16 de November de 1768 - Casanova sobrevive a un intento de asesinato y es encarcelado en la Ciudadela durante 42 días después de follar la amante del Capitán General de Cataluña (1449 + 2920)


Detalle de un retrato de Casanova en 1760. Imagen: ¿Anton Raphael Mengs? ¿Francesco Narici?.

I had been in Barcelona for a week, and was beginning to wonder why I had not heard from Nina; but one evening she wrote me a note, begging me to come on foot and alone to her house at ten o’clock the same night.

If I had been wise I should not have gone, for I was not in love with the woman, and should have remembered the respect due to the viceroy; but I was devoid of all wisdom and prudence. All the misfortunes I have experienced in my long life never taught me those two most necessary virtues.

At the hour she had named I called on her, wearing my great coat, and with a sword for my only weapon. I found Nina with her sister, a woman of thirty-six or thereabouts, who was married to an Italian dancer, nicknamed Schizza, because he had a flatter nose than any Tartar.

Nina had just been supping with her lover, who had left her at ten o’clock, according to his invariable custom.

She said she was delighted to hear I had been to dinner with him, as she had herself spoken to him in my praise, saying how admirably I had kept her company at Valentia.

“I am glad to hear it, but I do not think you are wise in inviting me to your house at such late hours.”

“I only do so to avoid scandal amongst my neighbours.”

“In my opinion my coming so late is only likely to increase the probability of scandal, and to make your viceroy jealous.”

“He will never hear of your coming.”

“I think you are mistaken.”

I went away at midnight, after a conversation of the most decent character. Her sister did not leave us for a moment, and Nina gave her no cause to suspect the intimacy of our relations.

I went to see her every evening, without encroaching on the count’s preserves. I thought myself secure, but the following warning should have made me desist if I had not been carried away by the forces of destiny and obstinacy in combination.

An officer in the Walloon Guards accosted me one day as I was walking by myself just outside the town. He begged me in the most polite manner to excuse him if he spoke on a matter which was indifferent to him but of great consequence to me.

“Speak, sir,” I replied, “I will take whatever you say in good part.”

“Very good. You are a stranger, sir, and may not be acquainted with our Spanish manners, consequently you are unaware of the great risk you run in going to see Nina every evening after the count has left her.”

“What risk do I run? I have no doubt that the count knows all about it and does not object.”

“I have no doubt as to his knowing it, and he may possibly pretend to know nothing before her, as he fears as well as loves her; but if she tells you that he does not object, she either deceives herself or you. He cannot love her without being jealous, and a jealous Spaniard . . .

“Follow my advice, sir, and forgive my freedom.”

“I am sincerely obliged to you for your kind interest in me, but I cannot follow your advice, as by doing so I should be wanting in politeness to Nina, who likes to see me and gives me a warm welcome. I shall continue to visit her till she orders me not to do so, or till the count signifies to me his displeasure at my visits to his mistress.”

“The count will never do such a thing; he is too careful of his dignity.”

The worthy officer then narrated to me all the acts of injustice which Ricla had committed since he had fallen in love with this woman. He had dismissed gentlemen from his service on the mere suspicion that they were in love with her; some had been exiled, and others imprisoned on one frivolous pretext or another. Before he had known Nina he had been a pattern of wisdom, justice, and virtue, and now he had become unjust, cruel, blindly passionate, and in every way a scandal to the high position he occupied.

All this should have influenced me, but it had not the slightest effect. I told him for politeness’ sake that I would endeavour to part from her by degrees, but I had no intention of doing so.

When I asked him how he knew that I visited Nina, he laughed and said it was a common topic of conversation all over the town.

The same evening I called on her without mentioning my conversation with the officer. There would have been some excuse for me if I had been in love with her, but as it was . . . I acted like a madman.

On the 14th of November I went to see her at the usual time. I found her with a man who was shewing her miniatures. I looked at him and found that he was the scoundrel Passano, or Pogomas.

My blood boiled; I took Nina’s hand and led her into a neighbouring room, and told her to dismiss the rogue at once, or I would go to return no more.

“He’s a painter.”

“I am well acquainted with his history, and will tell you all about it presently; but send him away, or I shall go.”

She called her sister, and told her to order the Genoese to leave the house and never to enter it again.

The thing was ‘done in a moment, but the sister told us that as he went out he had said,—

“Se ne pentira.” (“He shall be sorry for it.”).

I occupied an hour in relating some of the injuries I had received from this scoundrelly fellow.

The next day (November 15th), I went to Nina at the usual time, and after spending two hours in pleasant converse with her and her sister I went out as the clocks were striking midnight.

The door of the house was under an arcade, which extended to the end of the street. It was a dark night; and I had scarcely gone twenty-five paces when two men suddenly rushed at me.

I stepped back, drawing my sword, and exclaiming, “Assassins!” and then with a rapid movement, I thrust my blade into the body of the nearest assailant. I then left the arcade, and began to run down the street. The second assassin fired a pistol at me, but it fortunately missed me. I fell down and dropped my hat in my rapid flight, and got up and continued my course without troubling to pick it up. I did not know whether I was wounded or not, but at last I got to my inn, and laid down the bloody sword on the counter, under the landlord’s nose. I was quite out of breath.

I told the landlord what had happened, and on taking off my great coat, I found it to be pierced in two places just below the armpit.

“I am going to bed,” I said to the landlord, “and I leave my great coat and the sword in your charge. Tomorrow morning I shall ask you to come with me before the magistrate to denounce this act of assassination, for if the man was killed it must be shewn that I only slew him to save my own life.”

“I think your best plan would be to fly Barcelona immediately.”

“Then you think I have not told you the strict truth?”

“I am sure you have; but I know whence the blow comes, and God knows what will befall you!”

“Nothing at all; but if I fly I shall be accounted guilty. Take care of the sword; they tried to assassinate me, but I think the assassins got the worst of it.”

I went to bed somewhat perturbed, but I had the consoling thought that if I had killed a man I had done so to self-defence; my conscience was quite clear.

At seven o’clock the next morning I heard a knocking at my door. I opened it, and saw my landlord, accompanied by an officer, who told me to give him all my papers, to dress, and to follow him, adding that he should be compelled to use force in case of resistance.

“I have no intention of resisting,” I replied. “By whose authority do you ask me for my papers?”

“By the authority of the governor. They will be returned to you if nothing suspicious is found amongst them.”

“Where are you going to take me?”

“To the citadel.”

Casanova Histoire de ma vie Read on

Comentarios del compilador

Fue puesto en libertad el 28 de diciembre y sobrevivió otro intento antes de llegar a la frontera. Su versión de cómo conoció a Nina en Valencia es, como siempre, espléndida:

After Marescalchi had gone, and I was making my preparations for my journey to Barcelona, I saw one day, at the bull fight, a woman whose appearance had a strange kind of fascination about it.

There was a knight of Alcantara at my side, and I asked him who the lady was.

“She is the famous Nina.”

“How famous?”

“If you do not know her story, it is too long to be told here.”

I could not help gazing at her, and two minutes later an ill-looking fellow beside her came up to my companion and whispered something in his ear.

The knight turned towards me and informed me in the most polite manner that the lady whose name I had asked desired to know mine.

I was silly enough to be flattered by her curiosity, and told the messenger that if the lady would allow me I would come to her box and tell her my name in person after the performance.

“From your accent I should suppose you were an Italian.”

“I am a Venetian.”

“So is she.”

When he had gone away my neighbour seemed inclined to be more communicative, and informed me that Nina was a dancer whom the Count de Ricla, the Viceroy of Barcelona, was keeping for some weeks at Valentia, till he could get her back to Barcelona, whence the bishop of the diocese had expelled her on account of the scandals to which she gave rise. “The count,” he added, “is madly in love with her, and allows her fifty doubloons a day.”

“I should hope she does not spend them.”

“She can’t do that, but she does not let a day pass without committing some expensive act of folly.”

I felt curious to know a woman of such a peculiar character, and longed for the end of the bull fight, little thinking in what trouble this new acquaintance would involve me.

She received me with great politeness, and as she got into her carriage drawn by six mules, she said she would be delighted if I would breakfast with her at nine o’clock on the following day.

I promised to come, and I kept my word.

Her house was just outside the town walls, and was a very large building. It was richly and tastefully furnished, and was surrounded by an enormous garden.

The first thing that struck me was the number of the lackeys and the richness of their liveries, and the maids in elegant attire, who seemed to be going and coming in all directions.

As I advanced I heard an imperious voice scolding some one.

The scold was Nina, who was abusing an astonished-looking man, who was standing by a large table covered with stuffs and laces.

“Excuse me,” said she, “but this fool of a Spaniard wants to persuade me that this lace is really handsome.”

She asked me what I thought of the lace, and though I privately thought it lace of the finest quality, I did not care to contradict her, and so replied that I was no judge.

“Madam,” said the tradesman, “if you do not like the lace, leave it; will you keep the stuffs?”

“Yes,” she replied; “and as for the lace, I will shew you that it is not the money that deters me.”

So saying the mad girl took up a pair of scissors and cut the lace into fragments.

“What a pity!” said the man who had spoken to me at the bull fight.
“People will say that you have gone off your head.”
“Be silent, you pimping rogue!” said she, enforcing her words with a sturdy box on the ear.

The fellow went off, calling her strumpet, which only made her scream with laughter; then, turning to the Spaniard, she told him to make out his account directly.

The man did not want telling twice, and avenged himself for the abuse he had received by the inordinate length of his bill.

She took up the account and placed her initials at the bottom without deigning to look at the items, and said,—

“Go to Don Diego Valencia; he will pay you immediately.”

As soon as we were alone the chocolate was served, and she sent a message to the fellow whose ears she had boxed to come to breakfast directly.

“You needn’t be surprised at my way of treating him,” she said. “He’s a rascal whom Ricla has placed in my house to spy out my actions, and I treat him as you have seen, so that he may have plenty of news to write to his master.”

I thought I must be dreaming; such a woman seemed to me beyond the limits of the possible.

The poor wretch, who came from Bologna and was a musician by profession, came and sat down with us without a word. His name was Molinari.

As soon as he had finished his breakfast he left the room, and Nina spent an hour with me talking about Spain, Italy, and Portugal, where she had married a dancer named Bergonzi.

“My father,” she said, “was the famous charlatan Pelandi; you may have known him at Venice.”

After this piece of confidence (and she did not seem at all ashamed of her parentage) she asked me to sup with her, supper being her favourite meal. I promised to come, and I left her to reflect on the extraordinary character of the woman, and on the good fortune which she so abused.

Nina was wonderfully beautiful; but as it has always been my opinion that mere beauty does not go for much, I could not understand how a viceroy could have fallen in love with her to such an extent. As for Molinari, after which I had seen, I could only set him down as an infamous wretch.

I went to supper with her for amusement’s sake, for, with all her beauty, she had not touched my heart in the slightest degree. It was at the beginning of October, but at Valentia the thermometer marked twenty degrees Reaumur in the shade.

Nina was walking in the garden with her companion, both of them being very lightly clad; indeed, Nina had only her chemise and a light petticoat.

As soon as she saw me she came up and begged me to follow their example in the way of attire, but I begged to be excused. The presence of that hateful fellow revolted me in the highest degree.

In the interval before supper Nina entertained me with a number of lascivious anecdotes of her experiences from the time she began her present mode of living up to the age of twenty-two, which was her age then.

If it had not been for the presence of the disgusting Argus, no doubt all these stories would have produced their natural effect on me; but as it was they had none whatever.

We had a delicate supper and ate with appetite, and after it was over I would have gladly left them; but Nina would not let me go. The wine had taken effect, and she wished to have a little amusement.

After all the servants had been dismissed, this Messalina ordered Molinari to strip naked, and she then began to treat him in a manner which I cannot describe without disgust.

The rascal was young and strong, and, though he was drunk, Nina’s treatment soon placed him in a hearty condition. I could see that she wished me to play my part in the revels, but my disgust had utterly deprived me of all my amorous faculties.

Nina, too, had undressed, and seeing that I viewed the orgy coldly she proceeded to satiate her desires by means of Molinari.

I had to bear with the sight of this beautiful woman coupling herself with an animal, whose only merit lay in his virile monstrosity, which she no doubt regarded as a beauty.

When she had exhausted her amorous fury she threw herself into a bath, then came back, drank a bottle of Malmsey Madeira, and finally made her brutal lover drink till he fell on to the floor.

I fled into the next room, not being able to bear it any longer, but she followed me. She was still naked, and seating herself beside me on an ottoman she asked me how I had enjoyed the spectacle.

I told her boldy that the disgust with which her wretched companion had inspired me was so great that it had utterly annulled the effect of her charms.

“That may be so, but now he is not here, and yet you do nothing. One would not think it, to look at you.”

“You are right, for I have my feelings like any other man, but he has disgusted me too much. Wait till tomorrow, and let me not see that monster so unworthy of enjoying you.”

“He does not enjoy me. If I thought he did I would rather die than let him have to do with me, for I detest him.”

“What! you do not love him, and yet you make use of him in the way you do?”

“Yes, just as I might use a mechanical instrument.”

In this woman I saw an instance of the depths of degradation to which human nature may be brought.

She asked me to sup with her on the following day, telling me that we would be alone, as Molinari would be ill.

“He will have got over the effects of the wine.”

“I tell you he will be ill. Come to-morrow, and come every evening.”

“I am going the day after to-morrow.”

“You will not go for a week, and then we will go together.”

“That’s impossible.”

“If you go you will insult me beyond bearing.”

I went home with my mind made up to depart without having anything more to do with her; and though I was far from inexperienced in wickedness of all kinds, I could not help feeling astonished at the unblushing frankness of this Megaera, who had told me what I already knew, but in words that I had never heard a woman use before.

“I only use him to satisfy my desires, and because I am certain that he does not love me; if I thought he did I would rather die than allow him to do anything with me, for I detest him.”

The next day I went to her at seven o’clock in the evening. She received me with an air of feigned melancholy, saying,—

“Alas! we shall have to sup alone; Molinari has got the colic.”

“You said he would be ill; have you poisoned him?”

“I am quite capable of doing so, but I hope I never shall.”

“But you have given him something?”

“Only what he likes himself; but we will talk of that again. Let us sup and play till to-morrow, and tomorrow evening we will begin again.”

“I am going away at seven o’clock to-morrow.”

“No, no, you are not; and your coachman will have no cause for complaint, for he has been paid; here is the receipt.”

These remarks, delivered with an air of amorous despotism, flattered my vanity. I made up my mind to submit gaily, called her wanton, and said I was not worth the pains she was taking over me.

“What astonishes me,” said I, “is that with this fine house you do not care to entertain company.”

“Everybody is afraid to come; they fear Ricla’s jealousy, for it is well known that that animal who is now suffering from the colic tells him everything I do. He swears that it is not so, but I know him to be a liar. Indeed, I am very glad he does write to Ricla, and only wish he had something of real importance to write about.”

“He will tell him that I have supped alone with you.”

“All the better; are you afraid?”

“No; but I think you ought to tell me if I have anything really to fear.”

“Nothing at all; it will fall on me.”

“But I should not like to involve you in a dispute which might be prejudicial to your interests.”

“Not at all; the more I provoke him, the better he loves me, and I will make him pay dearly when he asks me to make it up.”

“Then you don’t love him?”

“Yes, to ruin him; but he is so rich that there doesn’t seem much hope of my ever doing that.”

Before me I saw a woman as beautiful as Venus and as degraded as Lucifer; a woman most surely born to be the ruin of anyone who had the misfortune to fall in love with her. I had known women of similar character, but never one so dangerous as she.

I determined to make some money out of her if I could.

She called for cards, and asked me to play with her at a game called primiera. It is a game of chance, but of so complicated a nature that the best player always wins. In a quarter of an hour I found that I was the better player, but she had such luck that at the end of the game I had lost twenty pistoles, which I paid on the spot. She took the money, promising to give me my revenge.

We had supper, and then we committed all the wantonness she wished and I was capable of performing, for with me the age of miracles was past.

The next day I called to see her earlier in the evening. We played again; and she lost, and went on losing evening after evening, till I had won a matter of two or three hundred doubloons, no unwelcome addition to my somewhat depleted purse.

The spy recovered from his colic and supped with us every evening, but his presence no longer interfered with my pleasure since Nina had ceased to prostitute herself to him in my presence. She did the opposite; giving herself to me, and telling him to write to the Comte de Ricla whatever he liked.

The count wrote her a letter which she gave me to read. The poor love-sick viceroy informed her that she might safely return to Barcelona, as the bishop had received an order from the Court to regard her as merely au actress, whose stay in his diocese would only be temporary; she would thus be allowed to live there in peace so long as she abstained from giving cause for scandal. She told me that whilst she was at Barcelona I could only see her after ten o’clock at night, when the count always left her. She assured me that I should run no risk whatever.

Possibly I should not have stayed at Barcelona at all if Nina had not told me that she would always be ready to lend me as much money as I wanted.

She asked me to leave Valentia a day before her, and to await her at Tarragona. I did so, and spent a very pleasant day in that town, which abounds in remains of antiquity.

I ordered a choice supper according to her instructions, and took care that she should have a separate bedroom so as to avoid any scandal.

She started in the morning begging me to wait till the evening, and to travel by night so as to reach Barcelona by day-time. She told me to put up at the “Santa Maria,” and not to call till I had heard from her.

I followed all the directions given me by this curious woman, and found myself comfortably lodged at Barcelona. My landlord was a Swiss who told me in confidence that he had received instructions to treat me well, and that I had only to ask for what I wanted.

We shall see soon what was the result of all this.

Es triste y vergonzoso que no hay versión castellana libremente disponible.

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Tags y explicaciónes

  • Ambrosio de Funes Villalpando (1) Ambrosio de Funes Villalpando Abarca de Bolea (Zaragoza, 1720 – Madrid, 1780), conocido como el Conde de Ricla, fue un general español, virrey de Navarra y capitán general de Cuba y de Cataluña.
  • Barcelona (1603)
  • Capitanía general (6)
  • Ciudadela de Barcelona (64) La Ciudadela de Barcelona fue una fortaleza militar construida por mandato de Felipe V para dominar la ciudad tras de la Guerra de Sucesión española y demolida definitivamente durante la revolución de 1868, salvo tres edificios interiores: la capilla, el palacio del gobernador y el arsenal.
  • Giacomo Casanova (1) Giacomo Girolamo Casanova [ˈdʒaːkomo dʒiˈrɔːlamo kazaˈnɔːva] (Venecia, República de Venecia, 2 de abril de 1725 – Dux, actual Duchcov, Bohemia, República Checa, 4 de junio de 1798) fue un famoso aventurero, escritor, diplomático, bibliotecario y agente secreto italiano.
  • Historia de mi vida (1) Las Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt, écrits par lui-même (en castellano Memorias de J. Casanova de Seingalt, escritas por él mismo) son la vieja edición de las memorias del aventurero veneciano Giacomo Casanova.
  • Ilustración en España (75) Ilustración en España o Ilustración española es el relato de los orígenes, características específicas y desarrollo del movimiento ilustrado en España y de los obstáculos y apoyos políticos y sociales que encontró a lo largo del siglo XVIII español caracterizado por el reformismo borbónico (1700/1714 - 1808).
  • Reformismo borbónico (76) Reformismo borbónico hace referencia al periodo de la historia de España iniciado en 1700, en que Carlos II, el último rey de la Casa de Austria de la Monarquía Hispánica, nombró en su testamento un mes antes de morir a Felipe V de Borbón como su sucesor —lo que provocó la guerra de Sucesión Española (1701-1714)—, hasta las abdicaciones de Bayona de 1808 en las que Carlos IV y su hijo Fernando VII, que le había obligado a abdicar en su persona dos meses antes (Motín de Aranjuez), cedieron bajo presión a Napoleón Bonaparte sus derechos a la Corona, que este a su vez pasó a su hermano José I Bonaparte, lo que dio inicio a la guerra de la Independencia Española.
  • Sexo (8)
  • Valencia (36)

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