Complete Memoirs of Casanova
Expelled From Spain
I Make a Mistake and Manucci Becomes My Mortal Foe--His Vengeance--I Leave
Madrid--Saragossa--Valentia--Nina--I Arrive at Barcelona
If these Memoirs, only written to console me in the dreadful weariness which is slowly
killing me in Bohemia--and which, perhaps, would kill me anywhere, since, though my
body is old, my spirit and my desires are as young as ever--if these Memoirs are ever
read, I repeat, they will only be read when I am gone, and all censure will be lost on me.
Nevertheless, seeing that men are divided into two sections, the one and by far the greater
composed of the ignorant and superficial, and the other of the learned and reflective, I
beg to state that it is to the latter I would appeal. Their judgment, I believe, will be in
favour of my veracity, and, indeed, why should I not be veracious? A man can have no
object in deceiving himself, and it is for myself that I chiefly write.
Hitherto I have spoken nothing but the truth, without considering whether the truth is in
my favour or no. My book is not a work of dogmatic theology, but I do not think it will
do harm to anyone; while I fancy that those who know how to imitate the bee and to get
honey from every flower will be able to extract some good from the catalogue of my
vices and virtues.
After this digression (it may be too long, but that is my business and none other's), I must
confess that never have I had so unpleasant a truth to set down as that which I am going
to relate. I committed a fatal act of indiscretion--an act which after all these years still
gives my heart a pang as I think of it.
The day after my conquest I dined with the Venetian ambassador, and I had the pleasure
of hearing that all the ministers and grandees with whom I had associated had the highest
possible opinion of me. In three or four days the king, the royal family, and the ministers
would return to town, and I expected to have daily conferences with the latter respecting
the colony in the Sierra Morena, where I should most probably be going. Manucci, who
continued to treat me as a valued friend, proposed to accompany me on my journey, and
would bring with him an adventuress, who called herself Porto-Carrero, pretending to be
the daughter or niece of the late cardinal of that name, and thus obtained a good deal of
consideration; though in reality she was only the mistress of the French consul at Madrid,
the Abbe Bigliardi.
Such was the promising state of my prospects when my evil genius brought to Madrid a
native of Liege, Baron de Fraiture, chief huntsman of the principality, and a profligate, a
gamester, and a cheat, like all those who proclaim their belief in his honesty nowadays.