"Do you know whether our dear Cesarino has been in love yet?" said I.
"I don't think so, but I fancy my pretty maid is in love with him. I shall keep my eyes open."
"You mustn't be too strict."
"No, but it isn't a good thing for a young man to engage too soon in that pleasure which makes one neglect everything else."
"Let me have him, I will teach him how to live."
"Ask all, but leave me my son. You must know that I never kiss him for fear of my giving way to excessive emotion. I wish you knew how good and pure he is, and how well he loves me, I could not refuse him anything."
"What will people say in Venice when they see Casanova again, who escaped from The Leads and has become twenty years younger?"
"You are going to Venice, then, for the Ascensa?"
"Yes, and you are going to Rome?"
"And to Naples, to see my friend the Duke de Matalone."
"I know him well. He has already had a son by the daughter of the Duke de Bovino, whom he married. She must be a charming woman to have made a man of him, for all Naples knew that he was impotent."
"Probably, she only knew the secret of making him a father."
"Well, it is possible."
We spent the time by talking with interest on various topics till Cesarino and the husband came back. The dear child finished his conquest of me at supper; he had a merry random wit, and all the Neapolitan vivacity. He sat down at the clavier, and after playing several pieces with the utmost skill he began to sing Neapolitan songs which made us all laugh. Therese only looked at him and me, but now and again she embraced her husband, saying, that in love alone lies happiness.
I thought then, and I think now, that this day was one of the happiest I have ever spent.
The Corticelli--The Jew Manager Beaten--The False Charles Ivanoff and the Trick He Played Me--I Am Ordered to Leave Tuscany --I Arrive at Rome--My Brother Jean
At nine o'clock the next morning, the Abbe Gama was announced. The first thing he did was to shed tears of joy (as he said) at seeing me so well and prosperous after so many years. The reader will guess that the abbe addressed me in the most flattering terms, and perhaps he may know that one may be clever, experienced in the ways of the world, and even distrustful of flattery, but yet one's self-love, ever on the watch, listens to the flatterer, and thinks him pleasant. This polite and pleasant abbe, who had become extremely crafty from having lived all his days amongst the high dignitaries at the court of the 'Servus Servorum Dei' (the best school of strategy), was not altogether an ill-disposed man, but both his disposition and his profession conspired to make him inquisitive; in fine, such as I have depicted him in the first volume of these Memoirs. He wanted to hear my adventures, and did not wait for me to ask him to tell his story. He told me at great length the various incidents in his life for the seventeen years in which we had not seen one another. He had left the service of the King of Spain for that of the King of Portugal, he was secretary of embassy to the Commander Almada, and be had been obliged to leave Rome because the Pope Rezzonico would not allow the King of Portugal to punish certain worthy Jesuit assassins, who had only broken his arm as it happened, but who had none the less meant to take his life. Thus, Gama was staying in Italy corresponding with Almada and the famous Carvalho, waiting for the dispute to be finished before he returned to Rome. In point of fact this was the only substantial incident in the abbe's story, but he worked in so many episodes of no consequence that it lasted for an hour. No doubt he wished me to shew my gratitude by telling him all my adventures without reserve; but the upshot of it was that we both shewed ourselves true diplomatists, he in lengthening his story, I in shortening mine, while I could not help feeling some enjoyment in bulking the curiosity of my cassocked friend.
"What are you going to do in Rome?" said he, indifferently.