On the 17th August, Casanova replied to the above letter:


"I handed the Count your letter two minutes after having received it, finding him easily. I told him that he should respond at once, for the post was ready to go; but, as he begged to wait for the following ordinary, I did not insist. The day before yesterday, he begged me to wait again, but he did not find me so complaisant. I respond to you, Madame, for his carelessness in replying to letters is extreme; he is so shameful that he is in despair when he is obliged to it. Although he may not respond, be sure of seeing him at your house at Berlin after the Leipzig Fair, with a hundred bad excuses which you will laugh at and pretend to believe good ones . . . . This last month, my wish to see Berlin again has become immeasurable, and I will do my best to have Count Waldstein take me there in the month of October or at least to permit me to go . . . . You have given me an idea of Berlin far different than that the city left with me when I passed four months there twenty-nine years ago . . . . If my 'Icosameron' interests you, I offer you its Spirit. I wrote it here two years ago and I would not have published it if I had not dared hope that the Theological Censor would permit it. At Berlin no one raised the least difficulty . . . . If circumstances do not permit me to pay you my respects at Berlin, I hope for the happiness of seeing you here next year . . . ."

Sometime after this and following his quarrel with M. Opiz, Casanova evidently passed through a period of depression, as indicated by a manuscript at Dux, headed "Short reflection of a philosopher who finds himself thinking of procuring his own death," and dated "the 13th December 1793, the day dedicated to S. Lucie, remarkable in my too long life."

"Life is a burden to me. What is the metaphysical being who prevents me from slaying myself? It is Nature. What is the other being who enjoins me to lighten the burdens of that life which brings me only feeble pleasures and heavy pains? It is Reason. Nature is a coward which, demanding only conservation, orders me to sacrifice all to its existence. Reason is a being which gives me resemblance to God, which treads instinct under foot and which teaches me to choose the best way after having well considered the reasons. It demonstrates to me that I am a man in imposing silence on the Nature which opposes that action which alone could remedy all my ills.

"Reason convinces me that the power I have of slaying myself is a privilege given me by God, by which I perceive that I am superior to all animals created in the world; for there is no animal who can slay itself nor think of slaying itself, except the scorpion, which poisons itself, but only when the fire which surrounds it convinces it that it cannot save itself from being burned. This animal slays itself because it fears fire more than death. Reason tells me imperiously that I have the right to slay myself, with the divine oracle of Cen: 'Qui non potest vivere bene non vivat male.' These eight words have such power that it is impossible that a man to whom life is a burden could do other than slay himself on first hearing them."

Certainly, however, Casanova did not deceive himself with these sophisms, and Nature, who for many years had unquestionably lavished her gifts on him, had her way.

Over the end of the year, the two mathematicians, Casanova and Opiz, at the request of Count Waldstein, made a scientific examination of the reform of the calendar as decreed the 5th October 1793 by the National Convention.

In January 1795, Casanova wrote to the Princess Lobkowitz to thank her for her gift of a little dog. On the 16th the Princess wrote from Vienna:


"I am enchanted at the charming reception you accorded the dog which I sent you when I learned of the death of your well-loved greyhound, knowing that she would nowhere be better cared for than with you, Monsieur. I hope with all my heart that she has all the qualities which may, in some fashion, help you to forget the deceased .

Memoirs of Casanova Volume 6e Old Age and Death Page 22

Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

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