She told me she had seen me at the theatre, and felt sure I would come and see her.
She introduced me to her husband, who played parts like Scapin, and to her nine-year-old daughter, who had a talent for dancing.
She gave me an abridged account of her life since we had met. In the year I had seen her at Avignon she had gone to Turin with her father. At Turin she fell in love with her present husband, and left her parents to join her lot to his.
"Since that," she said, "I have heard of my father's death, but I do not know what has become of my mother."
After some further conversation she told me she was a faithful wife, though she did not push fidelity so far as to drive a rich lover to despair.
"I have no lovers here," she added, "but I give little suppers to a few friends. I don't mind the expense, as I win some money at faro."
She was the banker, and she begged me to join the party now and then.
"I will come after the play to-night," I replied, "but you must not expect any high play of me."
I kept the appointment and supped with a number of silly young tradesmen, who were all in love with her.
After supper she held a bank, and I was greatly astonished when I saw her cheating with great dexterity. It made me want to laugh; however, I lost my florins with a good grace and left. However, I did not mean to let Irene think she was duping me, and I went to see her next morning at rehearsal, and complimented her on her dealing. She pretended not to understand what I meant, and on my explaining myself she had the impudence to tell me that I was mistaken.
In my anger I turned my back on her saying, "You will be sorry for this some day."
At this she began to laugh, and said, "Well, well, I confess! and if you tell me how much you lost you shall have it back, and if you like you shall be a partner in the game."
"No, thank you, Irene, I will not be present at any more of your suppers. But I warn you to be cautious; games of chance are strictly forbidden."
"I know that, but all the young men have promised strict secrecy."
"Come and breakfast with me whenever you like."
A few days later she came, bringing her daughter with her. The girl was pretty, and allowed me to caress her.
One day Baron Pittoni met them at my lodgings, and as he liked young girls as well as I he begged Irene to make her daughter include him in her list of favoured lovers.
I advised her not to reject the offer, and the baron fell in love with her, which was a piece of luck for Irene, as she was accused of playing unlawful games, and would have been severely treated if the baron had not given her warning. When the police pounced on her, they found no gaming and no gamesters, and nothing could be done.
Irene left Trieste at the beginning of Lent with the company to which she belonged. Three years later I saw her again at Padua. Her daughter had become a charming girl, and our acquaintance was renewed in the tenderest manner.
[Thus abruptly end the Memoirs of Giacome Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, Knight of the Golden Spur, Prothonotary Apostolic, and Scoundrel Cosmopolitic.]