It was December 28th. On the same date, three years before, I had received orders to leave Barcelona in three days.
I dressed hastily and went to the magistrate to enquire the reason for my exile, and on entering the room I found it was the same man who had ordered me to leave Florence eleven years before.
I asked him to give me his reasons, and he replied coldly that such was the will of his highness.
"But as his highness must have his reasons, it seems to me that I am within my rights in enquiring what they are."
"If you think so yqu had better betake yourself to the prince; I know nothing about it. He left yesterday for Pisa, where he will stay three days; you can go there."
"Will he pay for my journey?"
"I should doubt it, but you can see for yourself."
"I shall not go to Pisa, but I will write to his highness if you will promise to send on the letter."
"I will do so immediately, for it is my duty."
"Very good; you shall have the letter before noon tomorrow, and before day-break I shall be in the States of the Church."
"There's no need for you to hurry yourself."
"There is a very great hurry. I cannot breathe the air of a country where liberty is unknown and the sovereign breaks his word; that is what I am going to write to your master."
As I was going out I met Medini, who had come on the same business as myself.
I laughed, and informed him of the results of my interview, and how I had been told to go to Pisa.
"What! have you been expelled, too?"
"What have you done?"
"Nor I. Let us go to Pisa."
"You can go if you like, but I shall leave Florence tonight."
When I got home I told my landlord to get me a carriage and to order four post-horses for nightfall, and I then wrote the following letter to the grand duke:
"My Lord; The thunder which Jove has placed in your hands is only for the guilty; in launching it at me you have done wrong. Seven months ago you promised that I should remain unmolested so long as I obeyed the laws. I have done so scrupulously, and your lordship has therefore broken your word. I am merely writing to you to let you know that I forgive you, and that I shall never give utterance to a word of complaint. Indeed I would willingly forget the injury you have done me, if it were not necessary that I should remember never to set foot in your realms again. The magistrate tells me that I can go and see you at Pisa, but I fear such a step would seem a hardy one to a prince, who should hear what a man has to say before he condemns him, and not afterwards.
"I am, etc."
When I had finished the letter I sent it to the magistrate, and then I began my packing.
I was sitting down to dinner when Medini came in cursing Zen and Zanovitch, whom he accused of being the authors of his misfortune, and of refusing to give him a hundred sequins, without which he could not possibly go.
"We are all going to Pisa," said he, "and cannot imagine why you do not come, too."
"Very good," I said, laughingly, "but please to leave me now as I have to do my packing."
As I expected, he wanted me to lend him some money, but on my giving him a direct refusal he went away.
After dinner I took leave of M. Medici and Madame Dennis, the latter of whom had heard the story already. She cursed the grand duke, saying she could not imagine how he could confound the innocent with the guilty. She informed me that Madame Lamberti had received orders to quit, as also a hunchbacked Venetian priest, who used to go and see the dancer but had never supped with her. In fact, there was a clean sweep of all the Venetians in Florence.
As I was returning home I met Lord Lincoln's governor; whom I had known at Lausanne eleven years before. I told him of what had happened to me through his hopeful pupil getting himself fleeced. He laughed, and told me that the grand duke had advised Lord Lincoln not to pay the money he had lost, to which the young man replied that if he were not to pay he should be dishonoured since the money he had lost had been lent to him.