I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 80


beautiful daughter of a Venetian cob¬
Humor may save the most benighted
bler. Their first child was Giovanni,
tool from the extremity of stultifica¬
Casanova himself. It appears that his
tion. Even the Sumners, Andersons,
parents bparded him out with his
Billy Sundays, and all the other
grandmether while they went to Lon¬
“apostles of purity,“ might be saved
don and, as is often the case with
from their folly, for all their prepos¬
grandparents, she tock more interest
session hy fixed ideas, if they had but
in the development of the child’s mind
the merest grain of humor. But they
than the parents themselves, with the
haven't even the necessary modicum.
result that before he was twenty Casa¬
The latest rib-tickling project of the
nova was the possessor of an excellent
puritans is the attempt by the Society
education. That is what historians
for the Suppression of Vice to sup¬
tell us. But I chose to think that it
press the“Satyricon.“ John S. Sum¬
was his own insatiable curiosity that
ner, secretary of the society, has com¬
educated him. Probably, also, it was
plained to Magistrate Oberwager that
this curiosity, rather tban mere lust
the work is salacious and a menace to
of the flesh which would have needed
public morals, thereby proving himself
to be almost incrediblv powerful to
the prize merry-andrew of the present
sustain him in his endless erotic ad¬
day. It is not reported that Mr. Sum¬
ventures, that impelled him ever to
ner asked for the indictment of Pe¬
seek, discover and conquer—which
tronius Arbiter, but, no doubt, he has
made him the Demon Lover of all
that up his sleeve in case the Grand
history. But whatever the springs
Jury refuses to indict the publisher.
that actnated him, he became a wan¬
But Mr. Sumner has received several
derer, ever in search of new sensa¬
salutary lessons recently, and he may
tions, constantly dabbling in minor
learn, eventually, when it is unsafe to
and major intrigues, sounding every
lay his grimy hands on a work of
note on passion’s octave. Traveling
art. He is being sued for libel at the
in Italy, France, Switzerland, Tur¬
present time by Horace Liveright, pub¬
key, the Netherlands, and South Ger¬
lisher, and but a short time ago the
many, he was by turns, diplomat, abbe,
court decided against him in the trial
Journalist, preacher, but all these were
of Thomas Seltzer who was haled into
avccations; his real interest was the
Judge Simpson’s court on the com¬
search for adventure. In 1775, he re¬
plaint of Sumner that three books
turned to Venice and was denonnced
published by Seltzer were immoral. Of
as a spy and jailed, but escaped a
the three books in question. Casa¬
vear later and soen bobbed up in
nova’s Homecoming,
by Arthur
Paris. For a time then, he was on the
Schnitzler; Women in Lovc,“ by D.
upgrade; master of the state lotteries
H. Lawrence, and The Diary of a
in Par's. friend of Voltaire, the re¬
Young Girl,“ hy an anonymous author,
cipient of the order of the Golden Spur
aglstrate Simpse s#i have
fnomthe pope, and the holder of
read the books with sedulous care. I
Eimportant diplematic posts. Unable to
find each is a distinect contribution to
retur to his native land, he roved
the literature of the day.' Mr. Sum¬
ceaselessly about Europe, now in
ner may well have been depressed at
southern France, now in Spain; travel¬
this severe blow, but.no doubt, he
ing from Riga to St. Petersburg,
returned to his office and after an hour
thence to Warsaw where he was given
or two spent with his remarkably
warm welcome by King Stanislaus
complete collection of smutty post¬
Poniatowski, forced to flee on account
cards, (which, according to Frank
of a scandal followed by a duel, re¬
Harris, he delights to show to visi¬
turning by a devions route to Paris,
tors), felt refreshed enough to return
only to be compelled immediately upon
to his quest of tainted literature.
bis arrival to flee again, this time to
Schnitzler's“Casanova's Homecom¬
But the time came when Italy called
ing' has inst come to my hand, but I
knew before I saw it, as everyone
him again and he returned, old, un¬
familiar with Schnitzler’s work wonld
wanted, no lenger loved by women nor
know. that Sumner’s complaint was un¬
feared by men—to be a police spy for
justified and idiotic. Renowned for
the inquisktors who were the equiva¬
his ability to relate with incomparable
lent, in Venice of that day, of our
delicacy what is essentially indelicate,
Department of Justice. An ignoble
Schnitzler has shown in such plays
as"Intermezzo,' Literature,“ Ana¬
It is of this return that Schnitzler
tol“ and“ Liebelei,“ (translated rather
writes in Casanova’s Homecoming.“
poorly as Playing With Love*), that
But as he circles, to quote Schnitzler,
he can handle amorous intrigue with¬
Plike a wounded bird, slowly circling
out offence. EvenReigen,“ which
downwards in its death flight,“ nearer
has not yet been tried on American
Venice, he has the good fortune to meet
palates, has been swallowed by Euro¬
with scme companions of earlier years.
pean audiences withont a grimace,
Years before he had befriended a
mayhap with relish. At any rate, it
young man and his sweetheart. The
is now known that the mobs which
pair were deeply in love and yearned
stormed the theatre in which“Rei¬
to be married; but they had no money.
gen' was playing recently and de¬
Casanova, who had often looked upon
manded its removal, did not do 80,
Amalia with appreciative eyes, seeing
as was at first reported, because of
their predicament, made a proposal
indignation at the character of the
to the girl. It was accepted. The
play, but because of racial prejudice.
lovers were married and Casanova
went on his way. Now he enconn¬
Nc# ## gent much is reafty KLc#u
ters thé iresband who has left romance
abont Casanova de Seingalt, the
far behind, a Nlacid citizen with a
Italian adventurer, who succeeded for
fiftv vears in continnously shocking
comfortable home and severäl
mid-eighteenth century Europe—a
ters to his credit. Amalia is still slim
difficult task. It is known that he
and yeuthful and fer her Casanova
was born in Venice of an ancient, per¬
has a certain glamorous attraction.
But when the husband brings Casa¬
haps noble, family in 1725. His
father had been reared in aristocratie
nova to his home it is not Amalia but
surroundings but alienated his family
her darghter, Marcolina, that fas¬
einates him.
and friends by taking up the profes¬
sion of acting beld then to be a more
than mildly disreputable calling. As
Brutally he tells Amalia that he
if this were not enough, he had to
doesnit want her and asks her to con¬
make a runaway marriage with the spire with him to obtain the beau¬
tiful, but cold and intellectual, Mar¬
celina’s favor.
*Tell me, Amalia, did yon think
me still handsome when yon first

saw me today?“
1 do not know if your looks have
changed. To me von seem jnst the
same as of old. Von are as I have
always seen von, as I have seen yon
In my dreams.
" Look well, Amalia. See the
wrinkles on my forehead; the loose
folds of my neck; the crow’s-feet
around my eyes. And look,“ he
grinned.“I have lost one of my eye
teeth. Look at these hands, too,
Amalia. My fingers arc like claws;
there are yellow spots on the finger¬
nai's; the blue veins stand out,
They are the hands of an old man.“
She clasped both his hands as he
held them out for her to see, and.
affectionately kissed them one after
the other in the shaded walk.“To¬
nisht I will kiss yon on the lips,“
she said with a mingling of humility
and tenderness, which roused his
Close by, where the alley opened
on tothe greensward. Marcolina was
stretched on the grass, her hands
clasped beneath her head, looking
skyward while the shuttle-zocks flew
to and fro. Suddenly reaching un¬
ward, she seized one of them in mid
air. and laughed triumphantly. The
girls flung themselves upon her as
she lay defenceless.
Casanova thrilled. Neither my
lins nor my hands are vours to kiss.
Your waiting for me and your
dreams of me will prove to have
been in vain—unless I should first
make Marcolina mine.“
Are you mad. Casanova?“ ex¬
claimed Amalia with distress in her
PIf I am, we are both on the same
footing,“ replied Casanova.“ Yon
mad because in me, an old man.
von think you can rediscover the be¬
loved of your youth; I am mad be¬
cause I have taken into my head
that I wish to possess Marcolina.
But perhaps we shall both be re¬
stored to reason. Marcolina shall
restore me to youth—for yon. So
help me to my wishes, Amalia!“
Here, then, is a Casanova pictured
a little differently than he appears in
his own voluminous memoirs. Old and
venulsive, he is compelled to calculate
and plot to gain what he desires, And
in this case he gets but the husk of
the desired thing. Without funds, in
danger of arrest for his participation
in an all too successful duel with Mar¬
colina’s soldier-lover, he accepts with
a feeling of shame, an offer to be¬
come a spy of the Grand Council, and
returns to Venice. The wounded vul¬
ture has dropped, helpless and ex¬
hausted with strugale, to the ground,
to flutter convulsively a little per¬
haps—and then to die.