From Casanova’s memoirs:
Ideal Lover is rare in the modern world, for the role takes effort.
You will have to focus intensely on the other person, fathom what she
is missing, what he is disappointed by. People will often reveal this
in subtle ways: through a gesture, tone of voice, a look in the eye.
By seeming to be what they lack, you will fit their ideal.
this effect requires patience and attention to detail. Most people are
so wrapped up in their own desires, so impatient, they are incapable
of the Ideal Lover role. Let that be a source of infinite opportunity.
Be an oasis in the desert of the self-absorbed; few can resist the temptation
of following a person who seems so attuned to their desires, to bringing
to life their fantasies. And as with Casanova, your reputation as one
who gives such pleasure will precede you and make your seductions that
of the pleasures of the senses was ever my principal aim in life. Knowing
that I was personally calculated to please the fair sex, I always strove
to make myself agreeable to it."
woman who shewing little succeeds in making a man want to see more,
has accomplished three-fourths of the task of making him fall in love
with her; for is love anything else than a kind of curiosity? I think
not; and what makes me certain is that when the curiosity is satisfied
the love disappears. Love, however, is the strongest kind of curiosity
in existence …
is nothing, there can be nothing, dearer to a thinking being than life;
yet the voluptuous men, those who try to enjoy it in the best manner,
are the men who practise with the greatest perfection the difficult
art of shortening life, of driving it fast. They do not mean to make
it shorter, for they would like to perpetuate it in the midst of pleasure,
but they wish enjoyment to render its course insensible; and they are
account of his early character
Let us now
come to the dawn of my existence in the character of a thinking being.
organ of memory began to develop itself in me at the beginning of August,
1733. I had at that time reached the age of eight years and four months.
Of what may have happened to me before that period I have not the faintest
This is the
circumstance. I was standing in the corner of a room bending towards
the wall, supporting my head, and my eyes fixed upon a stream of blood
flowing from my nose to the ground. My grandmother, Marzia, whose pet
I was, came to me, bathed my face with cold water, and, unknown to everyone
in the house, took me with her in a gondola to a thickly-populated island
… we enter a wretched hole, where we find an old woman sitting
on a rickety bed, holding a black cat in her arms … the witch
having received a silver ducat from my grandmother, opened a box, took
me in her arms, placed me in the box and locked me in it, telling me
not to be frightened—a piece of advice which would certainly have
had the contrary effect, if I had had any wits about me, but I was stupefied.
I kept myself quiet in a corner of the box, holding a handkerchief to
my nose because it was still bleeding, and otherwise very indifferent
to the uproar going on outside. I could hear in turn, laughter, weeping,
singing, screams, shrieks, and knocking against the box, but for all
that I cared nought. At last I am taken out of the box; the blood stops
old witch, after lavishing caresses upon me, takes off my clothes, lays
me on the bed, burns some drugs, gathers the smoke in a sheet which
she wraps around me, pronounces incantations … she informed me
that a beautiful lady would pay me a visit during the following night,
and that she would make me happy, on condition that I should have sufficient
control over myself never to mention to anyone my having received such
a visit. Upon this we left and returned home.
I fell asleep
almost as soon as I was in bed, without giving a thought to the beautiful
visitor I was to receive; but, waking up a few hours afterwards, I saw,
or fancied I saw, coming down the chimney, a dazzling woman, with immense
hoops, splendidly attired, and wearing on her head a crown set with
precious stones, which seemed to me sparkling with fire. With slow steps,
but with a majestic and sweet countenance, she came forward and sat
on my bed; then taking several small boxes from her pocket, she emptied
their contents over my head, softly whispering a few words, and after
giving utterance to a long speech, not a single word of which I understood,
she kissed me and disappeared the same way she had come. I soon went
again to sleep.
The next morning,
my grandmother came to dress me, and the moment she was near my bed,
she cautioned me to be silent, threatening me with death if I dared
to say anything respecting my night’s adventures. This command,
laid upon me by the only woman who had complete authority over me, and
whose orders I was accustomed to obey blindly, caused me to remember
the vision, and to store it, with the seal of secrecy, in the inmost
corner of my dawning memory. … I continued to have bleeding at
the nose, but less from day to day, and my memory slowly developed itself.
I learned to read in less than a month. …
become real which, at first, had no existence but in our imagination,
and, as a natural consequence, many facts which have been attributed
to Faith may not always have been miraculous, although they are true
miracles for those who lend to Faith a boundless power.
to the Prince de Ligne, his last words are: "I have lived
as a philosopher, and die as a Christian."
of note regarding St. Germaine:
enjoyable dinner I had was with Madame de Gergi, who came with the famous
adventurer, known by the name of the Count de St. Germain. This individual,
instead of eating, talked from the beginning of the meal to the end,
and I followed his example in one respect as I did not eat, but listened
to him with the greatest attention. It may safely be said that as a
conversationalist he was unequalled. … This extraordinary man,
intended by nature to be the king of impostors and quacks, would say
in an easy, assured manner that he was three hundred years old, that
he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine, that he possessed a mastery
over nature, that he could melt diamonds, professing himself capable
of forming, out of ten or twelve small diamonds, one large one of the
finest water without any loss of weight. All this, he said, was a mere
trifle to him. Notwithstanding his boastings, his bare-faced lies, and
his manifold eccentricities, I cannot say I thought him offensive. In
spite of my knowledge of what he was and in spite of my own feelings,
I thought him an astonishing man as he was always astonishing me. …
St. Germain often dined with the best society in the capital, but he
never ate anything, saying that he was kept alive by mysterious food
known only to himself. One soon got used to his eccentricities, but
not to his wonderful flow of words which made him the soul of whatever
company he was in.