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Rich and profound, Casanova’s memoirs are a complete depiction of life. He recounts his expeditions in Italy and his meetings with the elite of the society. He has also included his personal relationships and the ups and downs of that era of his life. The work is truly riveting and monopolizes the reader’s attention. Rosalie at the Convent. I Fall in Love With Veronique. A Clever Cheat and My Opinion of Squinting Eyes. Florence; I See Therese Again. The False Charles Ivanoff and the Trick He Played Me. I Am Ordered to Leave Tuscany, before arriving at Rome.
124 pages, with a reading time of ~2.0 hours (31,078 words), and first published in 1789. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2016.
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When the marquis had gone, seeing Rosalie engaged with Veronique, I set myself to translate the ‘Ecossaise’ for the actors at Genoa, who seemed pretty good ones, to play.
I thought Rosalie looking sad at dinner, and said,
“What is the matter, dearest? You know I do not like to see you looking melancholy.”
“I am vexed at Veronique’s being prettier than I.”
“I see what you mean; I like that! But console your self, Veronique is nothing compared to you, in my eyes at all events. You are my only beauty; but to reassure you I will ask M. de Grimaldi to tell her mother to come and fetch her away, and to get me another maid as ugly as possible.”
“Oh, no! pray do not do so; he will think I am jealous, and I wouldn’t have him think so for the world.”
“Well, well, smile again if you do not wish to vex me.”
“I shall soon do that, if, as you assure me, she will not make me lose your love. But what made the old gentleman get me a girl like that? Do you think he did it out of mischief?”
“No, I don’t think so. I am sure, on the other hand, that he wanted to let you know that you need not fear being compared with anybody. Are you pleased with her in other respects?”
“She works well, and she is very respectful. She does not speak four words without addressing me as signora, and she is careful to translate what she says from Italian into French. I hope that in a month I shall speak well enough for us to dispense with her services when we go to Florence. I have ordered Le Duc to clear out the room I have chosen for her, and I will send her her dinner from our own table. I will be kind to her, but I hope you will not make me wretched.”
“I could not do so; and I do not see what there can be in common between the girl and myself.”
“Then you will pardon my fears.”
“The more readily as they shew your love.”
“I thank you, but keep my secret.”
I promised never to give a glance to Veronique, of whom I was already afraid, but I loved Rosalie and would have done anything to save her the least grief.
I set to at my translation after dinner; it was work I liked. I did not go out that day, and I spent the whole of the next morning with M. de Grimaldi.
I went to the banker Belloni and changed all my gold into gigliati sequins. I made myself known after the money was changed, and the head cashier treated me with great courtesy. I had bills on this banker for forty thousand Roman crowns, and on Lepri bills for twenty thousand.
Rosalie did not want to go to the play again, so I got her a piece of embroidery to amuse her in the evening. The theatre was a necessity for me; I always went unless it interfered with some still sweeter pleasure. I went by myself, and when I got home I found the marquis talking to my mistress. I was pleased, and after I had embraced the worthy nobleman I complimented Rosalie on having kept him till my arrival, adding gently that she should have put down her work.
“Ask him,” she replied, “if he did not make me keep on. He said he would go if I didn’t, so I gave in to keep him.”
She then rose, stopped working, and in the course of an interesting conversation she succeeded in making the marquis promise to stay to supper, thus forestalling my intention. He was not accustomed to take anything at that hour, and ate little; but I saw he was enchanted with my treasure, and that pleased me, for I did not think I had anything to fear from a man of sixty; besides, I was glad at the opportunity of accustoming Rosalie to good society. I wanted her to be a little coquettish, as a woman never pleases in society unless she shews a desire to please.
Although the position was quite a strange one for her, she made me admire the natural aptitude of women, which may be improved or spoiled by art but which exists more or less in them all, from the throne to the milk-pail. She talked to M. de Grimaldi in a way that seemed to hint she was willing to give a little hope. As our guest did not eat, she said graciously that he must come to dinner some day that she might have an opportunity of seeing whether he really had any appetite.
When he had gone I took her on my knee, and covering her with kisses asked her where she had learnt to talk to great people so well.
“It’s an easy matter,” she replied. “Your eyes speak to my soul, and tell me what to do and what to say.”
A professed rhetorician could not have answered more elegantly or more flatteringly.
I finished the translation; I had it copied out by Costa and took it to Rossi, the manager, who said he would put it on directly, when I told him I was going to make him a present of the play. I named the actors of my choice, and asked him to bring them to dine with me at my inn, that I might read the play and distribute the parts.