She was a pretty girl enough, but at Vienna pretty girls are so common that they often have to starve in spite of their charms. The Latin verses had been thrown in as an attraction in this case, but I did not think she would find it very remunerative in Vienna.

Next evening my evil genius made me go and seek her out at the address she had given me. Although I was forty-two years old, in spite of the experience I had had, I was so foolish as to go alone. The girl saw me coming from the window, and guessing that I was looking for her, she came down and shewed me in. I went in, I went upstairs, and when I found myself in the presence of the wretch Pocchini my blood froze in my veins. A feeling of false shame prevented my retracing my steps, as it might have looked as if I had been afraid. In the same room were his pretended wife, Catina, two Sclavonic-looking assassins, and the decoy-duck. I saw that this was not a laughing matter, so I dissembled to the best of my ability, and made up my mind to leave the place in five minutes' time.

Pocchini, swearing and blaspheming, began to reproach me with the manner in which I had treated him in England, and said that his time had come, and that my life was in his hands. One of the two Sclavs broke in, and said we must make friends, and so made me sit down, opened a bottle, and said we must drink together. I tried to put as good a face upon it as I could, but I begged to be excused, on which Pocchini swore that I was afraid of having to pay for the bottle of wine.

"You are mistaken," said I; "I am quite ready to pay."

I put my hand in my pocket to take out a ducat without drawing out my purse, but the Sclav told me I need not be afraid, as I was amongst honest people. Again shame made me yield, and as I had some difficulty in extracting my purse, the Sclav kindly did it for me. Pocchini immediately snatched it from his hands, and said he should keep it as part compensation for all I had made him endure.

I saw that it was a concerted scheme, and said with a smile that he could do as he liked, and so I rose to leave them. The Sclav said we must embrace each other, and on my declaring that to be unnecessary, he and his comrade drew their sabres, and I thought myself undone. Without more ado, I hastened to embrace them. To my astonishment they let me go, and I went home in a grievous state, and not knowing what else to do went to bed.

Memoirs of Casanova Volume 5e Russia and Poland

Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

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