de Bragadin; but I could not weep. For twenty-two years M. de Bragadin had been as a father to me, living poorly, and even going into debt that I might have enough. He could not leave me anything, as his property was entailed, while his furniture and his library would become the prey of his creditors. His two friends, who were my friends also, were poor, and could give me nothing but their love. The dreadful news was accompanied by a bill of exchange for a thousand crowns, which he had sent me twenty-four hours before his death, foreseeing that it would be the last gift he would ever make me.
I was overwhelmed, and thought that Fortune had done her worst to me.
I spent three days in my brother's house without going out. On the fourth I began to pay an assiduous court to Princess Lubomirska, who had written the king, her brother, a letter that must have mortified him, as she proved beyond a doubt that the tales he had listened to against me were mere calumny. But your kings do not allow so small a thing to vex or mortify them. Besides, Stanislas Augustus had just received a dreadful insult from Russia. Repnin's violence in kidnapping the three senators who had spoken their minds at the Diet was a blow which must have pierced the hapless king to the heart.
The princess had left Warsaw more from hatred than love; though such was not the general opinion. As I had decided to visit the Court of Madrid before going to Portugal, the princess gave me a letter of introduction to the powerful Count of Aranda; and the Marquis Caraccioli, who was still at Paris, gave me three letters, one for Prince de la Catolica, the Neapolitan ambassador at Madrid, one for the Duke of Lossada, the king's favourite and lord high steward, and a third for the Marquis Mora Pignatelli.
On November 4th I went to a concert with a ticket that the princess had given me. When the concert was half-way through I heard my name pronounced, accompanied by scornful laughter. I turned round and saw the gentleman who was speaking contemptuously of me. It was a tall young man sitting between two men advanced in years. I stared him in the face, but he turned his head away and continued his impertinencies, saying, amongst other things, that I had robbed him of a million francs at least by my swindling his late aunt, the Marchioness d'Urfe.
"You are an impudent liar," I said to him, "and if we were out of this room I would give you a kick to teach you to speak respectfully."
With these words I made my way out of the hall, and on turning my head round I saw that the two elderly men were keeping the young blockhead back. I got into my carriage and waited some time, and as he did not come I drove to the theatre and chanced to find myself in the same box as Madame Valville. She informed me that she had left the boards, and was kept by the Marquis the Brunel.
"I congratulate you, and wish you good luck."
"I hope you will come to supper at my house."
"I should be only too happy, but unfortunately I have an engagement; but I will come and see you if you will give me your address."
So saying, I slipped into her hand a rouleau, it being the fifty louis I owed her.
"What is this?"
"The money you lent me so kindly at Konigsberg."
"This is neither the time nor the place to return it. I will only take it at my own house, so please do not insist."
I put the money back into my pocket, she gave me her address, and I left her. I felt too sad to visit her alone.
Two days later, as I was at table with my brother, my sister-in-law, and some young Russians whom he was teaching to paint, I was told that a Chevalier of St. Louis wanted to speak to me in the antechamber. I went out, and he handed me a paper without making any preface. I opened the document, and found it was signed "Louis." The great king ordered me to leave Paris in twenty-four hours and his realm of France within three weeks, and the reason assigned was: "It is our good pleasure."
My Departure From Paris--My Journey to Madrid--The Count of Aranda --The Prince de la Catolica--The Duke of Lossada--Mengs--A Ball--Madame Pichona--Donna Ignazia
"Well, chevalier," I said, "I have read the little note, and I will try and oblige his majesty as soon as possible.