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Complete Memoirs of Casanova

Convent Affairs
CHAPTER XVI
Countess Coronini--A Lover's Pique--Reconciliation--The First Meeting--A
Philosophical Parenthesis
My beautiful nun had not spoken to me, and I was glad of it, for I was so astonished, so
completely under the spell of her beauty, that I might have given her a very poor opinion
of my intelligence by the rambling answers which I should very likely have given to her
questions. I knew her to be certain that she had not to fear the humiliation of a refusal
from me, but I admired her courage in running the risk of it in her position. I could hardly
understand her boldness, and I could not conceive how she contrived to enjoy so much
liberty. A casino at Muran! the possibility of going to Venice to sup with a young man! It
was all very surprising, and I decided in my own mind that she had an acknowledged
lover whose pleasure it was to make her happy by satisfying her caprices. It is true that
such a thought was rather unpleasant to my pride, but there was too much piquancy in the
adventure, the heroine of it was too attractive, for me to be stopped by any
considerations. I saw very well that I was taking the high road to become unfaithful to my
dear C---- C----, or rather that I was already so in thought and will, but I must confess
that, in spite of all my love for that charming child, I felt no qualms of conscience. It
seemed to me that an infidelity of that sort, if she ever heard of it, would not displease
her, for that short excursion on strange ground would only keep me alive and in good
condition for her, because it would save me from the weariness which was surely killing
me.
I had been presented to the celebrated Countess Coronini by a nun, a relative of M.
Dandolo. That countess, who had been very handsome and was very witty, having made
up her mind to renounce the political intrigues which had been the study of her whole
life, had sought a retreat in the Convent of St. Justine, in the hope of finding in that
refuge the calm which she wanted, and which her disgust of society had rendered
necessary to her. As she had enjoyed a very great reputation, she was still visited at the
convent by all the foreign ambassadors and by the first noblemen of Venice; inside of the
walls of her convent the countess was acquainted with everything that happened in the
city. She always received me very kindly, and, treating me as a young man, she took
pleasure in giving me, every time I called on her, very agreeable lessons in morals. Being
quite certain to find out from her, with a little manoeuvering, something concerning M----
M----, I decided on paying her a visit the day after I had seen the beautiful nun.
The countess gave me her usual welcome, and, after the thousand nothings which it is the
custom to utter in society before anything worth saying is spoken, I led the conversation
up to the convents of Venice. We spoke of the wit and influence of a nun called Celsi,
who, although ugly, had an immense credit everywhere and in everything. We mentioned
afterwards the young and lovely Sister Michali, who had taken the veil to prove to her
mother that she was superior to her in intelligence and wit. After speaking of several
 
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