If M. Rinaldi really loves me, he can come and talk it over with my father. You have no objection to his paying me whatever sum I like to mention."
"Not at all. On the contrary, I shall be very glad to serve your family, and all the more as Rinaldi is a rich man."
"Very good; you will be always dear to me in my memory. You shall take me to my home to-morrow; and now let us go to bed."
Thus it was that I parted with this charming girl, who made me live soberly all the time I was at St. Petersburg. Zinowieff told me that if I had liked to deposit a small sum as security I could have taken her with me; but I had thought the matter over, and it seemed to me that as Zaira grew more beautiful and charming I should end by becoming a perfect slave to her. Possibly, however, I should not have looked into matters so closely if I had not been in love with Madame Valville.
Zaira spent the next morning in gathering together her belongings, now laughing and now weeping, and every time that she left her packing to give me a kiss I could not resist weeping myself. When I restored her to her father, the whole family fell on their knees around me. Alas for poor human nature! thus it is degraded by the iron heel of oppression. Zaira looked oddly in the humble cottage, where one large mattress served for the entire family.
Rinaldi took everything in good part. He told me that since the daughter would make no objection he had no fear of the father doing so. He went to the house the next day, but he did not get the girl till I had left St. Petersburg. He kept her for the remainder of his days, and behaved very handsomely to her.
After this melancholy separation Madame Valville became my sole mistress, and we left the Russian capital in the course of a few weeks. I took an Armenian merchant into my service; he had lent me a hundred ducats, and cooked very well in the Eastern style. I had a letter from the Polish resident to Prince Augustus Sulkowski, and another from the English ambassador for Prince Adam Czartoryski.
The day after we left St. Petersburg we stopped at Koporie to dine; we had taken with us some choice viands and excellent wines. Two days later we met the famous chapel-master, Galuppi or Buranelli, who was on his way to St. Petersburg with two friends and an artiste. He did not know me, and was astonished to find a Venetian dinner awaiting him at the inn, as also to hear a greeting in his mother tongue. As soon as I had pronounced my name he embraced me with exclamations of surprise and joy.
The roads were heavy with rain, so we were a week in getting to Riga, and when we arrived I was sorry to hear that Prince Charles was not there. From Riga, we were four days before getting to Konigsberg, where Madame Valville, who was expected at Berlin, had to leave me. I left her my Armenian, to whom she gladly paid the hundred ducats I owed him. I saw her again two years later, and shall speak of the meeting in due time.
We separated like good friends, without any sadness. We spent the night at Klein Roop, near Riga, and she offered to give me her diamonds, her jewels, and all that she possessed. We were staying with the Countess Lowenwald, to whom I had a letter from the Princess Dolgorouki. This lady had in her house, in the capacity of governess, the pretty English woman whom I had known as Campioni's wife. She told me that her husband was at Warsaw, and that he was living with Villiers. She gave me a letter for him, and I promised to make him send her some money, and I kept my word. Little Betty was as charming as ever, but her mother seemed quite jealous of her and treated her ill.
When I reached Konigsberg I sold my travelling carriage and took a place in a coach for Warsaw. We were four in all, and my companions only spoke German and Polish, so that I had a dreadfully tedious journey. At Warsaw I went to live with Villiers, where I hoped to meet Campioni.
It was not long before I saw him, and found him well in health and in comfortable quarters.