Happier than I, Veronique slept for three hours; but she was disagreeably surprised on my telling her that I had not been able to close an eye, and on finding me in the same state of impotence as before. She began to get angry when I tried to convince her rather too forcibly that my misfortune was not due to my want of will, and then she blamed herself as the cause of my impotence; and mortified by the idea, she endeavoured to destroy the spell by all the means which passion suggested, and which I had hitherto thought infallible; but her efforts and mine were all thrown away. My despair was as great as hers when at last, wearied, ashamed, and degraded in her own eyes, she discontinued her efforts, her eyes full of tears. She went away without a word, and left me alone for the two or three hours which had still to elapse before the dawn appeared.
At day-break Costa came and told me that the sea being rough and a contrary wind blowing, the felucca would be in danger of perishing.
"We will go as soon as the weather improves," said I; "in the mean time light me a fire"
I arose, and proceeded to write down the sad history of the night. This occupation soothed me, and feeling inclined to sleep I lay down again and slept for eight hours. When I awoke I felt better, but still rather sad. The two sisters were delighted to see me in good health, but I thought I saw on Veronique's features an unpleasant expression of contempt. However, I had deserved it, and I did not take the trouble of changing her opinion, though if she had been more caressing she might easily have put me in a state to repair the involuntary wrongs I had done her in the night. Before we sat down to table I gave her a present of a hundred sequins, which made her look a little more cheerful. I gave an equal present to my dear Annette, who had not expected anything, thinking herself amply recompensed by my first gift and by the pleasure I had afforded her.
At midnight the master of the felucca came to tell me that the wind had changed, and I took leave of the sisters. Veronique shed tears, but I knew to what to attribute them. Annette kissed me affectionately; thus each played her own part. I sailed for Lerici, where I arrived the next day, and then posted to Leghorn. Before I speak of this town I think I shall interest my readers by narrating a circumstance not unworthy of these Memoirs.
A Clever Cheat--Passano--Pisa--Corilla--My Opinion of Squinting Eyes--Florence--I See Therese Again--My Son--Corticelli
I was standing at some distance from my carriage into which they were putting four horses, when a man accosted me and asked me if I would pay in advance or at the next stage. Without troubling to look at him I said I would pay in advance, and gave him a coin requesting him to bring me the change.
"Directly, sir," said he, and with that he went into the inn.
A few minutes after, just as I was going to look after my change, the post-master came up and asked me to pay for the stage.
"I have paid already, and I am waiting for my change. Did I not give the money to you?"
"Certainly not, sir."
"Whom did I give it to, then?"
"I really can't say; but you will be able to recognize the man, doubtless."
"It must have been you or one of your people."
I was speaking loud, and all the men came about me.
"These are all the men in my employ," said the master, and he asked if any of them had received the money from me.
They all denied the fact with an air of sincerity which left no room for suspicion. I cursed and swore, but they let me curse and swear as much as I liked. At last I discovered that there was no help for it, and I paid a second time, laughing at the clever rascal who had taken me in so thoroughly. Such are the lessons of life; always full of new experiences, and yet one never knows enough. From that day I have always taken care not to pay for posting except to the proper persons.
In no country are knaves so cunning as in Italy, Greece ancient and modern excepted.