I mean by 'particular' a man who cannot be affectionate unless be is in love. The man who...."
"I see what you mean, and I can lay no claim to such a character. Any hag with golden eyes will always find me as affectionate as a Celadon."
"Well said! I shall soon be able to arrange matters for you."
"I hope you will."
"Are you going to the ambassador's?"
"Good God!--no! What should I do when I got there? Tell him my story? He might make things unpleasant for me."
"Not without your going to see him, but I expect he is not concerning himself with your case."
"That's all I ask him."
"Everybody, my dear count, is in mourning in Paris, so go to my tailor's and get yourself a black suit. Tell him you come from me, and say you want it by tomorrow. Good bye."
I went out soon after, and did not come back till midnight. I found the box which Madame Manzoni had sent me in my room, and in it my manuscripts and my beloved portraits, for I never pawned a snuff-box without taking the portrait out.
Next day Tiretta made his appearance all in black, and thanked me for his transformation.
"They are quick, you see, at Paris. It would have taken a week at Trevisa."
"Trevisa, my dear fellow, is not Paris."
As I said this, the Abbe de la Coste was announced. I did not know the name, but I gave orders for him to be admitted; and there presently appeared the same little priest with whom I had dined at Versailles after leaving the Abbe de la Ville.
After the customary greetings he began by complimenting me on the success of my lottery, and then remarked that I had distributed tickets for more than six thousand francs.
"Yes," I said, "and I have tickets left for several thousands more."
"Very good, then I will invest a thousand crowns in it."
"Whenever you please. If you call at my office you can choose the numbers."
"No, I don't think I'll trouble to do so; give me any numbers just as they come."
"Very good; here is the list you can choose from."
He chose numbers to the amount of three thousand francs, and then asked me for a piece of paper to write an acknowledgment.
"Why so? I can't do business that way, as I only dispose of my tickets for cash."
"But you may be certain that you will have the money to-morrow."
"I am quite sure I should, but you ought to be certain that you will have the tickets to-morrow. They are registered at my office, and I can dispose of them in no other manner."
"Give me some which are not registered."
"Impossible; I could not do it."
"Because if they proved to be winning numbers I should have to pay out of my own pocket an honour I do not desire."
"Well, I think you might run the risk."
"I think not, if I wish to remain an honest man, at all events."
The abbe, who saw he could get nothing out of me, turned to Tiretta, and began to speak to him in bad Italian, and at last offered to introduce him to Madame de Lambertini, the widow of one of the Pope's nephews. Her name, her relationship to the Pope, and the abbe's spontaneous offer, made me curious to know more, so I said that my friend would accept his offer, and that I would have the honour to be of the party; whereupon we set out.
We got down at the door of the supposed niece of the Holy Father in the Rue Christine, and we proceeded to go upstairs. We saw a woman who, despite her youthful air, was, I am sure, not a day under forty. She was rather thin, had fine black eyes, a good complexion, lively but giddy manners, was a great laugher, and still capable of exciting a passing fancy. I soon made myself at home with her, and found out, when she began to talk, that she was neither a widow nor the niece of the Pope. She came from Modena, and was a mere adventuress. This discovery shewed me what sort of a man the abbe was.
I thought from his expression that the count had taken a fancy to her, and when she asked us to dinner I refused on the plea of an engagement; but Tiretta, who took my meaning, accepted. Soon after I went away with the abbe, whom I dropped at the Quai de la Ferraille, and I then went to beg a dinner at Calsabigi's.