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Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 13: Holland and Germany by Giacomo Casanova
page 2 of 121 (01%)

The so-called Countess Piccolomini was a fine example of the adventurers.
She was young, tall, well-made, had eyes full of fire, and skin of a
dazzling whiteness; not, however, that natural whiteness which delights
those who know the value of a satin skin and rose petals, but rather that
artificial fairness which is commonly to be seen at Rome on the faces of
courtezans, and which disgusts those who know how it is produced. She had
also splendid teeth, glorious hair as black as jet, and arched eyebrows
like ebony. To these advantages she added attractive manners, and there
was something intelligent about the way she spoke; but through all I saw
the adventuress peeping out, which made me detest her.

As she did not speak anything but Italian the countess had to play the
part of a mute at table, except where an English officer named Walpole
was concerned, who, finding her to his taste, set himself to amuse her. I
felt friendly disposed towards this Englishman, though my feelings were
certainly not the result of sympathy. If I had been blind or deaf Sir
James Walpole would have been totally indifferent to me, as what I felt
for him was the result of my observation.

Although I did not care for the countess, for all that I went up to her
room after dinner with the greater part of the guests. The count arranged
a game of whist, and Walpole played at primero with the countess, who
cheated him in a masterly manner; but though he saw it he laughed and
paid, because it suited his purpose to do so. When he had lost fifty
Louis he called quarter, and the countess asked him to take her to the
theatre. This was what the good-natured Englishman wanted; and he and the
countess went off, leaving the husband playing whist.

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