, in order that she might dance
the 'pas' with the actor she named.
"And that, I hope, will please your excellency," he added, with a
low bow, which is not often a proof of sincerity, especially among
When my guests had taken leave I went to the Abbe Gama, to dine
with Marshal Botta who had asked us to dinner. I made the
acquaintance there of Sir Mann, the English ambassador, who was
the idol of Florence, very rich, of the most pleasing manners
although an Englishman; full of wit, taste, and a great lover of
the fine arts. He invited me to come next day and see his house
and garden. In this home he had made--furniture, pictures, choice
books--all shewed the man of genius. He called on me, asked me to
dinner, and had the politeness to include Therese, her husband,
and Cesarino in the invitation. After dinner my son sat down at
the clavier and delighted the company by his exquisite playing.
While we were talking of likenesses, Sir Mann shewed us some
miniatures of great beauty.
Before leaving, Therese told me that she had been thinking
seriously of me.
"In what respect?" I asked.
"I have told Redegonde that I am going to call for her, that I
will keep her to supper, and have her taken home. You must see
that this last condition is properly carried out. Come to supper
too, and have your carriage in waiting. I leave the rest to you.
You will only be a few minutes with her, but that's something; and
the first step leads far."
"An excellent plan. I will sup with you, and my carriage shall be
ready. I will tell you all about it to-morrow."
I went to the house at nine o'clock, and was welcomed as an
unexpected guest. I told Redegonde that I was glad to meet her,
and she replied that she had not hoped to have the pleasure of
seeing me. Redegonde was the only one who had any appetite; she
ate capitally, and laughed merrily at the stories I told her.
After supper Therese asked her if she would like to have a sedan-
chair sent for, or if she would prefer to be taken back in my
"If the gentleman will be so kind," said she, "I need not send for
I thought this reply of such favourable omen that I no longer
doubted of my success. After she had wished the others good
night, she took my arm, pressing it as she did so; we went down
the stairs, and she got into the carriage. I got in after her,
and on attempting to sit down I found the place taken.
"Who is that?" I cried.
Redegonde burst out laughing, and informed me it was her mother.
I was done; I could not summon up courage to pass it off as a
jest. Such a shock makes a man stupid; for a moment it numbs all
the mental faculties, and wounded self-esteem only gives place to
I sat down on the front seat and coldly asked the mother why she
had not come up to supper with us. When the carriage stopped at
their door, she asked me to come in, but I told her I would rather
not. I felt that for a little more I would have boxed her ears,
and the man at the house door looked very like a cut-throat.
I felt enraged and excited physically as well as mentally, and
though I had never been to see the Corticelli, told the coachman
to drive there immediately, as I felt sure of finding her well
disposed. Everybody was gone to bed. I knocked at the door till
I got an answer, I gave my name, and I was let in, everything
being in total darkness. The mother told me she would light a
candle, and that if she had expected me she would have waited up
in spite of the cold. I felt as if I were in the middle of an
iceberg. I heard the girl laughing, and going up to the bed and
passing my hand over it I came across some plain tokens of the
masculine gender. I had got hold of her brother. In the
meanwhile the mother had got a candle, and I saw the girl with the
bedclothes up to her chin, for, like her brother, she was as naked
as my hand. Although no Puritan, I was shocked.
"Why do you allow this horrible union?" I said to the mother.
"What harm is there? They are brother and sister."
"That's just what makes it a criminal matter."
"Everything is perfectly innocent."
"Possibly; but it's not a good plan."
The pathic escaped from the bed and crept into his mother's, while
the little wanton told me there was really no harm, as they only
loved each other as brother and sister, and that if I wanted her
to sleep by herself all I had to do was to get her a new bed.
This speech, delivered with arch simplicity, in her Bolognese
jargon, made me laugh with all my heart, for in the violence of
her gesticulations she had disclosed half her charms, and I saw
nothing worth looking at. In spite of that, it was doubtless
decreed that I should fall in love with her skin, for that was all
If I had been alone I should have brought matters to a crisis on
the spot, but I had a distaste to the presence of her mother and
her scoundrelly brother. I was afraid lest some unpleasant scenes
might follow. I gave her ten ducats to buy a bed, said good
night, and left the house. I returned to my lodging, cursing the
too scrupulous mothers of the opera girls.
I passed the whole of the next morning with Sir Mann, in his
gallery, which contained some exquisite paintings, sculptures,
mosaics, and engraved gems. On leaving him, I called on Therese
and informed her of my misadventure of the night before. She
laughed heartily at my story, and I laughed too, in spite of a
feeling of anger due to my wounded self-esteem.
"You must console yourself," said she; "you will not find much
difficulty in filling the place in your affections."
"Ah! why are you married?"
"Well, it's done; and there's no helping it. But listen to me.
As you can't do without someone, take up with the Corticelli;
she's as good as any other woman, and won't keep you waiting
On my return to my lodging, I found the Abbe Gama, whom I had
invited to dinner, and he asked me if I would accept a post to
represent Portugal at the approaching European Congress at
Augsburg. He told me that if I did the work well, I could get
anything I liked at Lisbon.
"I am ready to do my best," said I; "you have only to write to
me, and I will tell you where to direct your letters." This
proposal made me long to become a diplomatist.
In the evening I went to the opera-house and spoke to the ballet-
master, the dancer who was to take part in the 'pas de deux', and
to the Jew, who told me that my protegee should be satisfied in
two or three days, and that she should perform her favourite 'pas'
for the rest of the carnival. I saw the Corticelli, who told me
she had got her bed, and asked me to come to supper. I accepted
the invitation, and when the opera was over I went to her house.
Her mother, feeling sure that I would pay the bill, had ordered an
excellent supper for four, and several flasks of the best Florence
wine. Besides that, she gave me a bottle of the wine called
Oleatico, which I found excellent. The three Corticellis
unaccustomed to good fare and wine, ate like a troop, and began to
get intoxicated. The mother and son went to bed without ceremony,
and the little wanton invited me to follow their example. I
should have liked to do so, but I did not dare. It was very cold
and there was no fire in the room, there was only one blanket on
the bed, and I might have caught a bad cold, and I was too fond of
my good health to expose myself to such a danger. I therefore
satisfied myself by taking her on my knee, and after a few
preliminaries she abandoned herself to my transports, endeavouring
to persuade me that I had got her maidenhead. I pretended to
believe her, though I cared very little whether it were so or not.
I left her after I had repeated the dose three or four times, and
gave her fifty sequins, telling her to get a good wadded coverlet
and a large brazier, as I wanted to sleep with her the next night.
Next morning I received an extremely interesting letter from
Grenoble. M. de Valenglard informed me that the fair Mdlle.
Roman, feeling convinced that her horoscope would never come true
unless she went to Paris, had gone to the capital with her aunt.
Her destiny was a strange one; it depended on the liking I had
taken to her and my aversion to marriage, for it lay in my power
to have married the handsomest woman in France, and in that case
it is not likely that she would have become the mistress of Louis
XV. What strange whim could have made me indicate in her
horoscope the necessity of her journeying to Paris; for even if
there were such a science as astrology I was no astrologer; in
fine, her destiny depended on my absurd fancy. And in history,
what a number of extraordinary events would never have happened if
they had not been predicted!
In the evening I went to the theatre, and found my Corticelli clad
in a pretty cloak, while the other girls looked at me
contemptuously, for they were enraged at the place being taken;
while the proud favourite caressed me with an air of triumph which
became her to admiration.
In the evening I found a good supper awaiting me, a large brazier
on the hearth, and a warm coverlet on the bed. The mother shewed
me all the things her daughter had bought, and complained that she
had not got any clothes for her brother. I made her happy by
giving her a few louis.
When I went to bed I did not find my mistress in any amorous
transports, but in a wanton and merry mood. She made me laugh,
and as she let me do as I liked I was satisfied. I gave her a
watch when I left her, and promised to sup with her on the
following night. She was to have danced the pas de deux, and I
went to see her do it, but to my astonishment she only danced with
the other girls.
When I went to supper I found her in despair. She wept and said
that I must avenge her on the Jew, who had excused himself by
putting the fault on somebody else, but that he was a liar. I
promised everything to quiet her, and after spending several hours
in her company I returned home, determined to give the Jew a bad
quarter of an hour. Next morning I sent Costa to ask him to call
on me, but the rascal sent back word that he was not coming, and
if the Corticelli did not like his theatre she might try another.
I was indignant, but I knew that I must dissemble, so I only
laughed. Nevertheless, I had pronounced his doom, for an Italian
never forgets to avenge himself on his enemy; he knows it is the
pleasure of the gods.
As soon as Costa had left the room, I called Le Duc and told him
the story, saying that if I did not take vengeance I should be
dishonoured, and that it was only he who could procure the
scoundrel a good thrashing for daring to insult me.
"But you know, Le Duc, the affair must be kept secret."
"I only want twenty-four hours to give you an answer."
I knew what he meant, and I was satisfied.
Next morning Le Duc told me he had spent the previous day in
learning the Jew's abode and habits, without asking anybody any
"To-day I will not let him go out of my sight. I shall find out
at what hour he returns home, and to-morrow you shall know the
"Be discreet," said I, "and don't let anybody into your plans."
Next day, he told me that if the Jew came home at the same time
and by the same way as before, he would have a thrashing before he
got to bed.
"Whom have you chosen for this expedition?"
"Myself. These affairs ought to be kept secret, and a secret
oughtn't to be known to more than two people. I am sure that
everything will turn out well, but when you are satisfied that the
ass's hide has been well tanned, will there be anything to be
"That will do nicely. When I have done the trick I shall put on
my great coat again and return by the back door. If necessary
Costa himself will be able to swear that I did not leave the
house, and that therefore I cannot have committed the assault.
However, I shall put my pistols in my pocket in case of accidents,
and if anybody tries to arrest me I shall know how to defend
Next morning he came coolly into my room while Costa was putting
on my dressing-gown, and when we were alone he said,--
"The thing's done. Instead of the Jew's running away when he
received the first blow he threw himself on to the ground. Then I
tanned his skin for him nicely, but on hearing some people coming
up I ran off. I don't know whether I did for him, but I gave him
two sturdy blows on the head. I should be sorry if he were
killed, as then he could not see about the dance."
This jest did not arouse my mirth; the matter promised to be too
Therese had asked me to dine with the Abbe Gama and M. Sassi, a
worthy man, if one may prostitute the name of man to describe a
being whom cruelty has separated from the rest of humanity; he was
the first castrato of the opera. Of course the Jew's mishap was
"I am sorry for him," said I, "though he is a rascally fellow."
"I am not at all sorry for him myself," said Sassi, "he's a knave."
"I daresay that everybody will be putting down his wooden baptism
to my account."
"No," said the abbe, "people say that M. Casanova did the deed for
good reasons of his own."
"It will be difficult to pitch on the right man," I answered, "the
rascal has pushed so many worthy people to extremities that he
must have a great many thrashings owing him."
The conversation then passed to other topics, and we had a very
In a few days the Jew left his bed with a large plaster on his
nose, and although I was generally regarded as the author of his
misfortune the matter was gradually allowed to drop, as there were
only vague suspicions to go upon. But the Corticelli, in an
ecstasy of joy, was stupid enough to talk as if she were sure it
was I who had avenged her, and she got into a rage when I would
not admit the deed; but, as may be guessed, I was not foolish
enough to do so, as her imprudence might have been a hanging
matter for me.
I was well enough amused at Florence, and had no thoughts of
leaving, when one day Vannini gave me a letter which someone had
left for me. I opened it in his presence, and found it contained
a bill of exchange for two hundred Florentine crowns on Sasso
Sassi. Vannini looked at it and told me it was a good one. I
went into my room to read the letter, and I was astonished to find
it signed "Charles Ivanoff." He dated it from Pistoia, and told
me that in his poverty and misfortune he had appealed to an
Englishman who was leaving Florence for Lucca, and had generously
given him a bill of exchange for two hundred crowns, which he had
written in his presence. It was made payable to bearer.
"I daren't cash it in Florence," said he, "as I am afraid of being
arrested for my unfortunate affair at Genoa. I entreat you, then,
to have pity on me, to get the bill cashed, and to bring me the
money here, that I may pay my landlord and go."
It looked like a very simple matter, but I might get into trouble,
for the note might be forged; and even if it were not I should be
declaring myself a friend or a correspondent, at all events, of a
man who had been posted. In this dilemma I took the part of
taking the bill of exchange to him in person. I went to the
posting establishment, hired two horses, and drove to Pistoia.
The landlord himself took me to the rascal's room, and left me
alone with him.
I did not stay more than three minutes, and all I said was that as
Sassi knew me I did not wish him to think that there was any kind
of connection between us.
"I advise you," I said, "to give the bill to your landlord, who
will cash it at M. Sassi's and bring you your change"
"I will follow your advice," he said, and I therewith returned to
I thought no more of it, but in two days' time I received a visit
from M. Sassi and the landlord of the inn at Pistoia. The banker
shewed me the bill of exchange, and said that the person who had
given it me had deceived me, as it was not in the writing of the
Englishman whose name it bore, and that even if it were, the
Englishman not having any money with Sassi could not draw a bill
"The inn-keeper here," said he, "discounted the bill, the Russian
has gone off, and when I told him that it was a forgery he said
that he knew Charles Ivanoff had it of you, and that thus he had
made no difficulty in cashing it; but now he wants you to return
him two hundred crowns."
"Then he will be disappointed!"
I told all the circumstances of the affair to Sassi; I shewed him
the rascal's letter; I made Dr. Vannini, who had given it me, come
up, and he said he was ready to swear that he had seen me take the
bill of exchange out of the letter, that he had examined it, and
had thought it good.
On this the banker told the inn-keeper that he had no business to
ask me to pay him the money; but he persisted in his demand, and
dared to say that I was an accomplice of the Russian's.
In my indignation I ran for my cane, but the banker held me by the
arm, and the impertinent fellow made his escape without a
"You had a right to be angry," said M. Sassi, "but you must not
take any notice of what the poor fellow says in his blind rage."
He shook me by the hand and went out.
Next day the chief of police, called the auditor at Florence, sent
me a note begging me to call on him. There was no room for
hesitation, for as a stranger I felt that I might look on this
invitation as an intimation. He received me very politely, but he
said I should have to repay the landlord his two hundred crowns,
as he would not have discounted the bill if he had not seen me
bring it. I replied that as a judge he could not condemn me
unless he thought me the Russian's accomplice, but instead of
answering he repeated that I would have to pay.
"Sir," I replied, "I will not pay."
He rang the bell and bowed, and I left him, walking towards the
banker's, to whom I imparted the conversation I had had from the
auditor. He was extremely astonished, and at my request called on
him to try and make him listen to reason. As we parted I told him
that I was dining with the Abbe Gama.
When I saw the abbe I told him what had happened, and he uttered a
loud exclamation of astonishment.
"I foresee," he said, "that the auditor will not let go his hold,
and if M. Sassi does not succeed with him I advise you to speak to
"I don't think that will be necessary; the auditor can't force me
"He can do worse."
"What can he do?".
"He can make you leave Florence."
"Well, I shall be astonished if he uses his power in this case,
but rather than pay I will leave the town. Let us go to the
We called on him at four o'clock, and we found the banker there,
who had told him the whole story.
"I am sorry to tell you," said M. Sassi, "that I could do nothing
with the auditor, and if you want to remain in Florence you will
have to pay."
"I will leave as soon as I receive the order," said I; "and as
soon as I reach another state I will print the history of this
shameful perversion of justice."
"It's an incredible, a monstrous sentence" said the marshal, "and
I am sorry I cannot interfere. You are quite right," he added,
"to leave the place rather than pay."
Early the next morning a police official brought me a letter from
the auditor, informing me that as he could not, from the nature of
the case, oblige me to pay, he was forced to warn me to leave
Florence in three days, and Tuscany in seven. This, he added, he
did in virtue of his office; but whenever the Grand Duke, to whom
I might appeal, had quashed his judgment I might return.
I took a piece of paper and wrote upon it, "Your judgment is an
iniquitous one, but it shall be obeyed to the letter."
At that moment I gave orders to pack up and have all in readiness
for my departure. I spent three days of respite in amusing myself
with Therese. I also saw the worthy Sir Mann, and I promised the
Corticelli to fetch her in Lent, and spend some time with her in
Bologna. The Abbe Gama did not leave my side for three days, and
shewed himself my true friend. It was a kind of triumph for me;
on every side I heard regrets at my departure, and curses of the
auditor. The Marquis Botta seemed to approve my conduct by giving
me a dinner, the table being laid for thirty, and the company
being composed of the most distinguished people in Florence. This
was a delicate attention on his part, of which I was very
I consecrated the last day to Therese, but I could not find any
opportunity to ask her for a last consoling embrace, which she
would not have refused me under the circumstances, and which I
should still fondly remember. We promised to write often to one
another, and we embraced each other in a way to make her husband's
heart ache. Next day I started on my journey, and got to Rome in
It was midnight when I passed under the Porta del Popolo, for one
may enter the Eternal City at any time. I was then taken to the
custom-house, which is always open, and my mails were examined.
The only thing they are strict about at Rome is books, as if they
feared the light. I had about thirty volumes, all more or less
against the Papacy, religion, or the virtues inculcated thereby.
I had resolved to surrender them without any dispute, as I felt
tired and wanted to go to bed, but the clerk told me politely to
count them and leave them in his charge for the night, and he
would bring them to my hotel in the morning. I did so, and he
kept his word. He was well enough pleased when he touched the two
sequins with which I rewarded him.
I put up at the Ville de Paris, in the Piazza di Spagna. It is
the best inn in the town. All the world, I found, was drowned in
sleep, but when they let me in they asked me to wait on the ground
floor while a fire was lighted in my room. All the seats were
covered with dresses, petticoats, and chemises, and I heard a
small feminine voice begging me to sit on her bed. I approached
and saw a laughing mouth, and two black eyes shining like
"What splendid eyes!" said I, "let me kiss them."
By way of reply she hid her head under the coverlet, and I slid a
hasty hand under the sheets; but finding her quite naked, I drew
it back and begged pardon. She put out her head again, and I
thought I read gratitude for my moderation in her eyes.
"Who are you, my angel?"
"I am Therese, the inn-keeper's daughter, and this is my sister."
There was another girl beside her, whom I had not seen, as her
head was under the bolster.
"How old are you?"
"I hope I shall see you in my room to-morrow morning."
"Have you any ladies with you?"
"That's a pity, as we never go to the gentlemen's rooms."
"Lower the coverlet a little; I can't hear what you say."
"It's too cold."
"Dear Therese, your eyes make me feel as if I were in flames."
She put back her head at this, and I grew daring, and after sundry
experiments I was more than ever charmed with her. I caressed her
in a somewhat lively manner, and drew back my hand, again
apologizing for my daring, and when she let me see her face I
thought I saw delight rather than anger in her eyes and on her
cheeks, and I felt hopeful with regard to her. I was just going
to begin again, for I felt on fire; when a handsome chambermaid
came to tell me that my room was ready and my fire lighted.
"Farewell till to-morrow," said I to Therese, but she only
answered by turning on her side to go to sleep.
I went to bed after ordering dinner for one o'clock, and I slept
till noon, dreaming of Therese. When I woke up, Costa told me
that he had found out where my brother lived, and had left a note
at the house. This was my brother Jean, then about thirty, and a
pupil of the famous Raphael Mengs. This painter was then deprived
of his pension on account of a war which obliged the King of
Poland to live at Warsaw, as the Prussians occupied the whole
electorate of Saxe. I had not seen my brother for ten years, and
I kept our meeting as a holiday. I was sitting down to table when
he came, and we embraced each other with transport. We spent an
hour in telling, he his small adventures, and I my grand ones, and
he told me that I should not stay at the hotel, which was too
dear, but come and live at the Chevalier Mengs's house, which
contained an empty room, where I could stay at a much cheaper
"As to your table, there is a restaurant in the house where one
can get a capital meal."
"Your advice is excellent," said I, "but I have not the courage to
follow it, as I am in love with my landlord's daughter;" and I
told him what had happened the night before.
"That's a mere nothing," said he, laughing; "you can cultivate her
acquaintance without staying in the house."
I let myself be persuaded, and I promised to come to him the
following day; and then we proceeded to take a walk about Rome.
I had many interesting memories of my last visit, and I wanted to
renew my acquaintance with those who had interested me at that
happy age when such impressions are so durable because they touch
the heart rather than the mind; but I had to make up my mind to a
good many disappointments, considering the space of time that had
elapsed since I had been in Rome.
I went to the Minerva to find Donna Cecilia; she was no more in
this world. I found out where her daughter Angelica lived, and I
went to see her, but she gave me a poor reception, and said that
she really scarcely remembered me.
"I can say the same," I replied, "for you are not the Angelica I
used to know. Good-bye, madam!"
The lapse of time had not improved her personal appearance. I
found out also where the printer's son, who had married
Barbaruccia, lived, but--I put off the pleasure of seeing him till
another time, and also my visit to the Reverend Father Georgi, who
was a man of great repute in Rome. Gaspar Vivaldi had gone into
My brother took me to Madame Cherubini. I found her mansion to be
a splendid one, and the lady welcomed me in the Roman manner. I
thought her pleasant and her daughters still more so, but I
thought the crowd of lovers too large and too miscellaneous.
There was too much luxury and ceremony, and the girls, one of whom
was as fair as Love himself, were too polite to everybody. An
interesting question was put to me, to which I answered in such a
manner as to elicit another question, but to no purpose. I saw
that the rank of my brother, who had introduced me, prevented my
being thought a person of any consequence, and on hearing an abbe
say, "He's Casanova's brother," I turned to him and said,--
"That's not correct; you should say Casanova's my brother."
"That comes to the same thing."
"Not at all, my dear abbe."
I said these words in a tone which commanded attention, and
another abbe said,--
"The gentleman is quite right; it does not come to the same
The first abbe made no reply to this. The one who had taken my
part, and was my friend from that moment, was the famous
Winckelmann, who was unhappily assassinated at Trieste twelve
While I was talking to him, Cardinal Alexander Albani arrived.
Winckelmann presented me to his eminence, who was nearly blind.
He talked to me a great deal, without saying anything worth
listening to. As soon as he heard that I was the Casanova who had
escaped from The Leads, he said in a somewhat rude tone that he
wondered I had the hardihood to come to Rome, where on the
slightest hint from the State Inquisitors at Venice an 'ordine
sanctissimo' would re-consign me to my prison. I was annoyed by
this unseemly remark, and replied in a dignified voice,--
"It is not my hardihood in coming to Rome that your eminence
should wonder at, but a man of any sense would wonder at the
Inquisitors if they had the hardihood to issue an 'ordine
sanctissimo' against me; for they would be perplexed to allege any
crime in me as a pretext for thus infamously depriving me of my
This reply silenced his eminence. He was ashamed at having taken
me for a fool, and to see that I thought him one. Shortly after I
left and never set foot in that house again.
The Abbe Winckelmann went out with my brother and myself, and as
he came with me to my hotel he did me the honour of staying to
supper. Winckelmann was the second volume of the celebrated Abbe
de Voisenon. He called for me next day, and we went to Villa
Albani to see the Chevalier Mengs, who was then living there and
painting a ceiling.
My landlord Roland (who knew my brother) paid me a visit at
supper. Roland came from Avignon and was fond of good living. I
told him I was sorry to be leaving him to stay with my brother,
because I had fallen in love with his daughter Therese, although I
had only spoken to her for a few minutes, and had only seen her
"You saw her in bed, I will bet"
"Exactly, and I should very much like to see the rest of her.
Would you be so kind as to ask her to step up for a few minutes?"
"With all my heart."
She came upstairs, seeming only too glad to obey her father's
summons. She had a lithe, graceful figure, her eyes were of
surpassing brilliancy, her features exquisite, her mouth charming;
but taken altogether I did not like her so well as before. In
return, my poor brother became enamoured of her to such an extent
that he ended by becoming her slave. He married her next year,
and two years afterwards he took her to Dresden. I saw her five
years later with a pretty baby; but after ten years of married
life she died of consumption.
I found Mengs at the Villa Albani; he was an indefatigable worker,
and extremely original in his conceptions. He welcomed me, and
said he was glad to be able to lodge me at his house in Rome, and
that he hoped to return home himself in a few days, with his whole
I was astonished with the Villa Albani. It had been built by
Cardinal Alexander, and had been wholly constructed from antique
materials to satisfy the cardinal's love for classic art; not only
the statues and the vases, but the columns, the pedestals--in
fact, everything was Greek. He was a Greek himself, and had a
perfect knowledge of antique work, and had contrived to spend
comparatively little money compared with the masterpiece he had
produced. If a sovereign monarch had had a villa like the
cardinal's built, it would have cost him fifty million francs, but
the cardinal made a much cheaper bargain.
As he could not get any ancient ceilings, he was obliged to have
them painted, and Mengs was undoubtedly the greatest and the most
laborious painter of his age. It is a great pity that death
carried him off in the midst of his career, as otherwise he would
have enriched the stores of art with numerous masterpieces. My
brother never did anything to justify his title of pupil of this
great artist. When I come to my visit to Spain in 1767, I shall
have some more to say about Mengs.
As soon as I was settled with my brother I hired a carriage, a
coachman, and a footman, whom I put into fancy livery, and I
called on Monsignor Cornaro, auditor of the 'rota', with the
intention of making my way into good society, but fearing lest he
as a Venetian might get compromised, he introduced me to Cardinal
Passionei, who spoke of me to the sovereign pontiff.
Before I pass on to anything else, I will inform my readers of
what took place on the occasion of my second visit to this old
cardinal, a great enemy of the Jesuits, a wit, and man of letters.
by Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798
ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH, Volume 4c--RETURN TO NAPLES
THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR
MACHEN TO WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED
BY ARTHUR SYMONS.
RETURN TO NAPLES
Cardinal Passianei--The Pope--Masiuccia--I Arrive At Naples
Cardinal Passionei received me in a large hall where he was
writing. He begged me to wait till he had finished, but he could
not ask me to take a seat as he occupied the only chair that his
vast room contained.
When he had put down his pen, he rose, came to me, and after
informing me that he would tell the Holy Father of my visit, he
"My brother Cornaro might have made a better choice, as he knows
the Pope does not like me."
"He thought it better to choose the man who is esteemed than the
man who is merely liked."
"I don't know whether the Pope esteems me, but I am sure he knows
I don't esteem him. I both liked and esteemed him before he was
pope, and I concurred in his election, but since he has worn the
tiara it's a different matter; he has shewn himself too much of a
"The conclave ought to have chosen your eminence."
"No, no; I'm a root-and-branch reformer, and my hand would not
have been stayed for fear of the vengeance of the guilty, and God
alone knows what would have come of that. The only cardinal fit
to be pope was Tamburini; but it can't be helped now. I hear
people coming; good-bye, come again to-morrow."
What a delightful thing to have heard a cardinal call the Pope a
fool, and name Tamburini as a fit person. I did not lose a moment
in noting this pleasant circumstance down: it was too precious a
morsel to let slip. But who was Tamburini? I had never heard of
him. I asked Winckelmann, who dined with me.
"He's a man deserving of respect for his virtues, his character,
his firmness, and his farseeing intelligence. He has never
disguised his opinion of the Jesuits, whom he styles the fathers
of deceits, intrigues, and lies; and that's what made Passionei
mention him. I think, with him, that Tamburini would be a great
and good pope."
I will here note down what I heard at Rome nine years later from
the mouth of a tool of the Jesuits. The Cardinal Tamburini was at
the last gasp, and the conversation turned upon him, when somebody
"This Benedictine cardinal is an impious fellow after all; he is
on his death-bed, and he has asked for the viaticum, without
wishing to purify his soul by confession."
I did not make any remark, but feeling as if I should like to know
the truth of the matter I asked somebody about it next day, my
informant being a person who must have known the truth, and could
not have had any motive for disguising the real facts of the case.
He told me that the cardinal had said mass three days before, and
that if he had not asked for a confessor it was doubtless because
he had nothing to confess.
Unfortunate are they that love the truth, and do not seek it out
at its source. I hope the reader will pardon this digression,
which is not without interest.
Next day I went to see Cardinal Passionei, who told me I was quite
right to come early, as he wanted to learn all about my escape
from The Leads, of which he had heard some wonderful tales told.
"I shall be delighted to satisfy your eminence, but the story is a
"All the better; they say you tell it well."
"But, my lord, am I to sit down on the floor?"
"No, no; your dress is too good for that."
He rang his bell, and having told one of his gentlemen to send up
a seat, a servant brought in a stool. A seat without a back and
without arms! It made me quite angry. I cut my story short, told
it badly, and had finished in a quarter of an hour.
"I write better than you speak," said he.
"My lord, I never speak well except when I am at my ease."
"But you are not afraid of me?"
"No, my lord, a true man and a philosopher can never make me
afraid; but this stool of yours . . . ."
"You like to be at your ease, above all things."
"Take this, it is the funeral oration of Prince Eugene; I make you
a present of it. I hope you will approve of my Latinity. You can
kiss the Pope's feet tomorrow at ten o'clock."
When I got home, as I reflected on the character of this strange
cardinal--a wit, haughty, vain, and boastful, I resolved to make
him a fine present. It was the 'Pandectarum liber unicus' which
M. de F. had given me at Berne, and which I did not know what to
do with. It was a folio well printed on fine paper, choicely
bound, and in perfect preservation. As chief librarian the
present should be a valuable one to him, all the more as he had a
large private library, of which my friend the Abbe Winckelmann was
librarian. I therefore wrote a short Latin letter, which I
enclosed in another to Winckelmann, whom I begged to present my
offering to his eminence.
I thought it was as valuable as his funeral oration at any rate,
and I hoped that he would give me a more comfortable chair for the
Next morning, at the time appointed, I went to Monte Cavallo,
which ought to be called Monte Cavalli, as it gets its name from
two fine statues of horses standing on a pedestal in the midst of
the square, where the Holy Father's palace is situated.
I had no real need of being presented to the Pope by anyone, as
any Christian is at liberty to go in when he sees the door open.
Besides I had known His Holiness when he was Bishop of Padua; but
I had preferred to claim the honor of being introduced by a
After saluting the Head of the Faithful, and kissing the holy
cross embroidered on his holy slipper, the Pope put his right hand
on my left shoulder, and said he remembered that I always forsook
the assembly at Padua, when he intoned the Rosary.
"Holy Father, I have much worse sins than that on my conscience,
so I come prostrate at your foot to receive your absolution."
He then gave me his benediction, and asked me very graciously what
he could do for me.
"I beg Your Holiness to plead for me, that I may be able to return
"We will speak of it to the ambassador, and then we will speak
again to you on the matter."
"Do you often go and see Cardinal Passionei?"
"I have been three times. He gave me his funeral oration on
Prince Eugene, and in return I sent him the 'Pandects'."
"Has he accepted them?"
"I think so, Holy Father."
"If he has, he will send Winckelmann to pay you for them."
"That would be treating me like a bookseller; I will not receive
"Then he will return the volume of the 'Pandects'; we are sure of
it, he always does so."
"If his eminence returns me the 'Pandects', I will return him his
At this the Pope laughed till his sides shook.
"We shall be pleased to hear the end of the story without anyone
being informed of our innocent curiosity."
With these words, a long benediction delivered with much unction
informed me that my audience was at an end.
As I was leaving His Holiness's palace, I was accosted by an old
abbe, who asked me respectfully if I were not the M. Casanova who
had escaped from The Leads.
"Yes," said I, "I am the man."
"Heaven be praised, worthy sir, that I see you again in such good
"But whom have I the honour of addressing?"
"Don't you recollect me? I am Momolo, formerly gondolier at
"Have you entered holy orders, then?"
"Not at all, but here everyone wears the cassock. I am the first
scopatore (sweeper) of His Holiness the Pope."
"I congratulate you on your appointment, but you mustn't mind me
"Laugh as much as you like. My wife and daughters laugh when I
put on the cassock and bands, and I laugh myself, but here the
dress gains one respect. Come and see us."
"Where do you live?"
"Behind the Trinity of Monti; here's my address."
"I will come to-night."
I went home delighted with this meeting, and determined to enjoy
the evening with my Venetian boatman. I got my brother to come
with me, and I told him how the Pope had received me.
The Abbe Winckelmann came in the afternoon and informed me that I
was fortunate enough to be high in favour with his cardinal, and
that the book I had sent him was very valuable; it was a rare
work, and in much better condition than the Vatican copy.
"I am commissioned to pay you for it."
"I have told his eminence that it was a present."
"He never accepts books as presents, and he wants yours for his
own library; and as he is librarian of the Vatican Library he is
afraid lest people might say unpleasant things."
"That's very well, but I am not a bookseller; and as this book
only cost me the trouble of accepting it, I am determined only to
sell it at the same price. Pray ask the cardinal to honour me by
"He is sure to send it back to you."
"He can if he likes, but I will send back his funeral oration, as
I am not going to be under an obligation to anyone who refuses to
take a present from me."
Next morning the eccentric cardinal returned me my Pandects, and I
immediately returned his funeral oration, with a letter in which I
pronounced it a masterpiece of composition, though I laid barely
glanced over it in reality. My brother told me I was wrong, but I
did not trouble what he said, not caring to guide myself by his
In the evening my brother and I went to the 'scopatore
santissimo', who was expecting me, and had announced me to his
family as a prodigy of a man. I introduced my brother, and
proceeded to a close scrutiny of the family. I saw an elderly
woman, four girls, of whom the eldest was twenty-four, two small
boys, and above all universal ugliness. It was not inviting for a
man of voluptuous tastes, but I was there, and the best thing was
to put a good face on it; so I stayed and enjoyed myself. Besides
the general ugliness, the household presented the picture of
misery, for the 'scopatore santissimo' and his numerous family
were obliged to live on two hundred Roman crowns a year, and as
there are no perquisites attached to the office of apostolic
sweeper, he was compelled to furnish all needs out of this slender
sum. In spite of that Momolo was a most generous man. As soon as
he saw me seated he told me he should have liked to give me a good
supper, but there was only pork chops and a polenta.
"They are very nice," said I; "but will you allow me to send for
half a dozen flasks of Orvieto from my lodging?"
"You are master here."
I wrote a note to Costa, telling him to bring the six flasks
directly, with a cooked ham. He came in half an hour, and the
four girls cried when they saw him, "What a fine fellow!" I saw
Costa was delighted with this reception, and said to Momolo,
"If you like him as well as your girls I will let him stay."
Costa was charmed with such honour being shewn him, and after
thanking me went into the kitchen to help the mother with the
The large table was covered with a clean cloth, and soon after
they brought in two huge dishes of polenta and an enormous pan
full of chops. We were just going to begin when a knocking on the
street door was heard.
"'Tis Signora Maria and her mother," said one of the boys.
At this announcement I saw the four girls pulling a wry face.
"Who asked them?" said one. "What do they want?" said another.
"What troublesome people they are!" said a third. "They might
have stayed at home," said the fourth. But the good, kindly
father said, "My children, they are hungry, and they shall share
what Providence has given us."
I was deeply touched with the worthy man's kindness. I saw that
true Christian charity is more often to be found in the breasts of
the poor than the rich, who are so well provided for that they
cannot feel for the wants of others.
While I was making these wholesome reflections the two hungry ones
came in. One was a young woman of a modest and pleasant aspect,
and the other her mother, who seemed very humble and as if ashamed
of their poverty. The daughter saluted the company with that
natural grace which is a gift of nature, apologizing in some
confusion for her presence, and saying that she would not have
taken the liberty to come if she had known there was company. The
worthy Momolo was the only one who answered her, and he said,
kindly, that she had done quite right to come, and put her a chair
between my brother and myself. I looked at her and thought her a
Then the eating began and there was no more talking. The polenta
was excellent, the chops delicious, and the ham perfect, and in
less than an hour the board was as bare as if there had been
nothing on it; but the Orvieto kept the company in good spirts.
They began to talk of the lottery which was to be drawn the day
after next, and all the girls mentioned the numbers on which they
had risked a few bajocchi.
"If I could be sure of one number," said I, "I would stake
something on it."
Mariuccia told me that if I wanted a number she could give me one.
I laughed at this offer, but in the gravest way she named me the
"Is the lottery still open?" I asked the Abbe Momolo.
"Till midnight," he replied, "and if you like I will go and get
the number for you."
"Here are fifty crowns," said I, "put twenty-five crowns on 27-
this for these five young ladies; and the other twenty-five on 27
coming out the fifth number, and this I will keep for myself."
He went out directly and returned with the two tickets.
My pretty neighbour thanked me and said she was sure of winning,
but that she did not think I should succeed as it was not probable
that 27 would come out fifth.
"I am sure of it," I answered, "for you are the fifth young lady I
saw in this house." This made everybody laugh. Momolo's wife
told me I would have done much better if I had given the money to
the poor, but her husband told her to be quiet, as she did not
know my intent. My brother laughed, and told me I had done a
foolish thing. "I do, sometimes," said I, "but we shall see how
it turns out, and when one plays one is obliged either to win or
I managed to squeeze my fair neighbour's hand, and she returned
the pressure with all her strength. From that time I knew that my
fate with Mariuccia was sealed. I left them at midnight, begging
the worthy Momolo to ask me again in two days' time, that we might
rejoice together over our gains. On our way home my brother said
I had either become as rich as Croesus or had gone mad. I told
him that both suppositions were incorrect, but that Mariuccia was
as handsome as an angel, and he agreed.
Next day Mengs returned to Rome, and I supped with him and his
family. He had an exceedingly ugly sister, who for all that, was
a good and talented woman. She had fallen deeply in love with my
brother, and it was easy to see that the flame was not yet
extinguished, but whenever she spoke to him, which she did
whenever she could get an opportunity, he looked another way.
She was an exquisite painter of miniatures, and a capital hand at
catching a likeness. To the best of my belief she is still living
at Rome with Maroni her husband. She often used to speak of my
brother to me, and one day she said that he must be the most
thankless of men or he would not despise her so. I was not
curious enough to enquire what claim she had to his gratitude.
Mengs's wife was a good and pretty woman, attentive to her
household duties and very submissive to her husband, though she
could not have loved him, for he was anything but amiable. He was
obstinate and fierce in his manner, and when he dined at home he
made a point of not leaving the table before he was drunk; out of
his own house he was temperate to the extent of not drinking
anything but water. His wife carried her obedience so far as to
serve as his model for all the nude figures he painted. I spoke
to her one day about this unpleasant obligation, and she said that
her confessor had charged her to fulfil it, "for," said he, "if
your husband has another woman for a model he will be sure to
enjoy her before painting her, and that sin would be laid to your
After supper, Winckelmann, who was as far gone as all the other
male guests, played with Mengs's children. There was nothing of
the pedant about this philosopher; he loved children and young
people, and his cheerful disposition made him delight in all kinds
Next day, as I was going to pay my court to the Pope, I saw Momolo
in the first ante-chamber, and I took care to remind him of the
polenta for the evening.
As soon as the Pope saw me, he said,--
"The Venetian ambassador has informed us that if you wish to
return to your native land, you must go and present yourself
before the secretary of the Tribunal."
"Most Holy Father, I am quite ready to take this step, if Your
Holiness will grant me a letter of commendation written with your
own hand. Without this powerful protection I should never dream
of exposing myself to the risk of being again shut up in a place
from which I escaped by a miracle and the help of the Almighty."
"You are gaily dressed; you do not look as if you were going to
"True, most Holy Father, but neither am I going to a ball."
"We have heard all about the presents being sent back. Confess
that you did so to gratify your pride."
"Yes, but also to lower a pride greater than mine."
The Pope smiled at this reply, and I knelt down and begged him to
permit me to present the volume of Pandects to the Vatican
Library. By way of reply he gave me his blessing, which
signifies, in papal language, "Rise; your request is granted."
"We will send you," said he, "a mark of our singular affection for
you without your having to pay any fees."
A second blessing bid me begone. I have often felt what a good
thing it would be if this kind of dismissal could be employed in
general society to send away importunate petitioners, to whom one
does not dare say, "Begone."
I was extremely curious to know what the Pope had meant by "a mark
of our singular affection." I was afraid that it would be a
blessed rosary, with which I should not have known what to do.
When I got home I sent the book by Costa to the Vatican, and then
I went to dine with Mengs. While we were eating the soup the
winning numbers from the lottery were brought in. My brother
glanced at them and looked at me with astonishment. I was not
thinking of the subject at that moment, and his gaze surprised me.
"Twenty-seven," he cried, "came out fifth."
"All the better," said I, "we shall have some amusement out of
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