After this operation has been performed three times, then you shall see, the gold appear in the retort. Then draw it forth and melt it, adding your corpus perfectum. Melt with it two ounces of gold, then lay it in water, and you shall find four ounces of pure gold.

"Such my lord, is the gold mine for your mint of Mitau, by which, with the assistance of a manager and four men, you can assure yourself a revenue of a thousand ducats a week, and double, and quadruple that sum, if your highness chooses to increase the men and the furnaces. I ask your highness to make me your manager. But remember it must be a State secret, so burn this letter, and if your highness would give me any reward in advance, I only ask you to give me your affection and esteem. I shall be happy if I have reason to believe that my master will also be my friend. My life, which this letter places in your power, is ever at your service, and I know not what I shall do if I ever have cause to repent having disclosed my secret. I have the honour to be, etc."

In whatever language this letter may have been translated, if its sense run not as above, it is not my letter, and I am ready to give the lie to all the Mirabeaus in the world. I have been called an exile, but wrongfully, for a man who has to leave a country by virtue of a 'lettre de cachet' is no exile. He is forced to obey a despotic monarch who looks upon his kingdom as his house, and turns out of doors anyone who meets with his displeasure.

As soon as my purse swelled to a respectable size, I left Augsburg, The date of my departure was June 14th, 1767. I was at Ulm when a courier of the Duke of Wurtemburg's passed through the town with the news that his highness would arrive from Venice in the course of five or six days. This courier had a letter for me. It had been entrusted to him by Prince Charles of Courland, who had told the courier that he would find me at the "Hotel du Raisin," in Augsburg. As it happened, I had left the day before, but knowing the way by which I had gone he caught me up at Ulm. He gave me the letter and asked me if I were the same Casanova who had been placed under arrest and had escaped, on account of some gambling dispute with three officers. As I was never an adept in concealing the truth, I replied in the affirmative. A Wurtemburg officer who was standing beside us observed to me in a friendly manner that he was at Stuttgart at the time, and that most people concurred in blaming the three officers for their conduct in the matter.

Without making any reply I read the letter, which referred to our private affairs, but as I was reading it I resolved to tell a little lie--one of those lies which do nobody any harm.

"Well, sir," I said to the officer, "his highness, your sovereign, has listened to reason at last, and this letter informs me of a reparation which is in every way satisfactory. The duke has created me his private secretary, with a salary of twelve hundred a year. But I have waited for it a long time. God knows what has become of the three officers!"

"They are all at Louisburg, and ------ is now a colonel."

"Well, they will be surprised to hear my news, and they will hear it to-morrow, for I am leaving this place in an hour. If they are at Louisburg, I shall have a triumph; but I am sorry not to be able to accompany you, however we shall see each other the day after tomorrow."

I had an excellent night, and awoke with the beautiful idea of going to Louisburg, not to fight the three officers but to frighten them, triumph over them, and to enjoy a pleasant vengeance for the injury they had done me. I should at the same time see a good many old friends; there was Madame Toscani, the duke's mistress; Baletti, and Vestri, who had married a former mistress of the duke's. I had sounded the depths of the human heart, and knew I had nothing to fear. The duke was on the point of returning, and nobody would dream of impugning the truth of my story. When he actually did arrive he would not find me, for as soon as the courier announced his approach I should go away, telling everybody that I had orders to precede his highness, and everybody would be duped.

Memoirs of Casanova Volume 6a Spain Page 09

Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

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