Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Casanova's Stratagem

"I next ordered Laurent to buy me the new folio Bible that was just printed; for I fancied its great size might enable me to conceal my tool there, and so send it to the monk.  But when I saw it, I became gloomy -- the bolt was two inches longer than the Bible.....

At last I hit upon a device.  I told Laurent that on Michaelmas Day I wanted two dishes of macaroni, and one of these must be the largest dish he had, for I meant to season it, and send it with my compliments, to the worthy gentleman who had lent me books.  Laurent would bring me the butter and the Parmesan cheese, but I myself should add them to the boiling macaroni.

I wrote to the monk preparing him for what was to happen, and on St Michael's Day all came about as I expected.  I had hidden the bolt in the great Bible, wrapped in paper, one inch of it showing on each side.  I prepared the cheese and butter; and in due time Laurent brought me in the boiling macaroni and the great dish.  Mixing my ingredients, I filled the dish so full that the butter nearly ran over the edge, and then I placed it carefully on the Bible, and put that, with the dish resting on it, into Laurent's hand, warning him not to spill a drop.  All his caution was necessary: he went away with his eyes fixed on his burden, lest the butter should run over; and the Bible, with the bolt projecting from it, were covered, and more than covered by the huge dish.  His one care was to hold that steady, and I saw that I had succeeded.  Presently he came back to tell me that not a drop had been spilt."

"Casanova's Escape", trans. May Kendall, in The True Story Book,  edited Andrew Lang 

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