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nd four ounces of gold, which will stand my
-t in weight, malleable, but rather pale coloured..
‘Here, monseigneur, is a mine of gold for your mint at Mitau, by means of which a director with four men under him can produce a revenue of a thousand ducats a week for you, or the double or quadruple, if your highness chooses to multiply the workmen and the furnaces. I ask to have the direction of it myself, and I only want for my part such share in the gold produced as your highness shall see fit to give me, and which you will allow me to“strike\_jn..such- coin"as‘I'sh‘all point out. Remember, monseigneur, that this must remain a state secret. Consign this letter to the flames, and if your highness wishes to reward me in advance, I will only ask a return of the affection I feel for you. I shall be happy if I can so far flatter myself as to call my master my friend. I deliver my life with this letter into your hands, and I shall always be ready to sacrifice it in your service; at the same time I shall know how to protect myself, if I ever have cause to repent having written so openly to your highness, of whom I have the honour to be,’ etc.
If this letter, no matter in what language it is printed, is expressed otherwise than above,1 it was not written by me, and I give the lie to all the Mirabeaus in the world. I have been wrongly called an exile; a man who leaves his country because of a lettre de cachet is not an exile. He is forced to obey an order of a monarch, who, by an arbitrary decree, kicks _ out of his house, so to speak, whoever displeases him, without listening to any defence he may offer.
_on his way to Louisberg; he brought a letter for me from
Prince Charles of Courlandf treating of our private affairs. 1 The Bastille archives were ransacked and published, and among the papers
of the Duke of Courlandthis letter was found, expressed more or less as above. 2 Casanova does not anywhere reveal the prince’s reply to his proposition !
I went on to Mayence, where I embarked with my carriage on a big barque, and I arrived at Cologne towards the end of July. I was looking forward with pleasure to meeting again the burgomaster’s charming wife. But this was not the only reason I had for stopping in this hideous town. While at Dresden I had read in the Cologne Gazette, that ‘ the individual known as Casanova having reappeared at Warsaw after an absence of two months, had received orders to leave that city at once, the king having heard several stories about him which obliged him to forbid his court to this adventurer.’
I could not digest this article, and determined to pay a visit to Jacquet, the editor of the Gazette.
When I called at the burgomaster’s house, I found him at The wife of table with his pretty Mimi. My welcome was all that th°:’“"1‘='°_. I could desire, amiable and cordial. I recounted my adven- mas er agml" tures to them, and the recital took two hours. As Mimi was going out that day, they invited me to dine on the morrow. She appeared to me more beautiful than she was seven years previously, and my imagination began to run away with me. After an agitated night, I made a careful toilette, and went to my host’s house betimes, so as to find his wife alone. She was alone, but though she listened with patience to my transports, her manner was frigid.
‘Time is an excellent physician,’ she said, ‘and has cured my heart of a malady, in which there was too much bitter in proportion to the sweet. I do not wish to again expose myself to a passion which only leaves remorse behind it.’
‘What! the confessiona ’
‘ Is the place in which to repent our sins, and fortify
/ourselves against fresh temptations.’ »/ ‘God preserve me against a repentance and remorse which a . . , \\ are based on mere Pl‘6_|l1dlCe. I shall leave here to-morrow. \"‘I‘I—d‘i‘d not tell you to go away.’
‘ If there is no hope for me I cannot remain. Is there any hope ?’
‘ No—none whatever.’
Nevertheless, she was charming to me at dinner; but I was so discouraged that I must have seemed ill-tempered; women have always had the power to raise or depress my spirits. The next morning, at seven o’clock, I got into my chaise. As soon as we were out of the gates and on the road to Aix-laChapelle, I got out, and telling the postillion to wait for me, I went to Jacquet’s house, armed with my cane and a pistol. The servant, in answer to my knock, showed me into the room where he was at work. The door, on account of the heat, was open. At the sound of my entrance he turned round and demanded what my pleasure was.
As Jacquet was a man with whom I could have fought, I had no scruple in beating him.
‘ Infamous scribbler,’ I said, ‘ I am that adventurer Casanova, whose name you defamed in your paper, some four months ago.’ Saying this, I grasped my pistol in my left hand, and raised my cane. But the miserable wretch fell on his knees and asked for mercy, with clasped hands, at the same time offering to give me the letter from Warsaw, so that I could read the name of the person who had calumniated me.
‘ Where is the letter ? ’
‘ I will give it you in one moment.’ I moved aside to let him pass, and I drew the bolt of the
door. He began to search for the letter, trembling like a leaf. I showed him the date of the article in his Gazette, which I had in my pocket, but his correspondence was all in disorder. At the end of an hour he again flung himself on his knees and, trembling and stammering, told me to deal with him as I would. I gave him a kick, and putting my pistol in my pocket, ordered him to follow me. He accompanied me without a word, and without a hat, to my postchaise; when he saw me get into it, he thanked God for having got off so cheaply. I arrived that evening at Aix-la-Chapelle, where I found the Princess Lubomirska, General Roniker, several other distinguished Poles, Tomatis and his wife, and a crowd of Englishmen of my acquaintance.
Tl-IE quantity of adventurers who frequent Spa1 at the season for taking the water is enormous, and they all go hoping to make a fortune. The amount of money in circulation is extraordinary, but it all passes into the hands of the gamblers and the shopkeepers, usurers who do good business. The passion for play is even stronger than (that for gallantry, and the gambler at Spa has neither the time to consider a woman’s attractions, nor the courage to make any sacrifices for her. The profits of the tables are divided into three: the first and smallest share goes into the purse of the Prince Bishop of Liége; the second to the nameless scoundrels who haunt the place; and the third and largest part, which is estimated at half a million yearly, is engulfed in the coffers of twelve professional cheats, owned to, and authorised by the sovereign who is associated in their gains. In a place like this, where one does nothing but eat, drink, promenade, gamble, and dance, living is not dear; at a richly spread table d’h6te I only paid half a French crown piece, and for the same sum I was well lodged.
I had been some days at Spa, winning and losing little sums, when my landlord informed me that an Italian gentleman had taken rooms in my hotel. I asked his name, and was shown a card bearing the title ‘ Le Marquis don Antonio della
1 The name of Casanova does not figure in the Li’!/re d’or here, but it is among those of the notabilities who have visited Spa, and whose names are inscribed on the vase of what is called La Cascade 1/mnoriale, just outside the ‘ Pouhorn,’ the principal spring.
The villain Croce reappears.
Croce. Could it be Croce? It was very possible. I was told that he had a secretary and two menservants, and his wife a maid. I was impatient to see this marquis, and had not long to wait, for learning that I was his neighbour he came to pay me a visit. It was indeed Croce—Monsieur de Sainte Croix— Il Marchese della Croce!
We spent two hours talking over our adventures since our separation at Milan. He had heard what I had done for the girl he had abandoned, and in the six years which had passed since then, he had overrun half Europe. He had made money in Paris and Brussels; and in the last-named city had fallen in love with a young lady of quality, whose father had shut her up in a convent. They had eloped together, and she was the Marquise de la Croce, and soon to give him an heir to his self-assumed title. He passed her off as his wife, because, he said, he firmly intended to marry her.
‘ I have fifty thousand francs in gold, as much again in jewels and carriages, and I intend to have a table in our
room and give suppers; if I play without attempting to correct
the cards I am always certain to lose.’
He intended to go on to Warsaw, and expected me to give him letters to my acquaintance there; but he was mistaken, I did not even present him to the Poles I knew at Spa. His pretended secretary was only his accomplice, a tricky Veronese,
named Conti. I promised to remain perfectly neutral, and I accepted his invitation to dinner. His supposed wife was about sixteen or seventeen years old, a tall, pretty blonde, with all the style of the nobility to which she belonged. The story of her elopement is known to her brothers and sisters, and as her distinguished and honourable family is still extafit, I must not mention her name. She wore fine earrings and two superb rings, which gave me an opportunity to admire her hands. I could not keep my eyes off her. I could not help speculating as to what could be the charm of Croce, that
women of such superior breeding fell in love with him. He‘
was not handsome or cultivated; he had not the ways of one