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Complete Memoirs of Casanova

Holland And Germany
CHAPTER X
Portrait of the Pretended Countess Piccolomini--Quarrel and Duel--Esther and Her
Father, M. D'O.--Esther Still Taken with the Cabala--Piccolomini Forges a Bill of
Exchange: Results I Am Fleeced, and in Danger of Being Assassinated--Debauch with
the Two Paduan Girls--I Reveal A Great Secret To Esther--I Bate the Rascally St.
Germain; His Flight--Manon Baletti Proves Faithless to Me; Her Letter Announcing Her
Marriage: My Despair--Esther Spends a Day With Me--My Portrait and My Letters to
Manon Get Into Esther's Hands--I Pass a Day with Her--We Talk of Marrying Each
Other
The so-called Countess Piccolomini was a fine example of the adventurers. She was
young, tall, well-made, had eyes full of fire, and skin of a dazzling whiteness; not,
however, that natural whiteness which delights those who know the value of a satin skin
and rose petals, but rather that artificial fairness which is commonly to be seen at Rome
on the faces of courtezans, and which disgusts those who know how it is produced. She
had also splendid teeth, glorious hair as black as jet, and arched eyebrows like ebony. To
these advantages she added attractive manners, and there was something intelligent about
the way she spoke; but through all I saw the adventuress peeping out, which made me
detest her.
As she did not speak anything but Italian the countess had to play the part of a mute at
table, except where an English officer named Walpole was concerned, who, finding her
to his taste, set himself to amuse her. I felt friendly disposed towards this Englishman,
though my feelings were certainly not the result of sympathy. If I had been blind or deaf
Sir James Walpole would have been totally indifferent to me, as what I felt for him was
the result of my observation.
Although I did not care for the countess, for all that I went up to her room after dinner
with the greater part of the guests. The count arranged a game of whist, and Walpole
played at primero with the countess, who cheated him in a masterly manner; but though
he saw it he laughed and paid, because it suited his purpose to do so. When he had lost
fifty Louis he called quarter, and the countess asked him to take her to the theatre. This
was what the good-natured Englishman wanted; and he and the countess went off,
leaving the husband playing whist.
I, too, went to the play, and as chance would have it my neighbour in the pit was Count
Tot, brother to the count famous for his stay in Constantinople.
We had some conversation together, and he told me he had been obliged to leave France
on account of a duel which he had had with a man who had jested with him for not being
present at the battle of Minden, saying that he had absented himself in view of the battle.
The count had proved his courage with the sword on the other's body--a rough kind of
 
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