He also gave me a letter for Count Maximilian Lamberg, marshal at the court of the Prince-Bishop of Augsburg, whose acquaintance I had the honour of having.
There was no theatre then in Augsburg, but there were masked balls in which all classes mingled freely. There were also small parties where faro was played for small stakes. I was tired of the pleasure, the misfortune, and the griefs I had had in three capitals, and I resolved to spend four months in the free city of Augsburg, where strangers have the same privileges as the canons. My purse was slender, but with the economical life I led I had nothing to fear on that score. I was not far from Venice, where a hundred ducats were always at my service if I wanted them. I played a little and waged war against the sharpers who have become more numerous of late than the dupes, as there are also more doctors than patients. I also thought of getting a mistress, for what is life without love? I had tried in vain to retrace Gertrude; the engraver was dead, and no one knew what had become of his daughter.
Two or three days before the end of the carnival I went to a hirer of carriages, as I had to go to a ball at some distance from the town. While the horses were being put in, I entered the room to warm my hands, for the weather was very cold. A girl came up and asked me if I would drink a glass of wine.
"No," said I; and on the question being repeated, repeated the monosyllable somewhat rudely. The girl stood still and began to laugh, and I was about to turn angrily away when she said,--
"I see you do not remember me?"
I looked at her attentively, and at last I discovered beneath her unusually ugly features the lineaments of Anna Midel, the maid in the engraver's house.
"You remind me of Anna Midel," said I.
"Alas, I was Anna Midel once. I am no longer an object fit for love, but that is your fault."
"Yes; the four hundred florins you gave me made Count Fugger's coachman marry me, and he not only abandoned me but gave me a disgusting disease, which was like to have been my death. I recovered my health, but I never shall recover my good looks."
"I am very sorry to hear all this; but tell me what has become of Gertrude?"
"Then you don't know that you are going to a ball at her house to-night?"
"Yes. After her father's death she married a well-to-do and respectable man, and I expect you will be pleased with the entertainment"
"Is she pretty still?"
"She is just as she used to be, except that she is six years older and has had children."
"Is she gallant?"
"I don't think so."
Anna had spoken the truth. Gertrude was pleased to see me, and introduced me to her husband as one of her father's old lodgers, and I had altogether a pleasant welcome; but, on sounding her, I found she entertained those virtuous sentiments which might have been expected under the circumstances.
Campioni arrived at Augsburg at the beginning of Lent. He was in company with Binetti, who was going to Paris. He had completely despoiled his wife, and had left her for ever. Campioni told me that no one at Vienna doubted my story in the slightest degree. Pocchini and the Sclav had disappeared a few days after my departure, and the Statthalter had incurred a great deal of odium by his treatment of me. Campioni spent a month with me, and then went on to London.
I called on Count Lamberg and his countess, who, without being beautiful, was an epitome of feminine charm and amiability. Her name before marriage was Countess Dachsberg. Three months after my arrival, this lady, who was enciente, but did not think her time was due, went with Count Fugger, dean of the chapter, to a party of pleasure at an inn three quarters of a league from Augsburg. I was present; and in the course of the meal she was taken with such violent pains that she feared she would be delivered on the spot. She did not like to tell the noble canon, and thinking that I was more likely to be acquainted with such emergencies she came up to me and told me all.