She greeted me with her ordinary cordiality, and I told her that I was going to Turin to meet Frederic Gualdo, the head of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, and I revealed to her by the oracle that he would come with me to Marseilles, and that there he would complete her happiness. After having received this oracle she would not go to Paris before she saw us. The oracle also bade her wait for me at Lyons with young d'Aranda; who begged me to take him with me to Turin. It may be imagined that I succeeded in putting him off.
Madame d'Urfe had to wait a fortnight to get me fifty thousand francs which I might require on my journey. In the course of this fortnight I made the acquaintance of Madame Pernon, and spent a good deal of money with her husband, a rich mercer, in refurnishing my wardrobe. Madame Pernon was handsome and intelligent. She had a Milanese lover, named Bono, who did business for a Swiss banker named Sacco. It was through Madame Peron that Bono got Madame d'Urfe the fifty thousand francs I required. She also gave me the three dresses which she had promised to the Countess of Lascaris, but which that lady had never seen.
One of these dresses was furred, and was exquisitely beautiful. I left Lyons equipped like a prince, and journeyed towards Turin, where I was to meet the famous Gualdo, who was none other than Ascanio Pogomas, whom I had summoned from Berne. I thought it would be easy to make the fellow play the part I had destined for him, but I was cruelly deceived as the reader will see.
I could not resist stopping at Chamberi to see my fair nun, whom I found looking beautiful and contented. She was grieving, however, after the young boarder, who had been taken from the convent and married.
I got to Turin at the beginning of December, and at Rivoli I found the Corticelli, who had been warned by the Chevalier de Raiberti of my arrival. She gave me a letter from this worthy gentleman, giving the address of the house he had taken for me as I did not want to put up at an inn. I immediately went to take possession of my new lodging.
My Old Friends--Pacienza--Agatha--Count Boryomeo--The Ball --Lord Percy
The Corticelli was as gentle as a lamb, and left me as we got into Turin. I promised I would come and see her, and immediately went to the house the Chevalier had taken, which I found convenient in every way.
The worthy Chevalier was not long in calling on me. He gave me an account of the moneys he had spent on the Corticelli, and handed over the rest to me.
"I am flush of money," I said, "and I intend to invite my friends to supper frequently. Can you lay your hands on a good cook?"
"I know a pearl amongst cooks," said he, "and you can have him directly."
"You, chevalier, are the pearl of men. Get me this wonder, tell him I am hard to please, and agree on the sum I am to pay him per month."
The cook, who was an excellent one, came the same evening.
"It would be a good idea," said Raiberti, "to call on the Count d'Aglie. He knows that the Corticelli is your mistress, and he has given a formal order to Madame Pacienza, the lady with whom she lives, that when you come and see her you are not to be left alone together."
This order amused me, and as I did not care about the Corticelli it did not trouble me in the least, though Raiberti, who thought I was in love with her, seemed to pity me.
"Since she has been here," he said, "her conduct has been irreproachable."
"I am glad to hear that."
"You might let her take some lessons from the dancing-master Dupre," said he. "He will no doubt give her something to do at the carnival."
I promised to follow his advice, and I then paid a visit to the superintendent of police.
He received me well, complimented me on my return to Turin, and then added with a smile:--
"I warn you that I have been informed that you keep a mistress, and that I have given strict orders to the respectable woman with whom she lives not to leave her alone with you."
"I am glad to hear it," I replied, "and the more as I fear her mother is not a person of very rigid morals.