Two or three days later, the Chevalier de Morosini, the nephew of the procurator, and sole heir of the illustrious house of Morosini, came to Naples accompanied by his tutor Stratico, the professor of mathematics at Padua, and the same that had given me a letter for his brother, the Pisan professor. He stayed at the "Crocielles," and we were delighted to see one another again.

Morosini, a young man of nineteen, was travelling to complete his education. He had spent three years at Turin academy, and was now under the superintendence of a man who could have introduced him to the whole range of learning, but unhappily the will was wanting in the pupil. The young Venetian loved women to excess, frequented the society of young rakes, and yawned in good company. He was a sworn foe to study, and spent his money in a lavish manner, less from generosity than from a desire to be revenged on his uncle's economies. He complained of being still kept in tutelage; he had calculated that he could spend eight hundred sequins a month, and thought his allowance of two hundred sequins a month an insult. With this notion, he set himself to sow debts broadcast, and only laughed at his tutor when he mildly reproached him for his extravagance, and pointed out that if he were saving for the present, he would be able to be all the more magnificent on his return to Venice. His uncle had made an excellent match for him; he was to marry a girl who was extremely pretty, and also the heiress of the house of Grimani de Servi.

The only redeeming feature in the young man's character was that he had a mortal hatred of all kinds of play.

Since my bank had been broken I had been at Goudar's, but I would not listen to his proposal that I should join them again. Medini had become a sworn foe of mine. As soon as I came, he would go away, but I pretended not to notice him. He was at Goudar's when I introduced Morosini and his mentor, and thinking the young man good game he became very intimate with him. When he found out that Morosini would not hear of gaming, his hatred of me increased, for he was certain that I had warned the rich Venetian against him.

Morosini was much taken with Sara's charms, and only thought of how he could possess her. He was still a young man, full of romantic notions, and she would have become odious in his eyes if he could have guessed that she would have to be bought with a heavy price.

He told me several times that if a woman proposed payment for her favours, his disgust would expel his love in a moment. As he said, and rightly, he was as good a man as Madame Goudar was a woman.

This was distinctly a good point in his character; no woman who gave her favours in exchange for presents received could hope to dupe him. Sara's maxims were diametrically opposed to his; she looked on her love as a bill of exchange.

Stratico was delighted to see him engaged in this intrigue, for the chief point in dealing with him was to keep him occupied. If he had no distractions he took refuge in bad company or furious riding. He would sometimes ride ten or twelve stages at full gallop, utterly ruining the horses. He was only too glad to make his uncle pay for them, as he swore he was an old miser.

After I had made up my mind to leave Naples, I had a visit from Don Pascal Latilla, who brought with him the Abbe Galiani, whom I had known at Paris.

It may be remembered that I had known his brother at St. Agatha's, where I had stayed with him, and left him Donna Lucrezia Castelli.

I told him that I had intended to visit him, and asked if Lucrezia were still with him.

"She lives at Salerno," said he, "with her daughter the Marchioness C----."

I was delighted to hear the news; if it had not been for the abbe's visit, I should never have heard what had become of these ladies.

I asked him if he knew the Marchioness C----.

"I only know the marquis," he replied, "he is old and very rich."

That was enough for me.

A couple of days afterwards Morosini invited Sara, Goudar, two young gamesters, and Medini, to dinner.

Romance Books
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book