I then called on the elder Calsabigi, who was in the service of Prince Kaunitz.
This Calsabigi, whose whole body was one mass of eruption, always worked in bed, and the minister, his master, went to see him almost every day. I went constantly to the theatre, where Madame Vestris was dancing. On January the 7th or 8th, I saw the empress dowager come to the theatre dressed in black; she was received with applause, as this was the first appearance she had made since the death of her husband. At Vienna I met the Comte de la Perouse, who was trying to induce the empress to give him half a million of florins, which Charles VI. owed his father. Through him I made the acquaintance of the Spaniard Las Casas, a man of intelligence, and, what is a rare thing in a Spaniard, free from prejudices. I also met at the count's house the Venetian Uccelli, with whom I had been at St. Cyprian's College at Muran; he was, at the time of which I write, secretary to the ambassador, Polo Renieri. This gentleman had a great esteem for me, but my affair with the State Inquisitors prevented him from receiving me. My friend Campioni arrived at this date from Warsaw; he had passed through Cracovia. I accommodated him in my apartment with great pleasure. He had an engagement at London, but to my great delight he was able to spend a couple of months with me.
Prince Charles of Courland, who had been at Venice and had been well received by M. de Bragadin and my other friends, had been in Vienna and had left it a fortnight before my arrival to return to Venice. Prince Charles wrote to tell me that there was no bounds to the care and kindness of my Venetian friends, and that he would be grateful to me for all his days.
I lived very quietly at Vienna; my health was good, and I thought of nothing but my journey to Portugal, which I intended to take place in the spring. I saw no company of any kind, whether good or ill. I often called on Calsabigi, who made a parade of his Atheism, and slandered my friend Metastasio, who dispised him. Calsabigi knew it and laughed at him; he was a profound politician and the right hand of Prince Kaunitz.
One day after dinner, as I was sitting at table with my friend Campioni, a pretty little girl, between twelve and thirteen, as I should imagine, came into my room with mingled boldness and fear, and made me a low bow. I asked her what she wanted, and she replied in Latin verse to the effect that her mother was in the next room, and that if I liked she would come in. I replied in Latin prose that I did not care about seeing her mother, telling her my reasons with great plainness. She replied with four Latin lines, but as they were not to the point I could see that she had learnt them by heart, and repeated them like a parrot. She went on-still in Latin verse--to tell me that her mother must come in or else the authorities might think I was abusing her.
This last phrase was uttered with all the directness of the Latin style. It made me burst out laughing, and I felt inclined to explain to her what she had said in her own language. The little slut told me she was a Venetian, and this putting me at my ease I told her that the authorities would never suspect her of doing such a thing as she was too young. At this the girl seemed to reflect a moment, and then recited some verses from the Priapeia to the effect that unripe fruit is often more piquant than that which is ripe. This was enough to set me on fire, and Campioni, seeing that he was not wanted, went back to his room.
I drew her gently to me and asked her if her father was at Vienna. She said yes, and instead of repulsing my caresses she proceeded to accompany my actions with the recital of erotic verses. I sent her away with a fee of two ducats, but before she went she gave me her address written in German with four Latin verses beneath, stating that her bedfellow would find her either Hebe or Ganymede, according to his liking.
I could not help admiring the ingenuity of her father, who thus contrived to make a living out of his daughters.