When he had finished, I asked him if he could give me a bill on a banker for fifty sequins.
He replied in the most friendly manner that he would not give me the trouble of going to a banker for such a wretched sum as that; he would be delighted to oblige me himself.
I took the money promising to repay him at an early date, but I have never been able to do so. I do not know whether he is alive or dead, but if he were to attain the age of Methuselah I should not entertain any hopes of paying him; for I get poorer every day, and feel that my end is not far off.
The next day I was in Bologna, and the day after in Florence, where I met the Chevalier Morosini, nephew of the Venetian procurator, a young man of nineteen, who was travelling with Count Stratico, professor of mathematics at the University of Padua. He gave me a letter for his brother, a Jacobin monk, and professor of literature at Pisa, where I stopped for a couple of hours on purpose to make the celebrated monk's acquaintance. I found him even greater than his fame, and promised to come again to Pisa, and make a longer stay for the purpose of enjoying his society.
I stopped an hour at the Wells, where I made the acquaintance of the Pretender to the throne of Great Britain, and from there went on to Leghorn, where I found Count Orloff still waiting, but only because contrary winds kept him from sailing.
The English consul, with whom he was staying, introduced me at once to the Russian admiral, who received me with expressions of delight. He told me he would be charmed if I would come on board with him. He told me to have my luggage taken off at once, as he would set sail with the first fair wind. When he was gone the English consul asked me what would be my status with the admiral.
"That's just what I mean to find out before embarking my effects."
"You won't be able to speak to him till to-morrow." Next morning I called on Count Orloff, and sent him in a short note, asking him to give me a short interview before I embarked my mails.
An officer came out to tell me that the admiral was writing in bed, and hoped I would wait.
I had been waiting a few minutes, when Da Loglio, the Polish agent at Venice and an old friend of mine, came in.
"What are you doing here, my dear Casanova?" said he.
"I am waiting for an interview with the admiral."
"He is very busy."
After this, Da Loglio coolly went into the admiral's room. This was impertinent of him; it was as if he said in so many words that the admiral was too busy to see me, but not too busy to see him.
A moment after, Marquis Manucci came in with his order of St. Anne and his formal air. He congratulated me on my visit to Leghorn, and then said he had read my work on Venice, and had been surprised to find himself in it.
He had some reason for surprise, for there was no connection between him and the subject-matter; but he should have discovered before that the unexpected often happens. He did not give me time to tell him so, but went into the admiral's room as Da Loglio had done.
I was vexed to see how these gentlemen were admitted while I danced attendance, and the project of sailing with Orloff began to displease me.
In five hours Orloff came out followed by a numerous train. He told me pleasantly that we could have our talk at table or after dinner.
"After dinner, if you please," I said.
He came in and sat down at two o'clock, and I was among the guests.
Orloff kept on saying, "Eat away, gentlemen, eat away;" and read his correspondence and gave his secretary letters all the time.
After dinner he suddenly glanced up at me, and taking me by the hand led me to the window, and told me to make haste with my luggage, as he should sail before the morning if the wind kept up.
"Quite so; but kindly tell me, count, what is to be my status or employment an board your ship?"
"At present I have no special employ to give you; that will come in time. Come on board as my friend."
"The offer is an honourable one so far as you are concerned, but all the other officers might treat me with contempt.