I had my portmanteau and all my belongings taken into my room, and having washed and put on my dressing-gown I sat down to write, to whom I did not know, for I was quite wrong in my contention. However, I had begun by playing the great man, and I thought myself bound in honour to sustain the part, without thinking whether I stood to have to back out of it or no. All the same I was vexed at having to wait in Aire till the return of the messenger, whom I was about to send to the-moon! In the meanwhile, not having closed an eye all night, I determined to take a rest. I was sitting in my shirt-sleeves and eating the soup which had been served to me, when the governor came in unaccompanied. I was both surprised and delighted to see him.
"I am sorry for what has happened, sir, and above all that you think you have good reason for complaint, inasmuch as I only did my duty, for how was I to imagine that your postillion had called you a messenger on his own responsibility."
"That's all very well, sir, but your sense of duty need not have made you drive me from your room."
"I was in need of sleep."
"I am in the same position at the present moment, but a feeling of politeness prevents me from imitating your example."
"May I ask if you have ever been in the service?"
"I have served by land and sea, and have left off when most people are only beginning."
"In that case you will be aware that the gates of a fortified town are only opened by night to the king's messengers or to military superiors."
"Yes, I know; but since they were opened the thing was done, and you might as well have been polite."
"Will you not put on your clothes, and walk a short distance with me!"
His invitation pleased me as well as his pride had displeased me. I had been thinking of a duel as a possible solution of the difficulty, but the present course took all trouble out of my hands. I answered quietly and politely that the honour of walking with him would be enough to make me put off all other calls, and I asked him to be seated while I made haste to dress myself.
I drew on my breeches, throwing the splendid pistols in my pockets on to the bed, called up the barber, and in ten minutes was ready. I put on my sword, and we went out.
We walked silently enough along two or three streets, passed through a gate, up a court, till we got to a door where my guide stopped short. He asked me to come in, and I found myself in a fine room full of people. I did not think of going back, but behaved as if I had been in my own house.
"Sir-my wife," said the governor; and turning to her without pausing, "here is M. de Casanova, who has come to dinner with us."
"I am delighted to hear it, sir, as otherwise I should have had no chance of forgiving you for waking me up the other night."
"I paid dearly for my fault, madam, but after the purgatory I had endured I am sure you will allow me to be happy in this paradise."
She answered with a charming smile, and after asking me to sit beside her she continued whatever conversation was possible in the midst of a game at cards.
I found myself completely outwitted, but the thing was done so pleasantly that all I could do was to put a good face on it--a feat which I found sufficiently easy from the relief I felt at no longer being bound to send a messenger to I did not know whom.
The governor well satisfied with his victory, got all at once into high spirits, and began to talk about military matters, the Court, and on general topics, often addressing me with that friendly ease which good French society knows so well how to reconcile with the rules of politeness; no one could have guessed that there had ever been the slightest difference between us. He had made himself the hero of the piece by the dexterous manner in which he had led up to the situation, but I had a fair claim to the second place, for I had made an experienced officer high in command give me the most flattering kind of satisfaction, which bore witness to the esteem with which I had inspired him.