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ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE (a mystical encounter between a seaman and a ghost).

Seamen often witness mysterious forces of nature, and what they see with their eyes cannot be explained by science. What they see on the verge of mysticism has always made sailors superstitious, and even today, when their ships are packed with electronics, they still believe in omens.
One day something incredible happened to my mate Alex. He was visited by an alien from the past who materialized before his eyes into a living being. Another person would have been scared to death, but Alex is a seaman, he has seen a lot in his adventures. They spent the whole night talking and drinking wine, and the mysterious guest told him the secrets of the art of winning women’s hearts, taught him the magic of influence, and gave him advice on how to succeed in society, using people’s vices and weaknesses. After that night Alex gained the ability to decipher and read people’s thoughts. This frightened many people.

Even I, who had seen a lot in my life, found his story strange, to say the least. But that night we had only one drink, so there was no reason to suspect my friend of alcoholic hallucinations. I asked him for permission to publish the story, which Alex didn’t agree to at first. But still, he agreed, hoping that the advice of a strange guest would help good people stay away from those who pretend to be friends to take advantage of a naïve simpleton’s gullibility.

***

Alex was a romantic by nature. His romanticism faced itself in his fascination with women, drinking in dubious company, and other things that moralists call debauchery. But Alex himself considered this way of life normal, claiming that saints only existed in heaven or on icons, not among living people. He was as open and trusting with every woman and every drinking companion as he was with himself. As a result, he often fell victim to their selfish minds and habits.
At the same time, Alex remained a disciplined and responsible pedant in his profession. Not every navigator has these qualities, so any captain could sleep soundly with Alex as his assistant on the bridge. And his colleagues respected him for it. But even a first-class professional can ruin his career with his vicious tendencies. That’s what happened to my friend. He reached the rank of chief officer but failed to become captain.
After that, Alex thought about changing himself. But is there a cure for himself? Even the ancients taught: that if you want to cure yourself of the torment of temptations – give in to them.

In the end, he decided to run away from the moralists. They are no better than Alex, but they know how to hide their vices. That is to say, they are hypocrites. But the new place turned out to be the same. Life taught him another lesson, making him realize that in the human world, it is impossible to hide from temptation. You can try to protect yourself from them if you have money to pay for your independence and freedom. And if you don’t have money, the only way to escape is to run away from people to a desert island.
Alex had to think about how to make a living and began to limit everything he was used to. Now the night moths in his bedroom appeared very rarely, they were of dubious quality and all beggars. He had to pay them extra to disappear without tiring of their presence. The help came in a harbor tavern, where Alex met a mate he had once shared a cabin with on a long voyage. Mate gave him the coordinates of the recruitment office on the Adriatic. That’s how Alex joined the crew of a freighter carrying small loads in the Mediterranean.

The ship was loading oranges in Tripoli and was due to arrive in Venice in a week. He’d taken the train from Hamburg across Europe to get there. Puffing on a cigarette to the open window of the carriage, he smiled at the vicissitudes of fate. Only yesterday depression had crushed his brain, but today the world was a rainbow of colors again. Life is beautiful, even when your glass is half empty! Alex threw a cigarette butt out of the window, it flew away with sparks and sank into the darkness.

He had been to Venice many times before. Now he wandered the familiar narrow streets and bridges, gazing at the gondolas with noisy tourists, inhaling the smell of fried things and listening to the singing Italian chatter. One thing caught his eye in an antique shop. A flat disc, like a saucer, was heavier than metal. It was an ancient glass mold.
“Probably a ritual thing,” the shopkeeper noted his interest. There was a strange old man who lived in the attic of this building, he died recently. All his things were taken by thieves, and I got this thing. You can have it for a dollar if you want, none of my guests were interested in it, – he smiled. Alex gave the owner three dollars and he smiled gratefully and escorted the guest to the exit.

Lying on the sofa in his hotel room in the evening, Alex was twirling his purchase in his hands. Suddenly, the lights went out. Without electricity, we are helpless creatures. A servant brought a candelabrum and apologized for the inconvenience. Suddenly, in the light of the candle, Alex saw the transparency of the disc! In that transparency, he could read the chaotically scattered letters. Intrigued, he started writing them down on a piece of paper.
Finally, he wrote out all the letters and now he was racking his brains trying to make a word out of them. But it was gibberish. At last, the word ACCAREZZAMI came out. The dictionary gave a rough translation, something like “caress me.”
That cheered him up:
“You’re not a mamzelle to be caressed, and I’m not a Casanova,” – Alex smiled, stroking the disc on the table. He was in a playful mood after he visited the Doge’s Palace, where he had found and read a gigolo’s memoirs among the unique gizmos.

Suddenly the surroundings became so quiet it rang in his ears. The plate begun vibrated, the table shook, the dishes in the cupboard rattled, and Alex thought it was an earthquake. And then something happened that made him lose his strength and slide under the table.
Fog crept in through the night window, and the next second a silhouette appeared in that fog. He came alive, wearing an embroidered camisole and a wig that fell in long curls from his head to shoulders. The ghost plumped into a chair and swung his foot behind his leg, the buckles of his clogs glinting defiantly with rubies:

-“Mon ami, you called my name, that’s why I’m here. Come out, why are you hiding under the table like the cat that stole the fish?” – the ghost smiled wryly.

Alex was making mooing noises.
-“You are in my town, and you are in no danger,” the strange guest continued. “I can help you find a cozy restaurant with fine food and intoxicating wine, a gambling table with rich simpletons, and a beautiful fairy for the night. It’s all in my Venice, the town of luxury and debauchery. So, come out and spoil your guest with wine, and I will entertain you with stories to brighten our leisure time…”.
-“I’ve got a couple of bottles of Parma’s mu-mu-muscato,” Alex’s voice finally broke through and he climbed out from under the table.
-” That’s something,” the stranger laughed. Rubbing his hands, he went to the sideboard and returned with two glasses.
-“Ah, w-who are you? – Alex squeezed out.

-“Monsieur, why are you trembling like a maiden in confession,” the guest looked at Alex kindly. I suspect you have been married more than once, so, please, do not play the innocent. Before you are Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Sengalt, the man, loved by women and accepted by all the monarchs and cardinals of Europe. Voltaire, Mozart, and Goethe were my drinking companions!

Leaning back in his chair and looking at his fingernails, the alien was clearly at ease enjoying his moments. He went on:
-“.. Life is full of wonderful mysteries and discoveries, it beckons like the pages of an unread novel, doesn’t it? And we are nobody but only children in this life…”
The ghost clapped his hands and gestured to the glasses, inviting Alex to fill them with wine.
The sound of the wine gurgling into his glass gave him eloquence:

And like all children, we love to turn the pages of this enticing book. Yes, life is beautiful, but as long as we are children, we only like the pictures in the book, we have not yet learned to read…”. He raised the glass to his eyes, admired the play of candlelight, and smiled at his thoughts. Suddenly his gaze became thoughtful:
-“When we look at pictures, we have no idea what is hidden in the pages of this great book called Life. After a while, after making many mistakes, we finally begin to read it. And after reading what we had put off, we suddenly realize with horror that our whole life is written on those pages. And if we had been curious and learned to read earlier, we would certainly have avoided many dramas and tragedies. But time has passed, and the mistakes we made can no longer be corrected. And all that remains is for us to trust in the mercy of God, hoping that the Almighty will forgive us our sins…”.
The ghost laughed, but the next moment its face turned into a gloomy mask: “But God is not a babysitter! He may forgive the righteous, but he will leave the sinners to the devil!
At that moment, it seemed to Alex that there was a yellow fire in his guest’s eyes. It made Alex feel uneasy.
-“I have never been a righteous man in my life,” the ghost continued. But God saved me for some reason, probably to show others by my example that it’s not right to live like this! – His thin lips curled into a sarcastic grin.
I’ve always been saved by patrons, but once I repented,” the ghost bowed his head and folded his palms like a penitent sinner. I wrote a book, a confession. In it I left for posterity hundreds of amusing stories from my life, which I jokingly called “chevaliers”. Today, in gratitude for your warm welcome, I will share with you some of them.

CHEVALIER ONE. YOUTHFUL PLEASURES.

The night stranger tasted the wine, moistening his lips with it:
“Yes, Parma wines are good,” he nodded approvingly and took a sip. A story happened to me once in Parma. I was born on Easter 1725, so the angels have always protected me and, as you see, they still do… At these words, he turned his head towards the night window, as if wanting to make sure his guardians were present behind.
-“…In Parma, I had an affair with a French lady, her name was Henrietta,” he continued. ‘She was beautiful and educated. And she was so clever that I took much more pleasure in talking to her during the day than at night when she was in my arms…
Smiling at his memories, Casanova turned his glass slightly, and the wine in it sparkled with purple highlights as the rubies glittered in the buckles of his shoes.
-“Henrietta was incredibly perceptive,” he continued, “sometimes I even thought she was a witch. She read my mind, saw my fickle nature, and guessed at the precariousness of my finances. Perhaps that’s why she refused to continue our affair and soon disappeared.”
He sighed and brought his palm up to his face as if clearing away the cobwebs of sad memories.
-“Venice was the European Mecca of debauchery for aristocrats, its gambling houses and beautiful courtesans made me the most famous of all,” the ghost playfully lifted his chin. But the next moment his face turned sad. My parents died and I was sent to a boarding house where it was very dreary, and one day I thought I was going to die. I asked to be put in the care of Abbot Gozzi, my first teacher, who taught me the sciences and the violin.

-“In my ninth year, I moved in with the priest and lived with him and his family. My first experience with a girl, the abbot’s younger sister, happened at the age of eleven, and I was forever grateful to Bettina for her lessons,” he smiled at his recollections…
Later similar games were with my sisters Nanette and Maria, aged fourteen and sixteen, after which I realized that in this art of seduction lurks my life’s vocation,” Casanova snapped his fingers and flirtatiously played with a lock of his wig.
-“I also realized early on how important it was to have a good patron and soon acquired one. Venetian senator Alviso Malipiero taught me the rules of social behavior. But when I proved myself to be clever enough to seduce his girl, the senator threw me out. I then tonsured myself as a monk and became a canon lawyer, but remained a social dandy, always carefully grooming myself…”.

-However, why don’t you also tell us a little about yourself…? – The guest blew an invisible dust from the lapel of his camisole and nodded encouragingly to Alex.

The wine and his interlocutor’s confidences were disposing and Alex accepted the offer:
-“I learned my first lesson from a girl who soon became my wife,” he began. She assured me that I was her first. I remained a fool for a long time. Until one day I asked myself why my young wife was skilled in lovemaking and how she had such experience. After all, I didn’t know a fraction of what she was making in bed.
At one of the intimate parties, my wife’s maiden told me that my wife was having fun in other people’s beds while I was at sea. That was the first lesson I learned: being a sailor and having a family are incompatible. Later I received many confirmations of this by having fun with women whose husbands were as naïve fools as I was…”.

Casanova listened to Alex without interrupting. Finally, he smiled:
-“You were a naïve child and probably still are to some extent. By traveling at sea, you gave your wife complete freedom and financial security. But the Devil has lived in every woman since Eve, we know that from the holy books. The Devil is a tempter, he never stops trying to lead a woman into sin. That’s why in ancient times a knight, when going on a campaign, put on his wife a fidelity belt with a lock that closed the entrance to her secret place. But the Devil is cunning, and the most successful was his trick to convince people that he does not exist…!
At these words, the ghost chuckled sinisterly and stared at Alex with its yellow eyes. This stare made Alex uncomfortable, and a shiver ran through his body, stiffening him.

Satisfied with the effect he had produced, the night visitor continued:

-“…The Devil is resourceful. Having bored of man’s naïve attempts to protect his woman from temptation, he offered her another way to taste the forbidden fruit. And she loved it!
And the maiden who gave away your wife’s sins was most likely an accomplice in her adventures. And she betrayed her girlfriend to win you over. Every woman dreams of such a fool, forgive me, but it is the truth of life! The ghost looked at Alex with feigned sympathy.

-“Yes, you are right, sir, there was such an offer on her part,” Alex fidgeted in his chair.
“…Well, now you are convinced of my perspicacity,” Casanova smiled. There can be no friendship between women, there is only jealousy and rivalry… – he grinned, played with a curl of his wig, and handed his empty glass to Alex.

There was a pause, the night guest savored the wine. He leaned back in his chair, resting his foot on the armrest. The rubies in the buckles of his shoes sparkled with dazzling insolence.

CHEVALIER 2. MOSCOW PRANKS.

Seeing that Alex was still stiff and wary, Casanova decided to amuse him with an amusing story:
“…In my youth, I entered the University of Padua and graduated with a law degree, which I immediately disliked,” he began his new story. I studied chemistry, mathematics, and medicine. In the latter, I saw an even more sophisticated form of quackery than the practice of law. I enjoyed fooling people by prescribing fake medicines. Ah, I always wanted to be a lady doctor,” the ghost took a sip from his glass, savoring the taste of the wine. And sometimes I succeeded,” he smiled.
At thirty-three, I’m more calculating and cautious than I was when I was younger. Determination and quick thinking became my weapons. I lived in Paris, where to succeed one must use all one’s physical and mental resources, make friends among people of dignity and influence, always be in control of oneself, and elevate the opinion of those in whom one has to gain confidence. My first task was to find a new patron, and I found him in the person of an old acquaintance, De Berny, who had become the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France.
Following his advice to find a way of making money for the State, I devised a lottery and became one of its directors. This enterprise at once brought me a considerable profit. With this money, I entered high society, where I made important connections. With the help of the occult, I fooled many nobles, especially the Marquise Jeanne d’Urfe, to whom I introduced myself as an expert in numerology. I once stole her diamonds. I always thought that fooling a fool was worthy of a clever man!

Casanova raised a finger admonishingly and sighed feignedly:
“That’s probably why I became a gambler. My beloved grandmother strictly reprimanded me for this addiction, but I could not change,” he flirtatiously played with a curl of his wig.
The lottery brought me a lot of money in France and Holland, and then I decided to try it in Russia. But nothing came of it; the Empress Catherine flatly refused the enterprise. Russia is in a long hibernation; it takes a long time for Russians to appreciate and copy something from Europe. Not even three hundred years have passed since “financial pyramids” became popular in Russia, these fraudulent amusements in which the principle of my lottery is embedded…”

“…Once, I did come to Russia, – continued the guest. One of the Empress’s ladies, having heard that I was a well-known healer in Europe, addressed me with a delicate request. The girl suffered from migraine headaches, headaches intensified during her periods. My knowledge of medicine and sexual experience with women made me confident that marriage and regular exercise in bed would cure the maiden’s problem. As a temporary but effective measure, I offered her a massage with a special cream I had prepared from a mixture of chamomile, mint, and menthol. This ointment is very popular in Europe, it is rubbed on the temples and back of the head and is an excellent remedy for headaches. And I thought it would be a good remedy here as well.
I delicately explained to her that the only effective way to cure the disease was to rub the ointment on the spot where it had settled. Confused at first, the girl nevertheless agreed and we had several sessions, during which I treated her in various poses. I must say that this method was the most pleasant in my practice,” he licked his lips carnivorously.

A few days later the girl brought her friend who also wanted to try my method of medicine. I don’t know how many more patients I would have had, but a message arrived from De Bernie urging me to return to Paris. I left by night stagecoach, sending a huge bouquet of roses, a jar of ointment, and French cosmetics to the lovely ladies. I took the memory of Russia with me. It is a country of naïve simpletons, I never felt the desire to visit those places again, – laughed Casanova.

CHEVALIER 3. PRETTY WOMAN.

“A beautiful woman knows the power of her beauty, that is why she is always playing with men, her whole life is a theatrical game,” Casanova sipped his muscat, clearly enjoying himself.
A beautiful woman is too much in love with herself to love anyone else. The man she chooses is a setting for a diamond, a frame for a painting, and a violin in an orchestra. In this frame, she looks like the diamond, the painting, and the first violin. She plays roles and loves herself in them. She commands her men like a conductor commands an orchestra, but her drama is that she doesn’t know the notes. The silly girl is always a naïve hatter whose life becomes the adventures of a prostitute, a mistress, and a wife. And then she becomes a mother… a mother-in-law. And there is a curtain, the end of the game. Next, she’s a grandmother, baking cakes for her grandchildren. Or a wicked old woman who poisons the lives of everyone around her…

A beautiful and wise woman realizes that her lifetime is limited, so she tries to make the most of it. She knows Mother Nature has only given her thirty-five years, forty at the most. Then her skin will turn yellow and wrinkled, and the sparkle in her eyes will disappear. The most intense life will be for the one who knows the secrets of manipulation and the power of its effect on a man. Such courtesans lay at the feet of kings. One of the first manifestations of such an experience for a courtesan will be that she will immediately upset her chosen one with all his friends. After all, she wants to be the only one who can control and command him. Marriage is not the ultimate goal for such a woman. It is a pause in the game to look around for a better option…”.
Here he looked at his listener, seemingly waiting for a reaction…”

Alex remained silent and Casanova went on:
“…A beautiful woman never leaves from… She goes to…
And a man in love is always an idiot who has convinced himself that his woman only sleeps with him…”
At these words Casanova shook his bocal, clearly expressing his sympathy for all fools…

“…It takes a man years of suffering to get to know a woman. Many men need a lifetime for it. And the young man is stupid because in this art it is better not to trust God, but to deal with the Devil, who lives in a woman for a thousand years and knows all her secrets!
Alex nodded, and they clinked their glasses in agreement.
“…But I’ve bored you with my chatter, sir, let’s have some fun! – Casanova clapped his hands. Let’s fill our glasses, and I’ll tell you how in my youth I was a soldier, then a gambler, a musician, a doctor, got into prison, escaped, and continued my adventures in Paris!
Casanova laughed, throwing back his head, he laughed at his fate.
And what about Alex? He was bewitched by the stories of the night guest and the wine was buzzing in his head.

CHEVALIER 4. NEW ADVENTURES.

“…In the year 1744 I was nineteen years old,” began Casanova’s next narrative. I had had enough of the church, and I bought an officer’s patent! Yes, an officer’s patent from the Venetian Republic, that was something! An officer must look proper, and a good tailor made me a white uniform with a blue front, gold buttons, and silver and gold epaulets. To it, I bought a hat with a black cockade and a fluffy tail, a long saber…
I liked to impress, all the beauties of the city were at my feet, – laughed Casanova, playing with a curl of his wig. But after six months of service, I got bored, interrupted my military career, and returned home. The Venetian ladies were overjoyed. No, the army was not for me!

I spent my time in debauchery, fighting, and dueling. The life I was leading required a lucrative income, and not lucky at cards, I sold my officer’s patent. When even that money ran out, I turned to my old benefactor, Alviso Grimani, for help. He got me a job as a musician at the local opera house, where I played the violin and quickly acquired all the habits of my lecherous colleagues.
We spent our nights drinking here and there, amusing ourselves with scandalous antics. We untied gondolas from private houses, which were then swept away by the current, and sent out false calls to midwives and doctors. Soon I was bored with that too, but Fortuna gave me a chance again.

Venetian Senator Giovanni Di Matteo Bragadin was returning from a wedding ball when he suffered a stroke. I was in the same gondola with him. In the senator’s palace, the doctor bled the patient and put mercury ointment on his chest. This caused a high fever, and Di Matteo began to suffocate because of the swollen trachea. A priest had already been summoned, as death seemed inevitable. However, I took the initiative and, against the protests of the doctor present, ordered the mercury ointment to be removed and the senator’s chest to be washed with cold water.

Thanks to my advice, rest, and a healthy diet, Senator di Matteo recovered quickly. He decided that a wise young man like me should acquire occult knowledge. The senator adopted me and became my patron for life. I was back in control of my destiny! With access to all the benefits of society, I was now determined to put myself in a position where I did not have to deprive myself of my most basic needs. And what my needs were, no one could judge better than I…

No one in Venice could understand how a close connection could have arisen between me and respectable people; them, so exalted, and me, so dissolute. They were so strict in their manners, and I, their favorite, led a vicious life. The secret of my popularity was simple: to the extent that they flaunted their righteousness, my promiscuity was ostentatious. I knew their secret. At night, when the righteous forces were asleep, my patrons were even more promiscuous than I was. We would spend the nights together in orgies, I would bring them beautiful whores, and in the morning they would pay me gratefully and go out in public with masks of righteousness on their faces. And I was free from these bonds, I didn’t have to pretend. And I was sure that the patrons would cover my antics, for the next night they would need me again.

I spent the next three years as the senator’s official secretary. I lived a life of idleness, luxury, and debauchery. I spent most of my time gambling. My patron was patient but warned me that I would eventually pay for my promiscuity. I only guffawed at his gloomy predictions.
However, I had to leave Venice when I decided to take revenge on a villain by playing a trick on him. I dug up the body of a recently buried man and brought it to the house of my enemy. The victim of my prank was paralyzed for life, and then another girl accused me of rape and reported it to the authorities, expecting to get money from me. I was later acquitted for lack of evidence, but by then I had already been accused of theft, blasphemy, and witchcraft. To my mortal body, it smelled like a bonfire. And I fled Venice!

CHEVALIER 5. AND PARIS AGAIN!

Casanova was silent for a moment, going over in his mind the events of long ago:
“…For two years I lived in Paris, learning French and getting acquainted with the aristocracy. In Lyon, I became a member of the Masonic society, which fascinated me with its secret rituals. Through the influence of this society, I gained valuable acquaintances and access to secret knowledge. I spent a few more years traveling around Europe and then returned to my native Venice, where new scandalous affairs with ladies of high society immediately made me many new enemies and attracted the attention of the Inquisition.
My police record became a growing list of blasphemies, seductions, fights, and quarrels in public places. The Inquisition accused me of Kabbalism, magic, involvement in Freemasonry, and having forbidden books in my library. My patron, himself a former Inquisitor, urged me to leave immediately to avoid serious consequences. But I was too self-confident and ambitious to heed his warnings. Eventually, I was arrested and thrown into prison.
In prison, I suffered terribly from the darkness, the summer heat, and millions of fleas. Sentenced to five years of confinement within walls from which it was impossible to escape, I nevertheless thought of escaping. One day, walking in the prison yard, I found a piece of black marble and an iron rod that I was able to carry into my cell.
I sharpened the rod on the stone and turned it into a spade. I used it to chisel the wooden floor under my bed. But the guards must have been disturbed by the noise I was making, and I was transferred to another cell. All my labors were in vain! In despair, I devised a new escape plan. I secretly contacted Father Balbi, an apostate priest imprisoned in a neighboring cell, and struck a bargain with him. I managed to give him the spade hidden in the Bible. Father Balbi made a hole in the ceiling of his camera, got out, and made a hole in the ceiling of my room. We climbed out onto the roof of the Doge’s Palace, the thick fog being our ally. On the roof, we found a long ladder, and with the help of a rope that I had made from a sheet, we descended to a room where we found the clothes of the workers and changed into that. Then with the help of a spade, we picked the lock on the exit door, walked through the gallery and down the stairs. At the exit, we were stopped by a guard, but we persuaded him that we had been mistakenly locked up in the palace at the end of the day’s work, and he let us go. It was early morning, and we stole a gondola and sailed it to the mainland.

I arrived in Paris on the 5th of January 1757. Of my escape, I wrote in my diary:
“…I confess that I am proud that I succeeded in escaping, but my pride derives not from the fact that I succeeded, but from the fact that I found it possible and dared to carry out my plan…”.

Casanova’s confession threw Alex into mental turmoil and stirred his emotions. All his life he had been trying to escape from society, which was a prison for his soul. Each escape to a new country had caused him great emotional upheaval, the strongest of which was the feeling of freedom. But after a while, he was convinced that the new place did not have the freedom he dreamed of. So he prepared a new escape.
Now, listening to his nocturnal guest, Alex felt the same feelings as he did. Casanova’s revelations were the words of his confession.
And Casanova continued:
“…In Paris, I was back in high society when I declared myself an alchemist, and this made me famous among the prominent figures of the time, including the Marquise de Pompadour, the Comte de Saint-Germain, Dalembert, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Alchemy and the search for the Philosopher’s Stone were such popular pursuits among the foolish aristocracy of the time that my knowledge was in great demand, and I made a good living at it…”
Casanova smiled, admiring the luster of the jewels in his rings.

“But I was constantly thwarted by a rival in the person of the Count of St Germain,” he continued. This born deceiver declared that he was three hundred years old, that he had a panacea for all diseases, that nature had no secrets from him, that he knew how to smelt diamonds, how to make one large diamond of the highest quality out of ten small diamonds. This impertinent braggart is determined to outdo me!” – the ghost playfully clapped the handle of his chair.
“…In August 1757, my patron, Minister de Berny, sent me on a spy mission to Dunkirk, and I was well paid for it. Because of my success in the state lottery, the French government even promised me a title and a pension if I took French citizenship and worked in the Ministry of Finance. But I refused this flattering offer because it would have interfered with my passion for traveling…”

Here Casanova smiled, and he and Alex clinked glasses again. Both were adventurous and couldn’t imagine life without adventure.

“…In business, I was a profligate speculator, got into debt, and went to prison, but thanks to the intercession of the Marquise d’Urfe I was released after four days,” the ladies’ man grinned. That’s how important patrons are in our lives!
Well, I was unlucky again, and felt at a disadvantage,” he sighed, but a moment later he was smiling again. But let’s switch roles and listen to your story while the night outside the window is our ally”, – he gestured at the darkness outside the window.

Alcohol often provokes aggression, and after the restaurant, I fought with those who aroused my jealousy. My girlfriend seemed to take sadistic pleasure in watching men fight like animals for the right to possess her. At such moments she reveled in the smell of blood, her cheeks turning pink, her eyes glistening emerald green, her breathing quickening. That’s how I knew her in bed, in moments of intimacy when she would pass out from pleasure. After a restaurant fight, she would lick the victim’s blood off my face and pounce on me, raping me. It must have been at these moments that the sadist in her awoke and demanded immediate gratification of her lust.

She was a skillful actress, swore her love, and gave herself to me passionately in bed. But she often ran away to her friends, and I didn’t realize that she was spending time with other men there until I saw the kiss mark of another lover on her neck.
In the end, my nervousness ended with paralysis of my left hand, my fingers were no longer obeying me. I was placed in a special clinic where I spent several months. The mental anguish was such that one day I decided to die and started hiding pills to take a lethal dose. The head doctor of the clinic turned out to be an observant, clever psychologist, he figured out my intentions. He simply took me to a cell with raving lunatics and warned me that he would leave me with them if I did not stop my hysterics.
In our conversation, an experienced psychologist revealed the physiological reason for my passport’s unhealthy sexuality and managed to pull me out of my depression. I gradually pulled myself together and soon left the hospital with the admonition of my savior to switch my nervous system to something important and distracting. The university I was attending turned out to be the savior, and within a few months, my arm was back to normal.

I escaped from my tormentor, but the trauma left a bleeding wound in my soul. I had other women after her, but never again did I feel that thrill, that sweet pain in my heart that makes us sacrifice ourselves for love. I couldn’t live with a cook or a woman who gives birth to children. Only with a bitch I feel like a gallant knight and a rapist in one person. But caught in the net of this beauty, I became a victim of my own choice, did all sorts of stupid things, fulfilled her whims, fought, and led a dissolute lifestyle. All this became known to my superiors, and my career as a naval officer came to an end.
To escape my mad love, I fled and wandered all over Europe, from the cold northern seas to the warm Adriatic, where I am now speaking to you, sir. An inexplicable anxiety chased me away, and one day I found myself at the edge of the world. There, on the other side of the ocean, I was finally at peace. Years later, I returned to Europe. But never again will I force myself to visit the places where my heart was burnt and turned into the ashes of a dream…”.

The mysterious guest listened to the confession, watching Alex furtively, and when the emotions of the memories subsided, he offered to fill their glasses. This pause helped Alex come to his senses.
“…The Devil surrounds himself with beautiful women. They are his concubines, his property…” – Casanova crossed his arms over his chest.
“…Among his women, the Devil is a moderately cynical, calm creature. He graciously allows his slave girls to have fun with men. But becomes aggressive, conniving, and vengeful when someone invades his domain.
By deciding to take away the Devil’s property, you angered him, and he tried to kill the stubborn man in his favorite way – to make you kill yourself. Many emotional personalities, especially poets, artists, and musicians, have not been able to overcome this pernicious passion. Their souls are in the darkness of the underworld, and the Devil triumphs looking at his trophies. And if you managed to avoid such an end, I must say that you are incredibly lucky…!”

At that moment, the yellow fire flashed again in the ghost’s eyes, and Alex felt uneasy. And the man continued:
“…The devil failed and decided to destroy you in another way. He trampled your life, made you flee from your pernicious passion to the ends of the earth. He burned out your heart and sizzled your soul so that you could never love again. Only when the Devil was sure that the stubborn man was no longer dangerous he left you alone. Perhaps you have a guardian angel who guides you in times of danger and averts misfortune. Women’s games have made you a hater, but don’t be in a hurry to condemn them, otherwise, you’ll become cynical, lose the art of seduction and women will be wary of you,” – he grinned.
“…How can you protect yourself from heartbreak? I would advise you to enjoy the company of a beautiful woman but never fall in love with her, do not tease the Devil…”.
Casanova smiled and Alex filled the glasses with the rest of the wine.

CHEVALIER 6. GIGOLO CONFESSIONS.

“…There are no perfect women,” – Casanova tapped the empty bottle with his fingernail. In order not to lose your head, find some flaw in your companion and never forget about it. Better yet, follow the Devil’s example and surround yourself with several women. Of course, this pleasure requires money, but find a mistress who has an old and rich husband. He will pay for your restaurants. And don’t forget to make her jealous of her rivals so that you become desirable to her. She will be busy thinking of ways to eliminate the rivals and will forgive you for a multitude of sins. Become a hunter in this game and don’t let your heart become prey, use a woman’s weapon against herself.
Change the object of your desire more often, it is the elixir of our youth. Do not bind yourself by the bonds of marriage, because in such a situation a man is taught obedience, he becomes submissive, like a dog that was tamed by a sugar bone. By the age of forty such a man’s stomach sags, his face is covered with wrinkles, and the bags under his eyes indicate that his days are numbered. Marriage and family life is an option for wimps who swap mum for maid. Marriage is a trap for gifted individuals, many who fall into it have lost the ability to create.
For me, love and intimate relationships have always been a game. I didn’t burden my heart with the torment of youthful romanticism,” he chuckled. Flirtations, affairs, and flings are commonplace for men of the noble class who marry for profit rather than love. If a maiden has no dowry, then she is looking for profit and will never be a faithful friend…

Anything that gave pleasure to the senses has always been the chief amusement of my life; I have never found a more pleasurable game. Feeling that I was born to play the game of love, I have always shown love to a woman and done everything to be loved by her.
The ideal liaison for me was an adventure in which not only intimacy but intrigue and gallant parting were implied. I would find an attractive woman suffering from a rude or jealous lover or husband, put her out of her misery, and she would express her gratitude to me. We would have a stormy affair, and when I began to feel the passion cooling or boredom, I would set her up with a rich man and leave the scene.
A woman is the same monkey, she loves anything that shines. My secret to success with women was no more esoteric than to offer her what she liked – a dazzling gift of a large sum of money instead of a lifetime of maintenance. Here I realized a woman’s innermost sin – if one provides for her financial needs, she is bound to look for another, for love games. So why grow horns for herself…?
There is no honest woman whom a man has not conquered by arousing in her a feeling of gratitude with his support. Alcohol and violence are not worthy means of seduction. On the contrary, attentiveness, small courtesies, and favors should be used to soften a woman’s heart.
But a man who speaks of his love in words is a fool! He may by this frighten a woman and make her think of the practical side of things. By speaking of love, he recognizes its power over him. She is sure to take advantage of it. Feelings should be implied, not pompously declared.

Mutual consent is very important, but I avoided easy wins or overly complicated situations. Before leading a woman into the bedroom, I tried to be the perfect companion for her – witty, reliable, and kind. I did not behave like a predator; it was never part of my rules to attack the unsophisticated or those whose prejudices might prove an obstacle. The women I conquered, for the most part, allowed themselves to be conquered. They were either in a helpless situation or emotionally vulnerable.

I valued a woman’s intelligence! After all, a beautiful but stupid woman leaves her lover disappointed after he has enjoyed her in bed. But my attitude towards educated women was typical of my time: for a woman, study is inappropriate, it compromises her basic qualities… No scientific discovery has been made by a woman, no symphony has been written by a woman. The former requires strength and logic of thought, the latter is born in the fantasies of the mind. Unfortunately, a woman lacks this; she is too practical and preoccupied with the purpose that Nature has given her. But in simple reasoning, in the subtlety of manifestations of feelings and emotions, we must give her credit…

I often fell victim to gambling and lost large sums of money. I confess that sometimes I even teamed up with card cheats to make a fortune. In the game, I tried to be calm and cool-headed when I lost, but I couldn’t hide my emotions when I won. Sometimes I would cheat, and my behavior would anger the cheated man to the point where he would challenge me to a duel. I didn’t have the patience to become a professional player. Professionals taught me, but the excitement of the game disregards any advice.

I lacked the wisdom to stop in time when fortune wasn’t on my side, sometimes I couldn’t control my emotions. I tried to train myself to be calculating, to enter the game for sure – money is always needed for flirting, for networking. I played and gallant cavalier, who imagined himself a generous aristocrat of high society, but often played with manic passion, forgetting the lessons of his mentors, especially when I was in the euphoria of a new love adventure. I loved to spend on women, and my heart bled when money was not won at cards.

And here I am before you: lawyer and clergyman, soldier and violinist, swindler and procurer, gourmet and businessman, diplomat and spy, politician and doctor, mathematician, philosopher and Kabbalist, playwright and writer. And, of course, a lover of the ladies dear to my heart. My creative legacy totals more than twenty works, including plays, essays, and memoirs consisting of three and a half thousand pages of revelations! My memoirs are a bible for the seducer, read them and your soul will be comforted, healed from the pain of betrayals and lies, deceptions and hypocrisy, all that our life in society is full of…

Christians read the Bible, which says, “Thou shalt not kill.” And they do.
Muslims read the Koran. And they kill.
Jews read the Torah and the Talmud. And they kill with redoubled zeal.

Those who read my memoirs love them. And the longer they read them, the more frequent and varied their desire to love becomes. I would advise people who dream of their children’s souls being filled with love, not hate – to choose the right reading for them…”

Then the night guest looked at the window, behind which the stars were already going out:
“…I am very grateful to you, dear friend, for the time you have given me. I wish you colorful days in my beautiful Venice…! “- he laughed.
Mesmerized by this night adventure, Alex extended his hand to his guest, but the palm met emptiness. The next moment the table shook, the crockery rang in the cupboard and he lost the sense of reality…

© Copyright: Вальтер Мария. Свидетельство о публикации №215092201766

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