Complete Memoirs of Casanova
M. de Voltaire; My Discussions with That Great Man--Ariosto--The Duc de Villars--The
Syndic and the Three Girls--Dispute with Voltaire--Aix-en-Savoie--The Marquis
"M. de Voltaire," said I, "this is the happiest moment of my life. I have been your pupil
for twenty years, and my heart is full of joy to see my master."
"Honour me with your attendance on my course for twenty years more, and promise me
that you will bring me my fees at the end of that time."
"Certainly, if you promise to wait for me."
This Voltairean sally made all present laugh, as was to be expected, for those who laugh
keep one party in countenance at the other's expense, and the side which has the laughter
is sure to win; this is the rule of good society.
I was not taken by surprise, and waited to have my revenge.
Just then two Englishmen came in and were presented to him.
"These gentlemen are English," said Voltaire; "I wish I were."
I thought the compliment false and out of place; for the gentlemen were obliged to reply
out of politeness that they wished they had been French, or if they did not care to tell a lie
they would be too confused to tell the truth. I believe every man of honour should put his
own nation first.
A moment after, Voltaire turned to me again and said that as I was a Venetian I must
know Count Algarotti.
"I know him, but not because I am a Venetian, as seven-eights of my dear countrymen
are not even aware of his existence."
"I should have said, as a man of letters."
"I know him from having spent two months with him at Padua, seven years ago, and what
particularly attracted my attention was the admiration he professed for M. de Voltaire."
"That is flattering for me, but he has no need of admiring anyone."