Leah was sure of victory, and without a word she threw herself upon me, pressing her lips to mine, and depriving me of all my faculties except one.
I utilised a short moment of reflection by concluding that I was a presumtuous fool, and that Leah was a woman with a most extensive knowledge of human nature.
In a second my caress became as ardent as hers, and after kissing her spheres of rose and alabaster I penetrated to the sanctuary of love, which, much to my astonishment, I found to be a virgin citadel.
There was a short silence, and then I said,--
"Dearest Leah, you oblige me to adore you; why did you first inspire me with hate? Are you not come here merely to humiliate me, to obtain an empty victory? If so, I forgive you; but you are in the wrong, for, believe me, enjoyment is sweeter far than vengeance."
"Nay, I have not come to achieve a shameful victory, but to give myself to you without reserve, to render you my conqueror and my king. Prove your love by making me happy, break down the barrier which I kept intact, despite its fragility and my ardour, and if this sacrifice does not convince you of my affection you must be the worst of men."
I had never heard more energetic opinions, and I had never seen a more voluptuous sight. I began the work, and while Leah aided me to the best of her ability, I forced the gate, and on Leah's face I read the most acute pain and pleasure mingled. In the first ecstasy of delight I felt her tremble in every limb.
As for me, my enjoyment was quite new; I was twenty again, but I had the self-restraint of my age, and treated Leah with delicacy, holding her in my arms till three o'clock in the morning. When I left her she was inundated and exhausted with pleasure, while I could do no more.
She left me full of gratitude, carrying the soaking linen away with her. I slept on till twelve o'clock.
When I awoke and saw her standing by my bedside with the gentle love of the day after the wedding, the idea of my approaching departure saddened me. I told her so, and she begged me to stay on as long as I could. I repeated that we would arrange everything when we met again at night.
We had a delicious dinner, for Mardocheus was bent on convincing me that he was no miser.
I spent the afternoon with the consul, and arranged that I should go on a Neapolitan man-of-war which was in quarantine at the time, and was to sail for Trieste.
As I should be obliged to pass another month at Ancona, I blessed the storm that had driven me back.
I gave the consul the gold snuff-box with which the Elector of Cologne had presented me, keeping the portrait as a memento. Three days later he handed me forty gold sequins, which was ample for my needs.
My stay in Ancona was costing me dear; but when I told Mardocheus that I should not be going for another month he declared he would no longer feed at my expense. Of course I did not insist. Leah still dined with me.
It has always been my opinion, though perhaps I may be mistaken, that the Jew was perfectly well aware of my relations with his daughter. Jews are usually very liberal on this article, possibly because they count on the child being an Israelite.
I took care that my dear Leah should have no reason to repent of our connection. How grateful and affectionate she was when I told her that I meant to stay another month! How she blessed the bad weather which had driven me back. We slept together every night, not excepting those nights forbidden by the laws of Moses.
I gave her the little gold heart, which might be worth ten sequins, but that would be no reward for the care she had taken of my linen. She also made me accept some splendid Indian handkerchiefs. Six years later I met her again at Pesaro.
I left Ancona on November 14th, and on the 15th I was at Trieste.
Pittoni--Zaguri--The Procurator Morosini--The Venetian Consul--Gorice-- The French Consul--Madame Leo--My Devotion to The State Inquisitors-- Strasoldo--Madame Cragnoline--General Burghausen
The landlord asked me my name, we made our agreement, and I found myself very comfortably lodged.